The Black Widow

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Pub Date 31 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 03 Dec 2022

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The Black Widow is a collection of poetry influenced by true crime poetry and literary heroines. The spider's web is a powerful metaphor for exploring cases of injustice and abused women who kill.

This emotive collection gives voice to those unjustly convicted, to abuse survivors and their children, and to the foster carers who look after them. The influences of literature inspire poems from the perspective of Lady Macbeth, Madame Bovary and the Duchess of Malfi.

The Black Widow is a collection of poetry influenced by true crime poetry and literary heroines. The spider's web is a powerful metaphor for exploring cases of injustice and abused women who kill.


Advance Praise

“A startling and melancholic chapbook of dark poems, The Black Widow addresses injustice, abuse, and trauma, and is a stark indictment on society’s indifference to the voices and suffering of women. Drawing on real-life and literary scenarios, Worthington’s poetry is brimming with unconscionable pain. A poet to watch.” —Lee Murray, Bram Stoker Award®-winning poet and author of Tortured Willows

“Resonant and familiar, Worthington’s poetry fills the hollows for women’s voices silenced by abuse. Scathing yet sensitive, The Black Widow is a lens by which to examine injustice, trauma, and pain, and the dark secrets often hidden behind closed doors.” –Lindy Ryan, award-winning author and editor of Under Her Skin

“A startling and melancholic chapbook of dark poems, The Black Widow addresses injustice, abuse, and trauma, and is a stark indictment on society’s indifference to the voices and suffering of women...

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ISBN 9798848349702
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Featured Reviews

Packing, Mother Earth, Survival of an Empath were my favorite poems from this collection. The writing was beautiful and easy to digest, even for me, someone who does not often dabble in poetry.

I devoured this collection in one sitting... am I the black widow?

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This is a collection of poetry that has been brought about by true crime and literacy heroines.

As well as poems being featured there are also facts posted on a number of pages.

A really great collection. Perfect for poetry readers and true crime fans.

The appendix explains what each poem is based on/how it came about such as the true crime cases - who was responsive and the outcome, certain characters and what books they came from and the ideas of some poems and what they were based on.

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I found these poems which are inspired by true crime to be highly satisfying. Much better than I expected them to be, for something I’d never encountered before. I just found them evocative and stirring, perhaps due to my grief and lack of sleep but I like them just the same.

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As a Criminal Justice major with a minor in Women’s and Gender studies who is an avid reader, this dark poetry book immediately appealed to me as an intersection of all my interests and it did not disappoint.

These poems are a collection of stories and statements concerning women and the criminal justice system, particularly abused women, women who have been wrongly convicted, and the children of these women who must live with the consequences. It is a powerful statement on domestic abuse, the treatment in and revicitmization of women by the criminal justice system, and the intergenerational impacts these events have.

My favorite poems include White on Red, Anxiety, Ghost Breath, and Loss but I also appreciated the poems based in true stories and those simply sharing the names of women who have been ignored/silenced/forgotten.

I did find the font of the book mildly annoying and distracting. I know how to read cursive but I know a lot of young people these days don’t and it made it a little harder to read on a screen. It might be different on paper, however.

In summary, this is an excellent book to pick up if you enjoy poetry and are interested in women’s experiences with violence and the justice system.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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This poetry collection is one dedicated to True Crime in his victims. Add points it’s consoling Annette others disquieting but all or exploring the mini feelings of victims during and after the crimes. I found this poetry collection to be poignant, touching and respectful. During the exploration and examination of these crimes one comes to understand as much as you can, the devastation one act can wield. When I first read the summary for this book I was a little bit dubious about how one can write poetry for crimes and its victims, but I have totally been educated and found this book to be so touching and dare I say it important. This is truly a great addition to our literature and poetry and anyone who loves either should gladly add this book to the library. I received this book from NetGalleyShelf and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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I normally don't go after poetry books but this was different, it was so well done and did everything that I hoped for in a great poetry book. I loved the concept and I loved the way it was written. Louise Worthington does a great job in telling a collection and I'm glad I read this.

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This book was mindbogglingly heartbreaking and tragic and a must-read all at once. It's definitely not an easy or light read based on the material. It's such an important subject to touch on and it's somehow not done nearly enough. I think the emotions this stirs up are something so many can relate to. Or at least know someone who will. That's the sad thing about it actually, that so many have felt the things written on these pages. I consumed it quickly and am glad to add it to the list of things I'll always think about. The terrible fact it conveys is that women are abused and murdered daily and those who do anything against their tormentors always face consequences in some form or another. It might be seen or unseen but it always happens.

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This collection was incredibly hard to read due to the subject matter, but it also sucked me in and made me read it until I was done. Worthington does a beautiful job of bringing these stories to light with her poems.

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I usually enjoy poetry, but this was something completely new for me. These poems are inspired by true crime. The author does an outstanding job at exploring pain and its dark forms. There are some poems that stood out to me, and others that I could barely read, as they were too heartbreaking.

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Diese Gedichtsammlung thematisiert eine Vielzahl von sensiblen Themen, wie Häusliche Gewalt und deren Auswirkungen auf Betroffene, Misshandlung, Mord, Tod eines Kindes, falsche Verdächtigung und Verlust der Eltern. Dabei hat sich die Autorin von zahlreichen realen und fiktiven Fällen inspirieren lassen und informiert über diese Geschichten, die sich in Großbritannien abgespielt haben, auch am Ende des Buches.

Mich hat diese Gedichtsammlung sehr berührt. Bei einigen Gedichten sind die realen Bezüge im Titel erwähnt, und ich habe wahrscheinlich mehr Zeit mit dem Recherchieren und Nachlesen dieser Geschichten verbracht, als mit dem Lesen des Buches. Es reicht jedoch auch aus, die Hinweise der Autorin (am Ende des Buches und auch zwischen den verschiedenen Thematiken) zu lesen, um die Bedeutung und Grausamkeit der Schicksale zu verstehen. Ich war zutiefst betroffen von der Ungerechtigkeit, die einigen Opfern widerfahren war. Die Thematik häusliche Gewalt, mit all ihren Konsequenzen, wurde sehr eindrücklich beschrieben, sodass man sich auch als außenstehende Person in die Verzweiflung der Betroffenen hinein versetzen konnte. Und auch die Verurteilung unschuldiger Mütter, weil sie ihre Kinder getötet haben sollen, hat mich zutiefst betroffen.

Eine Gedichtsammlung, die einen ganz neuen Ansatz gewählt hat und mit ihren wichtigen Themen zugleich unterhält, berührt und wach rüttelt. Ich kann dieses Buch jedem empfehlen, der Gedichte mag und/oder sich für Kriminalfälle interessiert. 5 Sterne

In English:

This collection of poems addresses a variety of sensitive issues, such as domestic violence and its impact on victims, abuse, murder, death of a child, false suspicion and loss of parents. The author has been inspired by numerous real and fictitious cases and provides information about these stories that took place in Great Britain at the end of the book.

I was very touched by this collection of poems. For some poems, the real references are in the title mentioned, and I have probably spent more time researching and reviewing these stories than reading the book. However, it is also enough to read the author's notes (at the end of the book and also between the different themes) to understand the importance and cruelty of the fates. I was deeply saddened by the injustice done to some victims. The topic of domestic violence, with all its consequences, was described very impressively, so that even as an outsider one could put oneself in the despair of those affected. And the condemnation of innocent mothers for allegedly killing their children also affected me deeply.

A collection of poems that has chosen a completely new approach and at the same time entertains, touches and shakes you up with its themes. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes poetry and/or is interested in crime. 5 Stars

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This was the first poetry collection I have read since school and I truly enjoyed it. When I say I enjoyed it I mean the experience of reading poetry, as the subject matter is not one someone could ‘enjoy’ reading about, however, it is an important topic to discuss and to give a voice to.
The Black Widow is a poetry collection that combines true crime, domestic abuse, fact and fiction. It's powerful and meaningful. I highly recommend picking this one up, I’m sure it will leave an impression on you.

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Since I was a young girl, I've always loved poetry and have written my share of poems and that's primarily the reason why this beautiful collection of prose and poetry got my attention.

Granted that the cover clearly indicated dark poetry, I found myself unprepared for the dark brooding the book contained but it is a refreshing take on such a heavy subject. My favorites are Loss, Survival of an Empath, and Poppy.

I have not read any of the author's fiction works but she is adept at poetry and each word written cleverly encapsulates the trauma, sadness, loss, and a plethora of other negative emotions that come with abuse.

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Louise Worthington started writing psychological thrillers and horror in 2019 after studying for a postgraduate diploma in psychology and reading true crime non-fiction. Her degree is in literature, and she taught English in secondary schools for many years. The emotional pull of a story is very important to her, both as a reader and a writer. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Horror Writers Association (HWA). Her latest work-in-progress, a psychological horror novel, recently won the top spot on Litopia with agent Peter Cox. Her family lives in Shropshire, a rural, historic county in the UK. Her day job is tutoring and running a farm with her husband. Their newest collection of dark poetry is the independently published The Black Widow.
The Black Widow is a collection of poetry influenced by true crime poetry and literary heroines. The spider's web is a powerful metaphor for exploring cases of injustice and abused women who kill. For example, one of the early poems, “One for Sorrow,” focuses on Angela Cannings, who was falsely accused of murdering her three children based on “expert testimony” by a medical practitioner who was later struck from the General Medical Council. To tell this story, Worthington taps into British magpie rhymes to weave an intricate confessional poem.
Elsewhere, Worthington taps into literary allusion. For example, “Lady Macbeth’s Monster” is a loosely metered sonnet based on curses and infertility. This synthesis of subjects, from the very contemporary and real to the classic and literary, creates an overwhelming theme of injustice and oppression that permeates this collection.
This is certainly not the first collection of true crime poetry nor feminist-based crime poetry. Louise Worthington has entered into oft-trod territory, so the onus is upon her to do something new and exciting with it. By focusing on the victims, especially the innocent victims, and by paralleling them against classic literary examples, Worthington is able to create a poetic argument that women and children have always been maligned and oppressed when it comes to the legal systems, and not only does this patriarchal subjugation stretches back throughout history, but it also continues up until the present day. Worthington has infused her horror with a socio-political consciousness, which the best of horror poets can do, and this propels her collection over others of similar subject matter.

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This tribute women and the examination of the violence society has always subjected them to was not always easy to read, but what a punch to the gut it was. I was not often in the right mood to read it and so I had to take my time going through all the poems in the collection, but I was glad to have waited.
Not all poems were equal, although most of them were incredibly satisfying. I loved hearing all these female voices telling their side of the story, women giving testimony of the violence they witnessed. It was a very emotional and sometimes heart-wrenching collection.
The fact that some of these women were fictional does not take away from the dreadful reality of what they depicted and I often caught myself thinking that this book was simply necessary.

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Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A very brave and clever book. As a poetry lover and true crime freak. I enjoyed some more than others. A recommended read.

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