VANCOUVER – Vancouver poet Shannon Stewart shares a first glimpse of her tabloid inspired poems.

While standing in line at the supermarket many shoppers are intrigued by the eye-catching covers of the Weekly World News. In fact, one special shopper was so inspired by the craft and editorial of the tabloid that she began to write her own poetic “tabloid tales”.

With an MFA in Creative Writing, Shannon took her tales to a whole new level and is releasing her latest book Penny Dreadful. “Penny Dreadfuls were popular, cheaply produced 19th century magazines filled with brutal and sensationalist tales. Shannon revisits their grisly spirit through a series of meditations that examine the media’s obsession for luridness, be it tabloids or “respectable” newspapers.”

“Fable-like, ribald, and packing a powerful anti-puritanical punch, Penny Dreadful furnishes us with unsentimental X-rays of the contemporary world and its terrors.” The terrors and breaking headlines from the Weekly World News have truly inspired a remarkable poet. Here is a first glimpse at Shannon’s inspired poems.

Stay tuned for more tabloid tales!


What place is this?  The sea
around them is dead, served
up on beds of ice.  Fish eyes
goggle under fluorescents,
shelled shrimp a mountain
of pink.

Who  dreams such iniquity?
Smoked, skewered, shucked,
filets of gutted flesh spread
for viewing.  Alone, alive,
the lobsters plot revenge,
surreptitiously pluck
at the blue rubber bands
wrapped around  their claws.

Grip and crush, grip and crush,
a plan of action forms  in the
saline tank.  Swimmerets pummel
shells in anticipation, long stalks
of antenna sniff  beyond the glass
for the perfect moment.

They know the weak spots.
Digits, ankles, the toddler
left unattended in aisle 2.
Bibs and finger bowls filled
with lemon are shunned
for the greater muck
of terror.  Only blood
will do.


BUY SHANNON’S BOOK, Penny Dreadful:

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  1. Shannon, I think this is a perfect venue for you! To be paid tribute by the weekly world news, professional storyspinners of ephemeral human wonder and incredulity. They do have poetic aspirations you know – short and punchy headlines mask a hidden desire to show their love for loquatious gab!

    And now I appreciate the humour of your poem more vividly. Crustations shuck the rubber bands of bondage and rise up against the spinalcorders! p.s. speaking of blood, if tags are the blood corpuscules of the digital world, check out the "most popular" artery to the right!

  2. Shannon– our favourite "Candian Girl" poet!
    We may never go grocery shopping again–such terror lurking about!! This is great stuff. Just bought Penny Dreadful on line–awaiting its arrival with great anticipation. Miss you and we are coming home for good this summer!
    T, S, B & E xoxo

  3. Poetry comes to the tabloids…how sophisticated…I love it ! Does this legitimatize my guilt-ridden fix for sensationalism every time I'm waiting at the check-out counter? Thanks Shannon, your poetry is inspired, and best of all, it puts a smile on my face.

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