Candle in the Attic Window, an anthology of Gothic horror, is the latest release from Innsmouth Free Press. We are interviewing some of the book’s contributors. Today Ann K. Schwader talks about her poem, “The Ba-Curse”.
What makes your poem Gothic?
Ancient Egypt has been a source of inspiration for Gothic writers from Bram Stoker (The Jewel of Seven Stars) and H.P. Lovecraft (“Under the Pyramids”) to Anne Rice (The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned). Add a wronged maiden, a curse, and a mysterious agent of revenge, and there you are – in 14 lines.
What was the source of inspiration for your poem?
Actual ancient Egyptian beliefs. Each person was made up of five parts: the body, the ka, the ba, the name, and the shadow. The ba represented personality, and could fly at will between this world and the underworld. It was closely linked to the body – i.e., the mummy – and was essential to survival in the Afterlife. I always wondered why bundles of bones got all the press, when the ba had more authentic scare potential!
What are your favourite Gothic movies and books?
Movies: In the Mouth of Madness, Shadow of the Vampire, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Books: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Saint-Germain Cycle, anything by Lovecraft, Dracula (though I’m way overdue on rereading this).
If you were the star of a Gothic TV show, what would your character be like? Would you be good or evil?
I’d probably be an academic or an independent scholar – I’m a Rupert Giles fan. My character would most likely be good (until she read too many of the wrong ancient texts) but doomed. Knowing thine enemy does not assure defeating thine enemy. It just increases the dread.
Bio: Ann K. Schwader is the author of five speculative poetry collections: Werewoman, The Worms Remember, Architectures of Night, In the Yaddith Time, and Wild Hunt of the Stars (Sam’s Dot Publishing, 2010). A comprehensive collection of her weird verse, to be edited by S.T. Joshi, is forthcoming from Hippocampus Press. Ann lives and writes in Colorado, USA. For more about her work, visit her Web site, http://home.earthlink.net/~