by Tom Leduc
People often ask, why Zombie Poetry? Well, because they’re easy pick in’s I say. They’re walking metaphors, or should I say stumbling, dragging metaphors. Zombie poetry is so much fun and full of interesting subject matter, I have trouble focusing on where the poems take me.
For instance, you can take anyone from this reality and Zombify him or her. I have one poem that describes what happened to an orchestra conductor after the zombie apocalypse, and have also created several poems that describe a roofer who was trapped on the roof of a church during the dawn of the dead and his fight to survive.
This summer I spent a couple of Saturday afternoons converting children’s nursery rhymes into Zombie rhymes, what fun. You can convert all kinds of famous poetry into Zombie poetry. I have re-imagined Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night”. Now it will be given a whole new life and re-introduced to a new generation of fans.
We can also write poems that challenge the moral or philosophical questions of a Zombie apocalypse. Would you be able to take down a threat? What if your loved one was involved, or your neighbour or even that bully from your childhood? Would you fight until the bitter end or would you give-up? Zombie poetry or story-telling can offer a place to explore these otherwise taboo subjects in a therapeutic way.
One of the most powerful ways to write about Zombies is to describe the way they reflect our own culture. We, as a race, are mindlessly consuming the planet. Our eating habits and our lifestyles are contributing factors to our possible extinction. The constant pressures of advertisers, tax collectors, and the needs of the people around us, in a way, mirror the constant threat of being attacked and eaten by zombies. We spend our days slaving away at our work, most of us lost within a giant corporation never really seeing any results, and in the world of Zombies you can spend day after day beating away at hordes of Zombies never really getting anywhere, they just keep coming. I write about this in my poem “Hordes Of The Dead,” but can be best captured in my poem “Zombie On The Inside.” My wife came home from an extra hard day at work one day and said to me that she “felt dead on the inside, rotting, not really alive anymore, as if [she] was missing out on life.” I replied, “ you feel like a Zombie on the inside” and instantly I understood what she was trying to say. I sat down and started writing, her words are the first two lines to the poem. The poem can be read from different perspectives such as someone feeling the way my wife did that day, such as an elderly person slowly losing themselves, or as someone who has been bitten by a Zombie as is now becoming one. Our culture is full of these kinds of examples, even the fans of Zombies consume everything Zombie, thus becoming the very thing they fear.
This is why I like to write Zombie poetry, because it can have so many layers to it.
If you would like to have some fun and hear some of my Zombie Poetry and see some short films, come out to Little Montreal on Elm St., Tuesday October 28th, 8 to 10 PM. Dress up and bring some non- perishable goods to support the Sudbury Food Bank.