Greetings from the Ether,
With the upcoming release of Hinnom Magazine Issue 005, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the authors involved in the project. K. A. Opperman’s poem “Ghoul Moon” is an amalgamation of gorgeous prose and haunting imagery. Opperman’s contribution is the first poem we have ever published, which we hope to do much more of in future issues. His inclusion in this volume is a major deal for the company. Join us as we dive into the creation of the poem, and what the future has in store for the young, prolific poet.
CP: Can you tell us a little about yourself? How you came to write horror poetry?
KA: I came to writing poetry in the most unusual of ways. About ten years ago, when I first began trying to have fiction published, the rejections started piling up, and I found myself looking for another way to get that high of acceptance—a ‘faster, easier’ way, so I thought. I noted some very short and seemingly terrible poems that had gotten published, and had the notion that I could do better—even though, at that time, I knew absolutely nothing about how to write poetry. At first, I really couldn’t . . . but over time, as I kept at it—on my third attempt—I landed my first poem publication. So it was out of impatience at rejection, and incredulity at the seeming low quality of these published poems, that I began my journey.
CP: “Ghoul Moon” is a beautiful poem with language that reminded us of weird legends like Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft. What inspired the poem? How did it come to fruition?
KA: Smith and Lovecraft were my first major literary influences, and I definitely channeled them a bit when writing this poem. However, it draws more upon my own inner spirit than anything else. Ever since childhood, I have had an inexplicable desire to run off into the night, a wild animal—a ghoul—vanishing forever into some realm of night eternal, where it is forever autumn. The night was not a time, but another world, to me, and I was hopelessly enchanted by it—drawn to it—summoned by it; by Her, whom I now call the Nightmare Muse in my poetry. Night was a Gateway; there were Doors in it, and I wanted to find them—I search even still.
Beyond this, “Ghoul Moon” represents a main entry in a cycle of poems about or involving ghouls, and elaborates upon my fantastical idea that ghouls and other denizens of the night are more active under the crescent moon, as the nights are darker then. I think this idea was first subtly suggested to my psyche by Poe’s “Ulalume,” which features both mentions of ghouls and a crescent moon. I consider my series of ghoul poems a sort of continuation of that symbolism.
CP: Your work has appeared in many fantastic publications, even a single-author collection. Where do you hope writing takes you? What goals do you hope to achieve?
KA: Well, I really don’t know where, or how far, this will take me, but the real joy for me is in the journey. Beyond that, I just want my work to be remembered, long after I die. I want my dreams to haunt readers’ minds a century from now. I want my poems to whisper from yellowed pages, demanding an act of necromancy. . .
CP: Do you have any forthcoming releases we can look forward to? What does the future have in store for K. A. Opperman?
KA: Why yes, I do. My second collection, The Laughter of Ghouls, will be published by PS Publishing sometime in the nearish future—possibly late this year, but more likely, I would imagine, sometime in 2019. My long poem, “To Court the Night,” has also recently appeared in PS Publishing’s Black Wings VI, and is a nice summation of my overall style and subject matter. Beyond that, I am assembling a volume dedicated entirely to Halloween poems with a very careful focus on the holiday itself, not just the generic spooks that usually pass for Halloween material.
CP: What has been your favorite moment so far, as a poet?
KA: That’s a tough one. Maybe it was the time I first held my book, The Crimson Tome, in my own hands. Maybe it was the time I signed the signature sheets for Black Wings, alongside the autographs of some very famous authors. Maybe it was sometime during my first stint as a Guest at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival. Or maybe—just maybe—my favorite moment is this very moment right now, as I am answering these questions. This stuff never ceases to excite me.
CP: What writer do you find the most inspiring, living or dead? Why?
KA: That would be Clark Ashton Smith. He remains my very favorite poet, and I have always been inspired not only by his writing, but by how multi-talented he was, creating grotesque sculptures and paintings in addition to his literary output. I gained my first serious appreciation of poetry by reading his work, and the discovery of his verse acted as a major catalyst on my own burgeoning poetic career.
CP: We always like to end our interviews with a little tidbit of advice for up-and-coming writers, as most of our readers are writers themselves. What’s the best advice you could give to someone new to the craft?
KA: Don’t try to be another writer; try to be yourself. Imitation is natural early on in learning any art-form, but eventually, you want to hone in on what makes your own style and approach unique. No matter how good other writers are, only you can be you, and that is your greatest advantage. Use it.
K. A. Opperman is a poet of the Gothic and the grotesque hailing from Southern California. He has been published in a wide array of contemporary horror and dark fantasy magazines, journals, and anthologies, including Weirdbook, Skelos, Ravenwood Quarterly, The Audient Void, The Weird Fiction Review, Spectral Realms, and many others. His debut book-length collection, The Crimson Tome, is available from Hippocampus Press, and a second collection, The Laughter of Ghouls is forthcoming from PS Publishing. While not drinking a fine ale or writing morbid poems, he can often be found tending to his pumpkin patch. He has a religiously zealous, year-round devotion to Halloween, and some people have called him—The Pumpkin King.
Read Opperman’s debut poetry collection HERE!