cover image Making Monsters

Making Monsters

Edited by Emma Bridges and Djibril al-Ayad., $13.50 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-0-9957265-0-5

In this low-key anthology, Bridges and al-Ayad collect poetry, essays, and short fiction dealing with the questions of what a monster is, how monsters come to be, the cultural roles served by monsters, and so on, involving traditional folkloric monsters from around the world. The vast majority of the works deal with Greek mythology, including the book’s standout piece, Maria Anastasiadou’s “The Origin of the Different,” an archaeological essay examining the evolution of the forms of Medusa and the Minotaur in early Greek art. Valentine Wheeler’s “Justice Is a Noose” looks questioningly at the feelings of one of the Furies during the Oresteia, and Rachel Bender’s “The Tengu’s Tongue” is an atmospheric clash between the titular tengu and the forces of human society. The poetry selections are, unfortunately, weak, poised in an odd valley between formalism and free verse that winds up producing poor scansion. Overall, the collection doesn’t produce any new or innovative answers to the questions it poses, but it consistently addresses those questions with erudition and grace. Fans of monster stories will find these worthwhile. (Sept.)