Flowers Among the Carrion
James Pate

ISBN: 978-0-900575-92-1

“Too often, the utopianist dreams of a world where all humans reflect back the face he sees in the mirror. But in the Gothic, there are multiple life-forms and continual metamorphoses; there are doubles and shadows; there are paradoxes …”

“Viruses are alive: they have something to tell us that is “dark and secret” — and literally so, since viruses are not a given for us to see and touch.”

Romance has held the deadly forces of the Gothic prisoner for far too long. Here James Pate examines Gothic poetry and poetics by bringing the dream world, the material world, history, and critical theory into a vibrant discussion. Pate resists the traps of discourse that the Gothic aesthetic have fallen into by arguing for a new development in contemporary verse, one that runs counter to many 20th century trends in U.S. poetry. These works are haunted by a Gothic ethos, being anti-foundationalist, anti-human-centric, and not afraid of facing nihility head-on. Drawing from contemporary works by Sade Murphy, Feng Sun Chen, and others, these meditations on the Gothic infect and distort the reader’s canonical understanding of what this concept actually is, and how it operates within the flux of today’s poetry.

“To often ‘the gothic’ is split between glib pop culture references or jargon-filled academic studies. This little aesthetic treatise avoids both, and charts out new paths for the gothic. A welcome intervention.”

— Eugene Thacker, author of In The dust Of This Planet and Cosmic Pessimism


James Pate is an Assistant Professor of English at Shepherd University. He earned his B.A. in English at the University of Memphis and his M.F.A at the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. He also has a Ph.D. in English with a creative writing dissertation from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Pate is a poet and fiction writer whose work has appeared in La Petite Zine, storySouth, Cream City Review, Black Warrior Review, Blue Mesa Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Pembroke Magazine, Juked, and Bayou Magazine, among other places. He is the author of The Fassbinder Diaries (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2013), a poetry collection inspired by the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.