Book Review: Beat Your Heart Out by Cristina Isabel

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30 Gruesome poems in a horror-filled collection.

Rating: 5/5

Format: Paperback

Quick Take

Cristina Isabel holds nothing back in Beat Your Heart Outa gory, revolutionary horror poetry collection.  I found myself out of breath as I tore through each poem; and to me, that is the mark of an excellent work of literary horror.

Tell Me More

I am a horror fanatic and horror poet myself, so I was thrilled when Cristina Isabel approached me to review Beat Your Heart Out – her collection of gruesome, horror poetry.  I love finding new, female horror authors, so of course, I had to snatch up this opportunity quicker than you can say “I volunteer as tribute”.

Beat Your Heart Out is a small poetry collection of 30 poems; however, don’t let the short length of this collection fool you.  It took me many months to get through the collection due to the gruesome and harrowing nature of Isabel’s words.  Splatterpunk is a subgenre of horror that is characterized by graphic wording that holds nothing back, and I would absolutely consider Isabel’s poetry to be under the splatterpunk subgenre.  As I read each poem, I felt like a knife was being twisted into my chest in the best possible way.  So many of the poems took my breath away and forced me to put the book down for weeks at a time to recover.  Isabel’s imagination runs wild with each poem, and she manages to tap into fears that the reader never even knew they had.

What I loved most about Beat Your Heart Out, however, was how every poem was so different.  Each poem held within its words a separate universe that brought in the reader’s imagination as a player.  Isabel gives the reader just enough information to let their imagination run wild and bring their darkest nightmares to life.  I have never read a more impactful work of horror or poetry, and I can’t sing the praises of Cristina Isabel’s writing enough.

My favorite poem from the collection is From Tears to Knives, which is a brutal poem about a woman suffering from heartbreak who essentially gets revenge for all of the pain that she has suffered.  Here is a short excerpt:

You can only push someone so far before they break. 

Before they decide to defend themselves with madness.

You can only hurt someone so much before pain becomes their ally. 

And God is no longer watching.

For every tear that has fallen, your blood will drip.

If you are a horror fan and looking for a work of literary horror that holds nothing back, then please, for the love of God go and pick up Beat Your Heart Out right now!  But don’t expect to sleep soundly anytime soon.


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