by Brooke Warra
Poetry, as with most writing, often comes from a place of deep pain. That’s never been more evident than with Stephanie M. Wytovich’s Sheet Music To My Acoustic Nightmare. As you’re reading, you get the sense you’re leafing through the pages of the author’s diary. It’s an intensely personal work. Wytovich deftly translates the horrors of real-life into gritty, gorgeous verse.
The poems are brutally, unflinchingly honest, making you want to read between the spaces of your fingers—the way a good horror movie does. The poet captures the ugly, even banal, moments of life and recreates them in stunning technicolor. Sheet Music To My Acoustic Nightmare is wreckage you can’t turn away from. This is a book about the follies, and victories, of our youth. About road-trips and tripping. About love and destruction. Abuse and survival.
And it’s a story about murder too.
Wytovich’s Brothel garnered her a Bram Stoker Award and Sheet Music To My Acoustic Nightmare is here to remind us why. In this book, you travel down dark highways with the author, sharing pints of whiskey and lighting cigarettes, swapping war stories and singing along with the songs on the radio. Also, there’s a body in the trunk.
Horror lovers will not be disappointed. Poems like “Head Ornaments” and “Killing Floor” paint an exquisitely grotesque picture. “Pretty Little Things” is at once tragic, magical, and frightening. “Looking for the Headless Driver” is nostalgia for one’s childhood at its most merciless. These poems tell a story, and are meant to be read from beginning to end. At times darkly violent, others fiercely sensual, and still others bitterly sweet, Wytovich’s poems will keep you thumbing the pages all through the night.
And maybe the next time you pass a young girl with her thumb out on the highway, or begging for change outside the convenience store, you’ll ask yourself which worlds of poetry she carries within her?
Sheet Music To My Acoustic Nightmare is available at Raw Dog Press.