The Quiet Ways I Destroy You


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Women are expected to suffer in silence. Throughout history, myriad weapons of oppression have been launched at their intelligence, sexuality, compassion, & strength. Still, they endure.

And in secret, the sisterhood grows.

While trauma transforms, love germinates, and hope expands their power, women everywhere are united by something deeper than blood, affection, or pain. Quiet as mycorrhizal fungi, immortal ink colonizes their roots, branching from the iconic characters of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, & Marmee March and connecting them to a diverse web of women with appetites only destruction can quell.

Paying homage to the 155th anniversary of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, 2x Bram Stoker Award Nominee Jessica McHugh’s The Quiet Ways I Destroy You examines Alcott’s timeless literary brood through 155 pieces of cosmic horror blackout poetry and celebrates the unapologetic & ever-evolving symbiosis of sisterhood, feminine rage, and the joyful vengeance that spreads in women’s whispers.

Advanced Praise for The Quiet Ways I Destroy You

McHugh’s poetry collection gives us labyrinths, and twisting tunnels stretched between letters/words over a multi-colored landscape of Little Women pages. The Law of Conservation was never more beautiful and extraordinary than in this master class of blackout poems. It was lovely to first follow the poet’s path on the original page, then read the new, soul-stirring poems on the next page. I was delighted by the many quiet ways…pages were destroyed…and reborn.

—Linda D. Addison, award-winning author, HWA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and SFPA Grand Master.

The Quiet Ways I Destroy You embraces clenched teeth, moon-filled secrets, and the unapologetic shrieks of women bending and breaking and rebuilding themselves again and again. These poems are a homage to the witch and a prayer to the monstrous feminine. Drop into their well of sisterhood and wildness and let the haunting begin.

—Stephanie M. Wytovich, Bram Stoker award-winning author of Brothel

Little bites, long chews, The Quiet Ways I Destroy You leaves you breathless, inspired, and incited. Little Women revises the concept of feminism, gender constructs, and patriarchal expectations. McHugh demolishes them.

—Lindy Ryan, Bram Stoker Awards® nominated editor and author of Bless Your Heart

Jessica McHugh’s The Quiet Ways I Destroy You is a devastating collection of micro-poems beautifully embroidered from the words of Louisa May Alcott, each poem telling of the quiet stifling of a woman’s restless spirit, each a tiny stab of truth that is both visually and emotionally revelatory. I dare you to choose a favourite! Enchanting readers with her dark wisdom and poetic fire, the art of McHugh’s voice is a revolution.

—Lee Murray, five-time Bram Stoker Awards®-winning poet and author of Tortured Willows

A coming-of-age anthem for girls transcending the death in adolescence and discovering rebirth in worlds of divine flesh. McHugh ravenously unspools Alcott and winds her into a skein of carnivorous poetry. Every page means savoring the break of a sensible cage for freeing, loving madness. A cosmic experience.

—Hailey Piper, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Queen of Teeth

Jessica McHugh hits it out of the park again with her latest blackout poetry collection, The Quiet Ways I Destroy You. This is Little Women like you never imagined it before: haunting, sumptuous, and dripping with horrors. I deviously devoured every word.

—Gwendolyn Kiste, Lambda Literary and Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Reluctant Immortals and The Rust Maidens

With a spoonful of hemlock and honey, Jessica McHugh entices her readers to swallow the taste of destruction with the promise of freedom. Violent, feminine, and sexy, The Quiet Ways I Destroy You collection of blackout poetry dismantles weapons of oppression and heralds women as a cosmic force to be reckoned with.

—Grace R. Reynolds, author of The Lies We Weave and Lady of The House

This is no mere collection of poetry; it is an oracle. I wish each morning to turn by chance to a poem on whose secrets to meditate calmly before baring my teeth at the day.

The Quiet Ways I Destroy You illuminates the private world shared by author and reader, teasing out hidden ruminations in a dark and delightful dance between Alcott’s themes and McHugh’s deft imagination.

Passionate, powerful, and surprising—some of these poems will make your heart ache, some will inspire a sardonic laugh, some will warm you. All you will devour eagerly over and over again, lingering over the delightful taste of each teased-out word on the page.

McHugh is a sculptor, expertly wielding her chisel to reveal with eerie precision what can only be the forbidden innermost thoughts that simmer within those beloved sisters

—Melissa LaMartina aka Aurora Gorealis | Writer, Amanda the Adventurer | Host, Shocktail Hour

Jessica McHugh

Jessica McHugh is a novelist, poet, and internationally-produced playwright running amok in the fields of horror, sci-fi, young adult, and wherever else her peculiar mind leads. She’s had twenty-five books published in thirteen years, including her bizarro romp, *The Green Kangaroos*, her YA series, *The Darla Decker Diaries*, and her Bram Stoker Award® nominated blackout poetry collection, *A Complex Accident of Life*.

For more info about publications and blackout poetry commissions, please visit