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Cradleland of Parasites

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Bram Stoker Award-winner Sara Tantlinger delivers her CRADLELAND OF PARASITES, a harrowing and darkly gorgeous collection of poetry chronicling the death and devastation of one of history's greatest horrors: The Black Plague. ...more
ebook, 80 pages
Published October 31st 2020 (first published October 2020)
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Sadie Hartmann
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: night-worms
A poetry collection inspired by the bubonic plague released during the actual Coronavirus pandemic of 2020? How prophetically macabre.
If just reading this review or the subject matter of these poems have you thinking, "It's too soon!"
You need to step away from this book.
Tantlinger does not hold back.

"In the name of Pestilence, I ride, / your scared lord of contagion / bow down beneath divine damnation"

Some poems are told as the voice of the plague itself. Others from the perspective of the dyin
Well Read Beard
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Tell someone you know, maybe someone that doesn't read horror, that you are reading a book about plague poetry in the middle of the pandemic. Watch their facial expressions. Listen to their reactions. Seriously. It's a wee bit hilarious. Why do we want to be horrified? Why do we want to read on the edge. Why would I want to hear about all the death, the ugliness, the disease while I am stuck in a house with people I love, but come on now - I love them, but they are supposed to go to school and w ...more
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"What comes after all of this,
in the quiet of the night when stars
shine again, sparkling in the sky
constant reminders of life's gifts,
what comes after all of this?"

This was a very visceral, macabre collection of plague poetry! It's a quick read, and delightfully dark.
Alex | | findingmontauk1
Sara Tantlinger is brilliant. I said it and I will stand by it! She has a knack for creating such illustrative and beautiful poetry while centralizing/being influenced by such dark horrors. In the case of Cradleland of Parasites, that horror is THE BLACK PLAGUE. And believe me, we need some magical horror poetry about a plague right now... I devoured this collection quicker than I anticipated... but I could not stop myself! I know I will be re-reading this collection and there are definite poems ...more
Steve Stred
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

I’ve been working harder to read dark poetry. When Sara Tantlinger announced her next collection, ‘Cradleland of Parasites,’ would be inspired by the Black Death, I was very intrigued. When it was offered for review, I actually paused to decide if I wanted to read it, worried I may not be an intelligent enough reader for it, but now, after having finished it, I’m so happy I took it.

What I liked: Like all of the other amazing poets I’ve read r
Ashley (spookishmommy)
"Remember that you will die,
so that you do not forget to live."

Sara Tantlinger is a master of poetry. Her writing is so damn captivating.

Cradleland is equal parts beautiful and grotesque (which is basically my aesthetic). I learned more about the Black Plague through Tantlinger's poetry than I ever learned in school (sorry to my teachers). Each poem is so well crafted. You will squirm and you will wonder what is wrong with humanity while ALSO wondering why this collection is so relevant in 2020.
Hailey Piper
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beginning millennia ago and working forward, Cradleland of Parasites paints a poetic picture of sicknesses both forgotten and infamous, a history lesson that is both warning and alluring. This is one of those horrors that's hard to look at, but you can't look away from. Read aloud, every line flows smooth off the tongue. There's a perverse joy to each poem, a sense that this should've been fun, and yet you're having the time of your life, even when the past reminds us a little too much of the pr ...more
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cradleland of Parasites shows why Tantlinger is such a remarkable writer of historical horror: grounded in deep research, she has a talent for making the dark wonder of times past feel real and omnipresent and contemporary -- as if mankind were fated to dark days and evil ways forever. She can take something as distant from us as a medieval plague and make it reach out to touch us today like a cold dead hand from the grave grabbing hold of your ankle, contaminating you even if you manage to brea ...more
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
I have fallen upon a few plague novels over the course of the pandemic. It's very surreal to read about plagues, pandemics, the history of harsh and fatal diseases while living through a pandemic. It definitely heightens the works that I have been reading lately!

The poems in Cradleland of Parasites center around The Black Plague. Wow, these poems were dark and brutal and beautiful. Some of my favorites were Second Pandemic, Moral Decay, Death Knell, and An Advanced Society.

Cradleland of Parasite
Quentin Montemayor
This is like nothing I’ve ever read. I love it. It’s one part soothing memento mori that really encapsulates the time we are living in, and another part fucking metal slaughterhouse that makes you want to throw up those horns. You would think those two things don’t go together but Sara Tantlinger doesn’t really give them a choice. Masterful. Thanks for writing this.
Erica Robyn Metcalf
Cradleland of Parasites by Sara Tantlinger is a deeply unsettling collection of poems about the Black Plague.

I’m still very new to trying to focus more on poetry, and I’m so grateful that I gave this one a read, even if I felt like I was torturing myself a bit considering the content and my anxiety around the current pandemic!

This collection, while all focused around the same topic, has such a great variety! It covers viewpoints from those that are sick, those that are in the plague masks, thos
There is something so hard to look away from in the idea of plague, especially those that are safely in our past. Sara Tantlinger is one of those authors I can trust implicitly to craft art that I'm going to enjoy. I love her prose, and her poetry is a thing of beauty, tackling this subject from all angles. I recently started a ritual of starting the day with a few poems while I had my coffee, and Cradleland of Parasites was the first collection I picked up. What a visceral, creepy, haunting joy ...more
Ben Long
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not going to beat around the bush; I absolutely love this collection of plague poetry! The writing is beautiful, the imagery is exquisite (though ghastly and disturbing), and the focus on the Black Death is so cool...though a little unnerving considering when I read this (i.e. middle of a pandemic).

There are lots of intriguing overarching topics that span the collection; from the idea that this was either punishment or abandonment by God, to the utter havoc this disease caused in society, to
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With the coincidental timing of the onset of the current pandemic, plague poetry might not seem like the most tempting of things to dive into. But award-winning scribe Sara Tantlinger makes it a cathartic experience in Cradleland of Parasites, her latest poetry collection.

Her use of language and word choice force the reader to confront images, particularly of the Black Plague that ravaged the Middle Ages, but also how it ties into human behaviour now, both pre-pandemic but made all the more pre
Sonora Taylor
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. Tantlinger has a gift for finding the most beautiful words to describe the ugliest horrors. I highly recommend this book of poetry.
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Review to follow...
K.P. Kulski
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous, heartbreaking, grim. This collection digs into the hopelessness of not only historic plagues, but from the perspective of the experience of being trapped within a plague stricken world. The memory of what life had been like before it melts into the boils, fevered flesh and loss... the loss of not only life, but innocence, youth and tomorrow. All told in harrowing yet always breathtaking verse. This is a collection to be savored, along with all the barbs of exquisite pain it brings.
Bianca (Belladonnabooks)
This is a beautiful, dark and haunting collection of poems which centres around the bubonic plague or Black Death, a global pandemic which resulted in a devastating amount of worldwide deaths. I felt this collection was rather timely in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way as humans we have responded to being faced with our own mortality. I felt there were some valid lessons in this collection and they were written beautifully. I can’t wait to read more of Sara Tantlinger’s work.
Kasey Ashton
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a horrifyingly beautiful read. Proceed with caution with this one, so much body horror, I physically gagged more than once while reading, I may never eat again, & pretty sure that I'm never venturing outdoors ever again. Definitely a hard read during these times of Covid. ...more
Michael Goodwin
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me, poetry is often like a conversation in a language that you don't fully understand. You get the gist of it, but you know there's more that you're missing.

I did not have that problem with this collection of horror poems. Page after page of rich, visceral imagery, these poems clearly conveyed their meaning. Surrounding the topic of the black plague, it was easy to draw parallels to our current struggles with a certain spreading illness.

I read this cover to cover in one afternoon, and I was
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly a beautiful and horrifying collection of poetry about the Black Plague. It is filled with vivid imagery about the physical manifestations of it, along with the fear, sorrow, and betrayal that was felt by the people enduring it.

I was thrilled to see many references to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death," which was the first story that drew me into horror as a child. Sara Tantlinger applied her own magical capabilities to Poe's in a way that exquisitely intertwined the two. I was
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tantlinger's writing is exquisite, but calculated. Each word, each step through these ports and through these ships and through the mechanisms of disease is an artful act, but one of great terror. There is the terror of an unknown parasite lurking in your cells and the terror of the failure of one's body.

This is gruesome beauty.

Tantlinger is also prophetic, in a way, in releasing a collection during a time in history where we are all struggling with the unknown, will that cough creep into a fu
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very timely book of poetry....I couldn’t help but compare the plague to what we’re experiencing now....with a lower death rate. This collection made me want to learn more about the Black Plague, which I know virtually nothing about.

The poems that stood out to me were ‘The Demon of Constantinople’, ‘The Butchered Aftermath’, ‘Brokers of the Dead’, ‘1665’, and ‘An Advanced Society’.

Demon made me think of our world leaders and their current disinterest in the plight of those suffering from this p
May 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-thriller
4.5 deliciously disgusting, horrifyingly haunting
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As much as I love horror, I have been reticent to dip my toe into pandemic related themes preferringstories that provide a greater sense of escapism. However, I did not want to stop myself from reading Cradleland of Parasites when it arrived in my Nightworms December box. I truly do love dark, macabre poetry.

Reading this collection of poems that delves into the events of the Black Plague served as a reminder for me how poetry can go into a depth of human emotion that other forms of literature ju
Natalie 8luebird
Cradleland of Parasites is an exceptionally strong body of art. Tantlinger has an overtly natural hand for poetry and intricately weaves her research with history, horror, the macabre and the morose.

Each piece pertains to some parasitic entity, beginning foremostly with an entire section devoted to the bubonic plague/black death. The latter half evolving symbiotically with the timeline from thence to hither. Through Yersinia pestis' triad of a repertoire, to the modern day ponderings of whether
Aiden Merchant
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cradleland of Parasites is an amazing collection of dark poetry about the Black Plague. Not only does the book never tire or falter, it continues to impress and surprise throughout. In fact, I found this collection so influential that I've decided to keep it within reach at all times for inspiration. Every turn of page made me want to get busy writing!
> Reviewed by Aiden Merchant - / Instagram @ AidenMerchant89 / Twitter @ AidenMerchant89 / (e)
> A
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Melissa Nowark
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a beautiful book!
After reading Sara’s To Be Devoured, I knew I wanted to get to the rest of her catalogue. I got Cradleland of Parasites in the December 2020 Slay Belles Night Worms package and saved it for Women in Horror Month and I already want to reread it. 😍
I’m a big fan of poetry, but horror poetry is something special all on its own. Sara has such a way with words, weaving beauty and terror into poems depicting disease, pandemics, and even biological warfare. I even spent so
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic poetry collection from Sara Tantlinger!

I'll start this review off with saying that I don't normally read poetry. It has never been my favorite genre and a lot of the time the symbolism goes straight over my head. The poems in Cradleland of Parasites, however, are so well written that the story comes across crystal clear while still maintaining an eerie and haunting vibe. Tantlinger does a fantastic job in bringing the horrors of the black death to life by taking a ground level
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Sara Tantlinger is the author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes, and the Stoker-nominated works To Be Devoured, Cradleland of Parasites, and Not All Monsters. Along with being a mentor for the HWA Mentorship Program, she is also a co-organizer for the HWA Pittsburgh Chapter. She embraces all things macabre and can be found lurking in graveyards ...more

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