'Creature Features' introduces readers to monsters and more

Bearded male standing outside holding abook

Noel Sloboda, associate professor of English at Penn State York, has written a new chapbook entitled "Creature Features," which introduces readers to monsters and more

Credit: Barbara Dennis

YORK, Pa. — Inspired by the classic television show, “Creature Double Features,” Noel Sloboda, associate professor of English at Penn State York, has written a new chapbook of poetry titled “Creature Features.” The chapbook is on pre-sale now through The Main Street Rag, an online bookstore.

Sloboda’s new book includes poems based on the syndicated television show featuring monster movies.

“I watched this show devoutly growing up north of Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1970s and 1980s,” said Sloboda. “Many of my latest poems feature monsters, some from popular culture, some from literature. Oftentimes, I am drawn to the way monsters show us ourselves. So that’s another resonance for the title,“Creature Features.”

Several of the poems in “Creature Features” have been nominated for Rhysling Awards by the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

The chapbook has received numerous accolades, including: 

  • John C. Mannone, poetry editor for “Abyss & Apex,” said, “Creature Features” is full of Hollywood ghosts, mummies, and monsters, but presented with an unusual twist and POV — many are written as persona poems ala monstro. Its very creative titles set an expectation of unusualness that’s delivered. Though conversational, the poems are lifted into poetry with effective line breaks, internal rhymes, and other literary devices. Often humorous, surreal, weird, clever, edgy, and insightful, the poems, at some level, are metaphors for humanity.”
  • Juan J. Morales, author of “The Handyman’s Guide to End Times,” said, “in 'Creature Features,' Noel Sloboda invites us to meet the real Blob, Wolfman, Rat Queen, Mummy, and other creatures in moments beyond fangs and claws. When we are not laughing, we are delving into places where nightmares are manufactured. We are celebrating the ghosts and ghouls as they navigate dating, art therapy, tattoo removal, and aging, as brilliantly shared challenges in the changing world. These poems carry a delightfully wicked humor!” 

Sloboda teaches a variety of courses including creative writing and some specialty courses on fantasy and science fiction. He admits that teaching some of these courses has fueled his preoccupation with monsters. He has been teaching at the York campus for two decades.

He has previously published one scholarly monograph, two full-length poetry collections, and six other chapbooks of creative writing.

Originally from New England, Sloboda earned his doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. His dissertation about Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein became a book. He also holds a bachelor of arts degree in English and philosophy from Connecticut College.

He was the recipient of the 2005 James H. Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching at Penn State York and the 2006 recipient of the campus’ advising award in recognition of outstanding advising to students. He also was the first recipient of the Faculty Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishment Award in 2015, which recognizes outstanding achievement in research and/or creative accomplishment.

He is the driving force behind the campus’ online student magazine, “Any Other Word,” and serves as its adviser. The 10th edition is available here. He encourages students to pursue their creativity though writing.

Outside of the campus, Sloboda sat on the board of directors of the Gamut Theatre Group in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for a decade, while serving as dramaturg for its nationally recognized Shakespeare company.