This Elgin-nominated chapbook contains thirteen poems, each an account of a different strange beast. I love the way the chapbook is presented as a field guide with boxed scientific summaries opening each poem. This central conceit plus the Southern flavor bind the poems together.
I found this collection a quick, highly entertaining read. There is sympathy toward the characters, humans, and monsters that moved me. My favorite poem is "Honey Island Swamp Monster," which combines affection for the freak show participants with anger against the foul ringmaster. The poems' multi-column layout could have been distracting, or indeed confusing, but instead I found it successful. Overall, “Southern Cryptozoology” is a strong and imaginative chapbook.
--Mary Soon Lee