Tag Archives: Dennis Villelmi

The Piker Press features my eulogy for Dennis Williamson.

The Piker Press published my essay today about the passing of my friend and colleague, Dennis Williamson (known to many of his readers by his nom de plume, Dennis Villelmi).  You can find it here.

I’m especially grateful to Managing Editor Sand Pilarski for allowing me to share this at The Piker Press.  It was an especially important piece to me, and I know that Dennis would have been pleased.

Requiescat in Pace, Dennis Williamson.

I lost my best friend in the world of writing, Dennis Williamson. You might have known him as Dennis Villelmi, the pen name that he usually favored. And if you did know him, you know how haunting and intricate his work was. Poets are often a despondent lot. I don’t think many of my peers would disagree with that statement. And I don’t think that Dennis would object to me saying that his writing projected a unique darkness.

Also unique was his poetic voice. It was baroque and arcane both. Dennis studied philosophy as a young man at Old Dominion University in Virginia, but that was only the starting point for a life of independent classical study. He grew to learn so much about antiquity that he could pass for a university professor. He certainly loved all things Roman. In my review of his superb 2014 book of poetry, “Fretensis: In the Image of a Blind God,” I wrote that he employed an “encyclopedic knowledge of ancient history, myth and religion.”

A poem by Dennis could begin along a country road as familiar as one just beyond your yard at twilight. And you could become so mesmerized by the scenery that he’d painted that you wouldn’t notice the road changing beneath you, until the moment you looked down to realize you’d arrived along a midnight Appian Way — or some darker thoroughfare. Dennis was called a “horror poet,” a term that never sat well with me, as I thought it understated the depth of his work. He wrote of unpredictable highways and infernal termini. Never were his visions for the timid.

But the man stood in contrast with his art. Dennis was a good and kind and unwavering friend, with whom it was easy to laugh and pass the time. We’d become colleagues about a decade ago, when we started submitting work to publishers at about the same time, and we’d supported each other since as fellow scribblers.  We later became co-editors of a dystopian literature journal with a dear and mutual friend in Britain.  We used to joke that we were each the other’s “wingman” — referencing the cheesy 1980’s fighter pilot movie at which everyone in our generation looks back and laughs.

We spoke to each other as men only can when they trust each other entirely – about women, ambition, screwball acquaintances, weird readers, the ghosts of our boyhoods. He put me at ease in a way that no one else could. I told him shortly before he died that he was “the only one who really gets me.”

He was righteous — in an age when the distinctions between right and wrong often take a back seat to tribalism and mudslinging. His sense of justice held a kind of … revulsion at the unjust. He abhorred a bully and despised a demagogue. You could hear it in his voice when the subject of those men arose in conversation. He didn’t suffer the unkind kindly.

“Why is he always so dark?” a reader once asked me about him. She was referring to the shadowy and Lovecraftian vistas of “Fretensis” and all of his writing, along with the Stoic philosophy and Gothic art that he found and shared online. Dennis explained it to me once. (He’d fielded the question himself often enough.) I will probably do a poor job of paraphrasing him here, but I will try.

His motifs were never meant to glorify death. Like the memento mori that he loved, they were only meant to remind us of our own mortality – and our existential need to live a life that was good and purposeful. He was preoccupied with hardship and longing — but only because of how we might become better people despite their effects on us.

Dennis was sharp. There was wisdom to be found along the complicated byways of his heart — and an enduring goodness.

There is a funny thing about darkness — a portion of it is always your own. It is not the dim of the distant wood, but the shadow that ever arranges unannounced, faithfully, at your feet. You needn’t fear it — it is yours. After all, you are the one who made it. And its silhouette will inform you of precisely where you are in the world. You can think about how you got there. You can think about where you would like to go next.

I don’t know where Dennis is now. I think of the other worlds, beyond this one, that he imagined in his art. I do not know if they exist, or if they are as lightless as he often envisioned them.

I hope not. When I someday leave this place for another, as he has now, I hope there is light enough where I arrive.

I hope it will not be too dark for me to find my friend again.


Check out “Everlasting Pieces,” by Dennis Villelmi

There’s a damn terrific poem over at Anti-Heroin Chic by my friend and colleague Dennis Villelmi — take a look at “Everlasting Pieces.”

One of the things that consistently appeals to me about Dennis’ work is his frequent use of dark road-trip-through-America settings — like Jack Kerouac crossed with a troubled, looking-glass Norman Rockwell.  When I finally get a chance someday to drive my own cross-country odyssey, I am going to bring his poems along with me.


Now’s the time to order your copy of Buk 100: My Old Man, A Birthday Greeting.  Click right here for Newington Blue Press’ limited edition chapbook.  Only 100 copies will be printed in this initial run, which celebrates what would have been Charles Bukowski’s 100th birthday.

When you read it, be sure take a gander at two poems of mine: “First Smoke” and “Guerrilla Poet.”  (The latter piece is an homage to my good friend and colleague in the writing world, poet Dennis Villelmi.)

I hope you guys are looking forward to a great weekend!  No matter what you’ve got planned, remember Buk’s advice — “what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”



By Commonurbock23 – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4030361

Hey horror fans, check out this interview with Brialynn Massie!

Dennis Villelmi at The Bees Are Dead interviewed actress Brialynn Massie, who you may recognize from her roles in films like last year’s “Serena Waits” and “Lilith.”   It’s a terrific interview, and you can find it at the link below:

Interview with Brialynn Massie




Eric Robert Nolan nominated for the Sundress Publications 2018 Best of the Net Anthology

I am honored today to share some wonderful news — my colleagues over at The Bees Are Dead have graciously nominated a short story of mine for the Sundress Publications 2018 Best of the Net Anthology.

The title of the story is “At the End of the World, My Daughter Wept Metal,” and it was published last August over at the B.A.D. website.  (You can find it right here.)  It is an apocalyptic sci-fi horror tale in which nanotechnology is used for an astonishing medical breakthrough  — but then goes horribly, catastrophically wrong.

I would like to thank B.A.D. Editors Philippe Atherton-Blenkiron and Dennis Villelmi for the nomination and their invaluable support for my work.  I am truly grateful.




Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine interviews Dennis Villelmi

There’s a terrific interview over at Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine with my good friend and colleague, Dennis Villelmi.  Dennis speaks at length about his career as a writer, from his early inspiration by the works of Clive Barker to his current work on The Bees Are Dead.

Dennis has always been a creator to watch, and he remains one of my favorite writers.  I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of the processes behind his unique and baroquely dark poetry.

Head on over and take a look.





Selections from Dennis Villelmi’s “Fretensis,” read by Eric Robert Nolan

If you didn’t catch these recordings last week over at The Bees Are Dead, I was honored to read from Dennis Villelmi’s superb book of cosmic horror poetry, “Fretensis: In the Image of a Blind God” (2014).  The Bees Are Dead has graciously allowed me to release them here again at the blog.

Thanks again, Dennis, for allowing me to share your Gothic visions this way.