The Vampire's Own Alphabet

A is Anatomised, cut up and pickled
B is for bruises, which shouldn't be tickled
C is Cadaver, greyish and greenery
D is the Devil's Gorge, Satan's own scenery
E will Eliminate, terminate, End
F is the Fiend oft disguised as a friend
G is the Ghost, wraith-like and liminal
H is the Hangman who waits for the criminal
I is the Incubus, riding your nights
J is the Jugular, throbbing for bites
K is the Kite flown to harness the lightning
L is the Lamia, lovely but frightening
M is the Mistletoe, sacred for Druids
N's Nosferatu, who'll sup on your fluids
O is for Orgasm (refer back to I)
P is the Poltergeist, making things fly
Q is the dusky-robed Queen of the Night
R stands for Runes which you never pass, quite
S is the Succubus, sin in your dreaming
T is the Terror that wakes you up screaming
U's the Uncanny you hardly dare mention
V is the Vampire, of sanguine intention
W's Werewolf, all bristling and lupine
X stands for Xena, who'll lay you out supine
Y is the YETI, who's not just illusion
Z signals Zero, and draws our conclusion.



The Vampire's Own Alphabet was written to introduce a panel discussion on horror at the 2003 Durham Literature Festival, chaired by Gail-Nina Anderson. Other participants were Chaz Brenchley, Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark and Elle Ludkin.


In 2004 Gail-Nina Anderson was commissioned by Cornwell Internet to write a poem for the fifteenth Durham Literature Festival, relating to the themes of anniversaries, celebration and collaboration which shaped the 2004 Festival programme. The result was a sequence of three expanded sonnets (one line longer than the conventional sonnet, which makes them an entirely appropriate fifteen lines long) warning that there are dangers in looking back on anniversaries! Read Memory Problems on Cornwell Internet's web site.