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Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem
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Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  85 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews

Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem is a spine-tingling collection of terrifically creepy poems about the deadly art of murder.

The villains and victims who populate these pages range from Cain and Abel and Bluebeard and his wives to Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Mafia hit men. The literary forms they inhabit are just as varied, from the colorful melodramas of ol

Hardcover, 255 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Everyman's Library (first published September 1st 2011)
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Nov 15, 2011 Stephen rated it really liked it
Poignant cold passion...
Evocative cruelty...inhuman humanity...
Lush, callous, beautiful and deeply unsettling...

Poems + Murder =


What a perfect cover for this book. I love how it gorgeously foreshadows the elegant, polished depravity of this stellar collection of poems centering on murder, death and the darker, more disturbing aspects of human nature. Included in this morbid meter are poems told through the eyes of killers, victims and those loved ones left behind by tragedy to
Nov 09, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: age-adult, 2011, poetry
I've always been fascinated by murder ballads, so when I saw this book on the new shelves at my library I had to check it out. The poetry within spans hundreds of years, from anonymous murder ballads to more contemporary poems. Some poems were about actual murders that had been committed, such as those by Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Others took place in the mind of the killer, or from the point of view of the victim.

Due to the graphic nature of some of the poems, I'd say
Dec 17, 2011 Melissa rated it it was ok
Removing myself briefly from my Skyrim haze to read some poetry. This is a handsome little volume, very trim & compact with a nice red ribbon place marker. I was surprised that I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. Am I getting too delicate as I age? Within the first few pages of this book, I found "Mother" by Kaci Hamilton. At first I thought it was about matricide & I was totally cool with it. Reading on, it's actually the mother that's doing the killing. "That little mouth/th ...more
Kevin Farrell
Dec 02, 2011 Kevin Farrell rated it really liked it
Here I am reading poetry. That is a stretch but when I saw this book I just had to check it out. Poems about murder. There are poems from the murderers perspective, there are poems from the victims perspective, and there are poems from Death's perspective. I am not a student of poetry so some of these have challenged me a bit. I tend to enjoy the simple, brief rhymes that speak clearly to me.

Here is my favorite from the book:

Black Widow

Mrs. Murphy killed her mate.
The act was frowned on by the st
Nov 27, 2011 Vasha7 rated it liked it
Overall, I can't say that this collection aroused great enthusiasm in me. There were lots of poems based on recent cases -- odd how many of those sounded similar, in spite of the varied forms used; perhaps it was that the way that the poets chose to tell/analyze the cases was similar. And the collection was unbalanced between very new (at least three quarters), late 20th century (most of the rest) and just a sprinkling of older ones. Might have seemed less incongruous if it stuck to just contemp ...more
Sep 24, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads, poetry
The ever-marvelous Everyman’s Library serves up its own selection of death in Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem. Divided into sections like Vers Noir, All in the Family, and The Mind of the Murderer that describe either the tone or point of view of the poem’s narrator, the collection features works about the usual suspects such as Cain and Abel, Lizzie Borden, and Jack the Ripper as well as a few you might not be expecting (Susan Smith, Seung-Hui Cho, Richard Speck). Mothers kill their ch ...more
Kem White
Mar 09, 2015 Kem White rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is another good anthology in the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series. And this is the book of poems for you if you think poetry is all about daffodils and fluffy clouds. There's not a lot of laughs in this collection as all of the poems are about murder, psychos, and murder victims. But many of these poems are quite gripping: "Frankie and Albert," Tony Barnstone's "The Lover," Cornelius Eady's "Birthing," and Melissa Balmain's "Facebook Psycho" are among my favorites. As with any antholo ...more
Samantha Graziani
Feb 08, 2017 Samantha Graziani rated it really liked it
Fun compilation, great for when you're feeling a little mischievous and some are fun to read aloud. I'm not a poetry buff, but I enjoyed reading poetry around this theme.
Jul 08, 2012 Sundry rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I liked it, but it was often a difficult read due to the subject matter. No punches pulled! Really traveled to dark places with these poets. Disturbing number of murdered beauties and pregnant girls in the traditional verses.

The one that will stick with me for a long time: A Case of Murder by Victor Scannell. I think if you Google it, with Killer Verse you can read it online.

Scary stuff!

Nicely produced volume. The blood red ribbon for keeping one's place was a stroke of genius.
Nov 28, 2016 Peggy rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This was an impulse read, discovered when browsing our local public library's poetry section. Each poem tells the story of a murder from many points of view, both murderer as well as victim. I was excited to find an excellent pantoum included, "Blue-Beard's First Wife" by Leon Gellert. I also liked Simon Armitage's "Gooseberry Season," and Mark Doty's "Charlie Howard's Descent." The best poems leave holes in their telling, where something remains unfathomable about what is described.
Elizabeth Kennedy
Feb 23, 2016 Elizabeth Kennedy rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature, poetry
I love poetry! In this collection there are many styles represented, from free verse to meters, lyrical lines. In almost every entry that struck me however, there was a master author. The subject itself lends itself to emotion, from the victim view, the murderers torment to the punishers predicament, it bleeds angst. This was an amazing collection, so glad I read it! Be warned, some poems are based on crimes within our memories, and are not for the faint-hearted.
Janet Windeguth
Jul 31, 2013 Janet Windeguth rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
These aren’t your typical, flowery, lovely, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” poems. If high school poetry classes taught these poems, I guarantee there’d be an upswing in poetry appreciation. Most of them seemed to be about murder (or murderers) in general, but there were some event-specific ones I immediately recognized—not only the infamous “forty whacks,” but also the Virginia Tech shooting and Matthew Shepard’s murder.
Edy Gies
Apr 23, 2015 Edy Gies rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I picked it up during poetry month thinking it would be interesting and it was, but also super creepy. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone because they would think I was really messed up. It is also very gruesome in parts, and totally gave me the heebie-jeebies, which I was surprised by. It's poetry for goodness sakes! Still, it was a pretty fun read.
Juliana Gray
Dec 24, 2012 Juliana Gray rated it liked it
Like all anthologies, this one is uneven, but there's a lot of fun stuff here. My favorite section was the murder ballads-- it's interesting to see these traditional pieces collected beside contemporary verse.
Sep 20, 2016 Anni rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, poetry
A fun read, but I expected more from it.
Jan 13, 2016 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Viscous and visceral as only poetry can be. A difficult read, even for someone who loves crime books, fact and fiction alike.
Jul 20, 2013 Kate rated it liked it
The very best was "With or Without Milk." It was an interesting collection, but overall, I was underwhelmed. Glad that I had borrowed it from the library.
Hannah rated it really liked it
Jun 15, 2015
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May 29, 2014
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Oct 16, 2012
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Mar 23, 2014
Isaac Mendez
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Aka Jon A. Harrald (joint pseudonym with Jonna Gormley Semeiks)

Harold Schechter is a true crime writer who specializes in serial killers. He attended the State University of New York in Buffalo, where he obtained a Ph.D. A resident of New York City, Schechter is professor of American literature and popular culture at Queens College of the City University of New York.

Among his nonfiction works are
More about Harold Schechter...

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