Book review: Sheet Music To My Acoustic Nightmare – Stephanie M. Wytovich



With her latest collection of poetry, Stephanie M. Wytovich bares all, and in doing so welcomes us into her life, giving us a glimpse of her past experiences and interactions. Sheet Music To My Acoustic Nightmare is a dark reading experience. The poems are filled with anger, regret, loss, sex, drink, drugs and everything in-between. The collection reads as if you are living in some sort of Thelma & Louise style road movie. It is a collection one imagines was written as a sort of exorcism, something Stephanie needed to get out there so that she can finally move on, or perhaps I’m reading too much into it?

One thing I enjoy about Stephanie’s work is the accessibility of the poems. Whilst the subject matter is often nightmarish, the style is certainly not. This collection is yet another example of how even a scattershot poetry reader like myself can become swept away in these verses with such ease. I don’t think I have ever come across such honesty in a poetry collection and it is sure to elicit some sort of emotional response from the reader. I am pretty sure that most mature readers will be able to identify in some way with the poems inside of this book. We have all loved, been in love, been hurt by love and maybe at times, we have been desperate to find love. Sometimes all we want is somebody to listen. All of these feelings and yearnings are covered in-depth within Sheet Music To My Acoustic Nightmare.

The poems vary in length. Some have a narrative vibe to them and some come across almost like diary entries. There are short, sharp verses that bite and leave a mark, yet some are longer, more thoughtful, leaving you with a heavy heart. This works very well as the subject matter is often similar, the styling is not.

Sheet Music To My Acoustic Nightmare isn’t easy reading. There is much in the way of darkness and little in the way of light. If you’re okay with this then pick up a copy without hesitation.

4/5 deep scars from the Grim Reader.

Pick up a copy from here.

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Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare, Synopsis

  • File Size:294 KB
  • Print Length:166 pages
  • Publisher:Raw Dog Screaming Press (December 15, 2017)
  • Publication Date:December 15, 2017

Roll the windows down, wipe the blood off your cheek, and turn the music up. Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare by Stephanie M. Wytovich is a collection spattered with dirt and blood, sage and corpses. The poems inside are confessionals and dirges, their stories the careful banter of ghosts and sinners over tequila at the bar.

These pages hold the lyrics to the beautiful grotesque that Wytovich is known for, but here she writes with a raw honesty that we haven’t seen from her before. This new direction takes readers to hospital rooms and deathbeds, shows the mask that was skinned off her face time and time again. There’s a brutality to her lines that cut with the same knife she fantasized about, her blood and tears mixed in with stanzas as she talks about suicide and abuse, heartbreak and falling in love.

Written during a time when the road was her home, these poems were sung under the stars and screamed in the woods, carved into trees. They are broken bottles and cigarette butts, stale coffee and smeared lipstick, each its own warning, a tale of caution.

Listen to them carefully.

They very well might save your life.



Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.

Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, and An Exorcism of Angels. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.

Follow Wytovich at and on twitter @SWytovich.



Praise for Stephanie Wytovich

“Wytovich binds wrists with her muse using a chunky chain, and together they spin in circles, hoisting poetic knifes in a fight to the death. You might think you know what you’re getting into with this collection of haunted road trips, erotic regrets and dangerous, devious desires, especially if you’ve read Wyto’s other books of poetry. But this Acoustic Nightmare feels far more personal and profound than her earlier dark works, and you can tell she’s riffing off the influences of her favorite writers — from Charles Bukowski to Sylvia Plath, Jack Keroac to Anne Sexton to Edgar Allan Poe — all of them also tied up tight, immersed in the muse she does battle with in this book.” — Michael Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award-winning poet, and author of Grave Markings

“Wytovich gives the reader an enticing mix of poems written as personal confessionals – such as a prostitute, murderess, or broken woman. You’ll find imagined scenarios like ‘Married to My Idea of Death’ with lines “So I drank myself to sleep to a world where my nightmares were kinder than the life I was given …”  A particular favorite is her poignant poem about visiting her dying grandmother, ‘Hanging Imaginary Drapes in Jefferson Hospital.’  Check it out!  -Marge Simon, co-author of Satan’s Sweethearts

“Stephanie M. Wytovich’s latest poetry collection is a mixed tape of atonement played along a roadway of righteous sin, where the crimson line of the horizon is either the dawning of redemption or the pyre of bridges set aflame. One cannot learn to write with such brutal honesty as Stephanie M. Wytovich, it must be earned. And the lessons hurt. This is the raw voice of angst and alienation from one of the most esteemed authors of dark poetry, operating at her peak of ability. Strap in and hold on. It’s a harrowing ride.” –Brian Kirk, Bram Stoker nominated author of We Are Monsters

“A heart-juddering ride along serpentine nightmares paved with intimate evocations of self-torment, poisoned kisses, and lying tongues. Wytovich writes with brutal honesty and fervour.” – Erik Hofstatter, author of Rare Breeds

“Like a candy apple wrapped in razor wire, Sheet Music will make you bleed with every bite, but you won’t be able to stop. Wytovich’s new collection is simply outstanding.”- Maria Alexander, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Snowed and Mr. Wicker

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