When Black Spot Books first launched its women-in-horror poetry series in 2021, we wanted to not only give voice to women in dark prose, but through the series, to feature women from cover to cover, and we did: with cover art commissioned from noted horror artist Lynne Hansen, cover and interior design by Najla and Naja Qamber, and illustrations by the incomparable Marge Simon. More important, we wanted to give women-in-horror a platform to speak on topics and themes that speak to her soul, to her heart, and to her darkness.
In our first showcase, UNDER HER SKIN (2022), my co-editor Toni Miller and I collected poems from cis, trans, and nonbinary women across the world themed on body horror, because, as I said in an interview with Cat Lowe at The Nerd Daily, “Body horror is an innate part of the female experience—from the subtle to the obvious—and women have a lifelong relationship with the subject.” And, as I said in that interview, by the time UNDER HER SKIN—which later won the BookFest Book Award for Poetry Collections and Anthologies—released, we were already hard at work on the next showcase.
We wanted the next showcase to be bigger, more brutal, more important. Thus, UNDER HER EYE, this time with Lee Murray joining as co-editor, was born. Lynne Hansen returned with more brilliant cover art, and once against the Qamber sisters transformed the collection into a jaw-dropping showcase. (For a full list of poets, see the Table of Contents here.)
According to a March 2022 study, “over one in four women (or 27 percent) experience intimate partner violence before the age of 50, according to a worldwide analysis led by researchers from McGill University and the World Health Organization. The largest of its kind, the analysis covers 366 studies involving more than 2 million women in 161 countries.”
Focused on the theme of domestic horror, we partnered with The Pixel Project, a global nonprofit focused on ending violence against women worldwide. With this project, we wanted to not only raise our voices, but unite them. We want to bring the topic of domestic violence against women to the forefront of the conversation. We want to stand with women who experience terror in the place they should feel the safest. We want to scream with them and for them.
We want to end domestic violence against women.
UNDER HER EYE, no matter how fierce, how full of rage, how powerful, its poems are, are only a step in that direction–but it is a step. The showcase features work from Bram-Stoker Awards® winning and nominated authors, as well as over one hundred poems from women (cis and trans) and non-binary femmes in horror. Developed in recognition of United Nations General Assembly’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, resources are included in the book's matter as a call to action for those who know women suffering and a resource for who are women suffering.
Domestic violence is not always loud, but sometimes it is.
Domestic violence doesn’t always leave bruises, at least not the visible kind.
Domestic violence can come from a partner, but it doesn’t have to.
Domestic violence isn’t an accident, though it often comes without warnings.
Domestic violence might happen just once, but once is enough.
Regina Yau, the founder and president of The Pixel Project, says: “The Pixel Project is proud to join forces with Black Spot Books on this collection which is so powerful that it is impossible to read all the poems in one sitting because they evoke the truths and horrors of violence against women so viscerally that the reader will need to take a break or two to process it all. The poets participating in Under Her Eye hail from across the world including Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, and the USA, showing that violence against women is a human rights issue without borders. It is our hope that this heart-stopping collection will galvanise readers and poetry-lovers to take action to stop violence against women and girls in their communities worldwide.”
“At Black Spot Books, we are excited to follow our inaugural, award-winning women in horror poetry showcase Under Her Skin with Under Her Eye,” says co-editor and Black Spot Books’ president Lindy Ryan. “Partnering with The Pixel Project to produce this charity showcase is a natural—and exciting—next step to amplify women’s voices in horror while contributing to a cause we care deeply about.”
Ryan’s co-editor, Lee Murray, herself a Bram Stoker Award®-winning poet, agrees. “It is an honour to be associated with this groundbreaking collection of poems by new and established voices in horror,” she says. “I have read Under Her Eye many times now and each time I have been struck by some new and startling insight. I have cried more than once. And while the poems in Under Her Eye are brutal and beautiful in equal measure, I hope that within these stanzas, in the words, and in the pauses between the lines, those who need it will also find comfort, courage, and community.”
Official blog of author Lindy Ryan.