Asylums once used to confine those deemed mentally unfit linger, forgotten behind trees or urban development, beautiful yet desolate in their decay. Within them festers something far more unnerving than unlit corners or unexplained noises: the case files left to moulder out of sight, out of conscience. Stephanie M. Wytovich forces your hands upon these crumbling, warped binders and exposes your mind to every taboo misfortune experienced by the outcast, exiled, misbegotten monsters and victims who have walked among us. The poetry contained in Hysteria performs internal body modification on its readers in an unrelenting fashion, employing broad-spectrum brutality treatment that spans the physical to the societal, as noted in Stoker Award winner Michael A. Arnzen’s incisive introduction.
Emily’s Hysteria Review
“Could not fuck the darkness any deeper / Into my head, letting demons run loose / In an imagination fueled by sadism.”
Hysteria is a collection of dark poetry by Stephanie M. Wytovich. There are about 100 poems in this collection. This was the first collection I’ve read from Wytovich, and it was an enjoyable experience.
There’s an overall theme of madness running through the poems. Some of them are specifically about asylum life, or what led people to the asylum. I didn’t feel like all of the poems necessarily matched the theme, and I wish that a little bit more of them would have been connected.
My top 5 poems in Hysteria are Body Suit, Comatose, On My Terms, Patient Limb, and Straight Jacket. All of these are grim and a little disturbing. I loved them!
I think this is the first collection I’ve read in which the poems are in alphabetical order, and it made for a different experience since sometimes poems with similar topics were right next to each other instead of spread out throughout the book.
Stephanie’s writing is grim and unsettling, and I love the images that she conjures with her poetry. There’s a variety of emotions in this book – sadness, lust, jealousy, mania, and so much more. I really appreciated her boldness with these poems. She hits on some heavy or taboo topics in this collection, and it was so fun to see the different places she went. Hysteria is so good at making the reader uncomfortable, yet dying to flip the page to the next poem. This collection is dark, and some of the poems are meant to shock you.
I have another one of Stephanie’s collections on my shelf, and I can’t wait to get to it soon! I had a lot of fun reading Hysteria.
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Fantastic Tales of Terror, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.
Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.
Visit her website here: https://www.stephaniemwytovich.com/