Book Review – Fearworms: Selected Poems

Posted on by Adam Bunch


Book ReviewFearworms: Selected Poems
Written and Illustrated by: Robert Payne Cabeen
Cover Painting by: Bill Sienkiewicz

Adam Bunch


Poetry: Noun

  • the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts


Fearworms: Plural Noun

  1. The literary equivalent of musical earworms.
  2. Lines or stanzas of a horror poem that repeat continuously in a person’s mind.
  3. Imaginative compositions in verse that leave the reader with a lingering feeling of dread



In trying to review a book containing selected works from writer Robert Payne Cabeen I found myself having a very difficult time deciding where and how to start off. Do I discuss the background of the author and his screenwriting credits that include Heavy Metal 2000 & A Monkeys Tale? Or how about his time as Creative Director of Streamline Pictures and how he helped get the classic Akira and many others in the world of anime’ brought to American audiences. No, while those tidbits might be nice for an interview piece, they are of small consequence here as Fearworms, at its demented and dark heart is truly a book about having and sharing a Voice.

The introduction pages, READ THEM. I cannot stress that part to you enough. Mr. Cabeen, in his knowledge of what he had created and has displayed here tells you to take one act that many may not when reading a book regardless of the type. “Make this book interactive” He wisely encourages…. “Set them free from the prison of the pages. Give them life in the world of the senses.” He could not be more correct. When you read the poems herein aloud, you will find a pace and voice that becomes your own, and the stories will jump to life so much more. Though you might want to be prepared to sleep with the lights on…..


As I read through the 12 different poems in this collection there are no two that are alike. Yet as the words come to life off of the pages, they live in a world that truly is shared and is altogether entertaining and creepy as hell. Clowns, Zombies, Androids, a Barbeque and even the Krampus itself help to flesh out this tome of devilish horrors all told in an easy to digest poetic meter.   While the meter used also stays fairly constant throughout, it also in no way feels constrictive or repetitive due to the quality of the stories that are being given to us to explore and to…..dissect.

Fearworms is truly a rare find in a world where focus groups and marketing executives tell the masses what to feed their eyes and ears. It delivers the stories to you in a voice that you don’t see very often, and still encourages you to make it your own. It is a book that would make Rod Sterling proud, sit up and take notice, and then check under the bed for monsters before he crawled into bed.

If you can find your way out to one of the public readings occurring for Fearworms: Selected Poems, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Though if you cannot, then still give it a read aloud, it is an amazing way to experience the book. And Mr. Cabeen, when you are ready for an audio version to be recorded, I’ll gladly lend my voice to Myseterioso. You can find me lodged at The Whitestone Grave Hotel.


Book Review – Fearworms: Selected Poems

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