A Collection of Dreamscapes
by Christina Sng
Reviewed by Scott T. Barnes

Christina Sng is one of the most prolific and gifted speculative poets working today. A Collection of Nightmares won the prestigious Bram Stroker award. Her new work, A Collection of Dreamscapes is equally worthy of your attention.

The book is divided into five “themes” or sections entitled The Love Song of Allegra, Fairy Tales, All the Monsters in the World, The Capacity of Violence, and Myths and Dreamscapes. Each has 15 or more poems ranging from a few stanzas to several pages. The poems tend towards short lines and free form rather than longer lines with a fixed rhythm and meter.

The Love Song of Allegra reads like the poet’s rendition of mythology. Some of the tales obviously feature mythological characters and events (i.e. Prometheus, the titan credited with bringing fire to humanity in Greek literature) and others are so vivid and evocative that I spent a good deal of time trying to find the original myths online; only to conclude that Sng must have invented them. This section is good fun, and the poems have enough depth and truth to create myths in their own right. If you read this section and are not enthralled, read no further. But for most of you, stopping will be the last thing on your mind.

Fairy Tales is what you would expect, a poetic examination of some classic tales. One of the poems appearing here was first published in NewMyths. Grandmother Red begins:

One never quite recovers
From the trauma 
Of being eaten.

Yes, there is humor in Sng’s work, even though she tends to write on the darker side of human nature.

All the Monsters in the World and The Capacity of Violence explore that darker side. Monsters is more symbolic and universal, while Violence delves deeper into those creatures, human or otherwise, who do not control the monster within, and indeed take pleasure from letting it out. I found these poems disturbing and could not read them straight through but only in little doses. Herein we find the second poem from NewMyths, The Forest of Discarded Baby Girls. It’s opening is:

No Man dares enter
The forest of discarded baby girls
After sundown in the dead of night.

The wind howls
When another girl is abandoned,
Always at the edge of the forest…

Disturbing? Yes. Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned for those who listen.

Finally we have Myths and Dreamscapes. Some of these are retellings of myths and mysteries (The Giants of Easter Island and Styx) and others are the author’s inventions such as The Magic of Crystals and Moonlight in the Playground, possibly my favorite.

Christina Sng is an author I recommend you get to know better. Best of all, you can sample her writing before purchasing! Read a couple of her poems here in NewMyths, and if you like them, by all means buy A Collection of Dreamscapes from Raw Dog Screaming Press.


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