The Works of Jayne Pupek

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Richmond, VA, United States
Jayne Pupek is the author of the novel "Tomato Girl" (Algonquin Books, 2008) and a book of poems titled "Forms of Intercession" (Mayapple Press, 2008). Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals. In addition to her own writing, Jayne freelances as a ghostwriter, editor and mentor. A Virginia native, Jayne has spent most of her professional life working in the field of mental health.

Contact Jayne

To contact Jayne, email


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two New Poems

I'm delighted to have my poem, "The Zombie Inside a Strip Club" in the recent issue of Sex and Murder Magazine. This is my first appearance in this dark and fascinating journal.

"S. Freud and the Ants" appears in the new issue of blossombones. It's wonderful to make another appearance in this invigorating journal.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Livelihood of Crows--From Mayapple Press

The Livelihood of Crows
By Jayne Pupek
Publication date: August 15

Jayne Pupek’s bold narrative voice, which is laced with dark humor, takes us on a journey through beauty and brokenness. Pupek creates a world of sensuality emanating from the banal and the quotidian, in remarkable language and exceptional contemplation. Many of these poems are shadowed by crows and other opportunists, such as door-to-door proselytizers, and the forces that might take our minds, or our lives. The Livelihood of Crows comes with passion and empowerment—an astonishing, haunting book.
Self Portrait with Skeleton Arm
after Edvard Munch
Black asks for nothing; it asks for everything.
What it wants most is to wrap you in its arms
and hold you inside an oblivion that never subsides.
In lithograph, it separates a man from his body,
a bone from a man. It devours light and good fortune.
Black quells the ruckus of doves mating in the azaleas
outside your window. It shadows koi, shimmering trinkets
in a shallow pond, and inks your clean palms, your eyelids.
It invites old ghosts to return to your dreams in the shape
of drying roses, little skulls. It dresses you daily
in widow’s garb and colors the hearse
that carries your husband to the rocky hillside
where his grave is dug, waiting. Black sleeps
in the dark musky loam of your garden and in the coffee
grounds pitched on the compost heap. It rises on all fours
and walks on the back of a cat stalking mice in a field
ablaze with late pumpkins, abandoned gourds.
It shines across the undulating flanks of horses
storming the ridge and then takes to the sky without apology,
its wings opening on the caw of another morning.

©2010 Mayapple Press and the author.
Jayne Pupek is the author of the novel Tomato Girl (Algonquin Books, 2008) and a book of poems,Forms of Intercession (Mayapple Press, 2008). Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Pupek is a former social worker and Virginia native. More of her writing may be viewed at

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Poems

A couple new poems have been published. "Blue Velvet," is up at Chizine. Also have two new poems--"Axe and Saw" and "Killer's Song" at the Dark Fiction Spotlight 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Guerra Sucia (The Dirty War)"

My poem, "Guerra Sucia (The Dirty War)," appears in the recent issue of Cliterature. This is my first appearance in this exquisite journal.

 From their home page:

 Cliterature is an online magazine dedicated to expressions of women's sexuality in writing. We publish both creative and 
critical works quarterly. Women's sexuality deserves a medium in the writing and publishing worlds, two arenas where interest in male sexuality has prevailed far too long.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I'm thrilled to have a poem, "Contagion," in the final issue of Holly Rose Review on the theme of "worry." I'm sad that this will be the last issue, but delighted to have my work in two issues of this fine journal of poetry and tattoos.

100 Hacks to Help You Become A Better Writer

100 Hacks to Help You Become A Better Writer

Real writing, no matter its form or intended audience, honestly reflects the passions and ideologies of the author. Any nuggets of advice that flit about on the internet, in books and newspapers and magazines, through conferences and classrooms only help tighten technicalities. Students or aspiring professionals wanting to galvanize their writing abilities should certainly explore the follow hacks in order to gain a much broader knowledge of the craft’s mechanical elements. They cannot teach creativity or lessen its subjectivity, however.


1. Prologues are not always necessary.

As the stellar Daily Writing Tips points out, prologues work for some stories while failing on others. Use their tips on figuring out when springing for one may be entirely unnecessary.

2. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far.

Though science fiction and fantasy require more suspension of disbelief than others, all writers need to understand its limitations in all genres.

3. Keep character sheets.

Short and longer fiction alike can benefit from keeping a detailed character sheet on hand in order to maintain consistency.

Anna sent along these tips from her blog. Read the rest of the list here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2009 Bram Stoker Award Winners

2009 Bram Stoker Award Winners

Novel:AUDREY'S DOOR by Sarah Langan This is a personal favorite of mine. Langan is a remarkable writer!
irst Novel:DAMNABLE by Hank Schwaeble
Long Fiction:THE LUCID DREAMING by Lisa Morton
Short Fiction:“In the Porches of My Ears” by Norman Prentiss
Anthology:HE IS LEGEND edited by Christopher Conlon
Fiction Collection:A TASTE OF TENDERLOIN by Gene O’Neill
Nonfiction:WRITERS WORKSHOP OF HORROR by Michael Knost
Poetry Collection:CHIMERIC MACHINES by Lucy A. Snyder
Lifetime Achievement Award:Brian Lumley, William F. Nolan
The Silver Hammer Award:Kathryn Ptacek
Richard Laymon President's Award:Vince A. Liaguno

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Dysfunction in Abundance

By Michael Mewshaw
288 pp. Other Press $14.95
Reviewed by Jayne Pupek
All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (Leo Tolstoy)
Tolstoy’s words are from his renowned classic, Anna Karenina, but they certainly fit the dysfunctional family that is at the center of Michael Mewshaw’s eleventh novel,Lying with the Dead.
In Lying with the Dead, a manipulative and dying matriarch gathers her three adult children at their Maryland childhood home so she may confess her sins. The narrative rotates among the three voices of the siblings. Maury, the firstborn, who currently lives in California, is afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome and reveals that he spent twelve years in a maximum-security prison for murdering his father with a butcher knife while trying to protect his mother. Candy, who had polio as a child, is the dutiful daughter/martyr who stayed behind to take care of her gravely ill mother, forfeiting her own happiness and the man she loves.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New poems at Press1

I am thrilled to have six poems included in the new issue of Press1. These six poems were written in response to the amazing doll photographs provided by Didi Wood (The photo above is titled Back to Work, Didi Wood). It's a delight to be in the company of other poets I admire.

 I'm looking forward to reading the entire issue tonight while the dolls whisper comments in my ear.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

zombie 2.0

Cordite's Zombie 2.0 is now online! I am delighted to have three poems included in this issue and to be in the company of such other fine poets!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

IsReads--An Awesome Idea

IsReads is an "outdoor journal" founded by Publishing Genius in 2006. In 2008, Keyhole Press came on board to co-edit. Kathryn Regina is the managing editor.

The concept of the outdoor journal is to put short poems in unusual places, like on abandoned buildings and in shopping carts.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Reality, not sympathy

By Jayne Pupek
102 pp. Mayapple Press $15.95
Reviewed by Doris E. Pavlichek
There is more hope in a cup of coffee
than a stack of holy books...
At forty-three, I’m too old to wait on a redeemer.
Sometimes you must intercede on your own behalf.

— From the title poem
Jayne Pupek’s first full-length book of poetry examines the life of women from every angle, delving into many aspects—abortion, infidelity, mastectomy, doubt, death—from which a less seasoned or courageous writer might shy away. Pupek, having published two chapbooks and a novel and having had her poems included in anthologies and nominated for The Pushcart Prize, has the fortitude and staying power of her own favorite poet, Sylvia Plath. Read the rest of the review.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Few Acceptances

The Red Room: Writings from Press 1 is scheduled for release any day now! I am thrilled to be included in this anthology,  edited by Arlene Ang, Valerie Fox and Jordan Schilling. Cordite Poetry Review has accepted three poems for their upcoming issue: "Way of the Zombie," "Missing Girl, 1986"and "Zombie Sex." ChiZine has accepted my poem, "Blue Velvet," inspired by the David Lynch film of the same title.   "A Kind of Suffocation" will appear in Thursday's issue of Dark Sky Magazine. I am thrilled to have my work appear in these exceptional journals and magazines!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bright Star

Based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats' untimely death at age 25.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Reader's Advice to Writers

Laura Miller wrote an interesting article about her advice (as a reader) to novelists. The article appears in I don't necessarily agree with everything she said--  particularly the bit about humor-- but overall her points are valid and good ones to mull over. She also references  the recent lists of suggestions from authors that appears in The Guardian. I particularly enjoyed these lists by other writers.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Superior Achievement in a Novel
  •  AUDREY'S DOOR by Sarah Langan (Harper)
  •  PATIENT ZERO by Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin's Griffin)
  •  QUARANTINED by Joe McKinney (Lachesis Publishing)
  •  CURSED by Jeremy Shipp (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
  •  BREATHERS by S. G. Browne (Broadway Books)
  •  SOLOMON'S GRAVE by Daniel G. Keohane (Dragon Moon Press)
  •  DAMNABLE by Hank Schwaeble (Jove)
  •  THE LITTLE SLEEP by Paul Tremblay (Henry Holt)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
  •  THE HUNGER OF EMPTY VESSELS by Scott Edelman (Bad Moon Books)
  •  THE LUCID DREAMING by Lisa Morton (Bad Moon Books)
  •  DOC GOOD'S TRAVELING SHOW by Gene O'Neill (Bad Moon Books)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
  •  IN THE PORCHES OF MY EARS by Norman Prentiss (PS Publishing)
  •  THE NIGHT NURSE by Harry Shannon (Horror Drive-in)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
  •  HE IS LEGEND: AN ANTHOLOGY CELEBRATING RICHARD MATHESON edited by Christopher Conlon (Gauntlet Press)
  •  LOVECRAFT UNBOUND edited by Ellen Datlow (Dark Horse Books)
  •  POE edited by Ellen Datlow (Solaris)
  •  MIDNIGHT WALK edited by Lisa Morton (Dark House)

Superior Achievement in a Collection
  •  MARTYRS AND MONSTERS by Robert Dunbar (DarkHart Press)
  •  GOT TO KILL THEM ALL AND OTHER STORIES by Dennis Etchison (Cemetery Dance)
  •  A TASTE OF TENDERLOIN by Gene O'Neill (Apex Book Company)
  •  IN THE CLOSET, UNDER THE BED by Lee Thomas (Dark Scribe Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-fiction
  •  WRITERS WORKSHOP OF HORROR by Michael Knost (Woodland Press)
  •  CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT by L. L. Soares and Michael Arruda (Fearzone)
  •  STEPHEN KING: THE NON-FICTION by Rocky Wood and Justin Brook (Cemetery Dance)

Superior Achievement in Poetry
  •  DOUBLE VISIONS by Bruce Boston (Dark Regions)
  •  NORTH LEFT OF EARTH by Bruce Boston (Sam's Dot)
  •  BARFODDER by Rain Graves (Cemetery Dance)
  •  CHIMERIC MACHINES by Lucy A. Snyder (Creative Guy Publishing)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm enjoying a day of Peruvian Lilies, Belgian chocolates, red wine...and zombie poems? Yep, that's right. What can I say, I'm complicated that way.

Lucille Clifton

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Lucille Clifton, a National Book Award-winning poet and Pulitzer finalist, has died. She was 73. To watch a reading of her work on video, visit here.

cutting greens  
 by Lucille Clifton 

curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black.
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and i taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Teachers have always played an important role in my life. I had an unusual early education because of my disability. During the mid-60s, when I was a child, children with disabilities were only beginning to be included in mainstream classes, at least in the rural areas of  the South where I grew up. For the first six years of my formal education, I had a homebound instructor, Dora Shiflett. She, more than anyone, inspired my love of books. She also assisted in the writing of my first poem. Although she is no longer living, I think she would be proud to know that I had become a novelist and poet.  She is the Dora to whom I dedicated Tomato Girl.

This article is a tribute to one wonderful teacher. She sounds a lot like Dora...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Writing blogs and Succour Day

I found a couple of lists on the blog, Practicing Writing, that contain a number of good resources for writers. Check them out!

Top 100 Creative Writing Blogs

Top 100 Blogs to Improve Your Writing in 2010

And...Don't forget that this is Succour Day! The terms are:

Condition 1: All submissions should be written on Saturday February 6th, 2010.
Condition 2: What you write should not be an attempt to execute an idea – for a story, for a poem, etc – that has previously occurred to you. Rather, write whatever happens to come into your head at that particular time.

More info here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Poems Up at Frigg

I'm thrilled to have six poems appearing in the recent Law and Order issue of FRIGG magazine. Check out the amazing poems by Arlene Ang and Dave Clapper's short story, "The Rapture."