About the Poems
by Jonah Winter
These works are taken from a book-length series entitled BESTIARY (A Book of Beasts for the New Dark Ages). The bestiary form originated in Antiquity as a proto-scientific chronicle of beasts, some of which we might now call "mythological" (the Ancients made no such distinction). This genre flowered in The Dark Ages, during which the scientific was overtaken by the moralistic and specifically Christian subtext. In the bestiary from which these excerpts appear, some of the beasts are ancient, but many of them are modern developments. By no means comprehensive, this compendium nonetheless provides a fair selection of creatures, encompassing a range that includes the truly evil beings of our era as well as lesser demons such as "The North American Art Colony Leech" and "The Yellow-Bellied Soul-Drainer," while of course acknowledging the more benign and singular members of our global community, such as "The Sally-Bear" and "Burt Lancaster's Big Head." In this our living universe, we are confronted on a daily basis with the forces of Good and Evil. It is our moral duty to judge and to condemn (or, in certain instances, to praise). Amen.