The Rat King

A heady mix of horror both light- and heavy-hearted with intimate perspectives on homelessness, racism, mental health, and death, each poem in this anthology will confront you with the things society prefers to ignore. Always grounded in speculative fiction, the works herein nonetheless remark upon our real world with a comfortable and revealing familiarity.

“Sumiko Saulson’s latest poetry collection, The Rat King ( mixes formalist, New Weird verse with their Afrosurrealist roots and a lyrical but often brutal focus on social commentary. You can see their power of words in poems such as Regarding Nina Simone’s Bad Reputation, reflecting on their mother’s struggles with mental disabilities and being a BIPOC woman. With poems like The Rat King, they explore the literal horror of homelessness and death. Other excellent and moving poems include A Travesty in Timbuktu, I Feel Some Kind of Way, I Am Not Your Trope and Black and Queer aren’t Trends which are strong poetical manifestos focusing on their self-described being “of Black, and Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, queer, and disabled.” There is beauty, both rough and elegant, and brutality in the narratives of their verse. Sumiko Saulson is emerging as a strong voice in the field of dark poetry and The Rat King is a solid addition to their growing body of work. 

David E. Cowen, Bram Stoker Award Nominated Author of Bleeding Saffron and other collections 

The Rat King is a flowing lyrical gem. It opens up the senses in ways you may not have experienced before. The emotions run high throughout this entire collection and shake your soul onto an entirely new level. The poetry here was meant to be felt and not just read. Absolutely loved this.

—Jeff Oliver, Author of ‘Venomous Words’ Volume One New World Monsters

“Packed with powerful social commentary, pain, and love, Sumiko Saulson highlights the darkness found in every corner of our everyday world with haunting prose and metaphor.”

— Ronald J. Murray, Elgin Award-nominated author of Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower

“In The Rat King, Sumiko Saulson sings the song of the sufferer who has transcended deep hurts through a vibrant estimation of their own beautiful humanity. The poems in the Rat King explore the disfunction, hope, and grace of our collective dark heart and leaves you feeling one lingering emotion at the end: Compassion.”

—Jamal Hodge, Award-winning filmmaker and 2x Rhysling nominated poet

“Sumiko’s The Rat King has me in feelings I didn’t realize I had. I loved every bit of it.”

– Steven Van Patten author of the critically acclaimed Brookwater’s Curse trilogy

“Saulson isn’t out to just entertain. Their rhymes cut deep and the stories held within them wound. They’re here to worm their way into your skull and tear their way back out through your entrails. And you’ll have a damn fun time while they do it.” -Anton Cancre, This Story Doesn’t End the Way We Want All The Time

“With a title as cunning as its author, The Rat King promises a series of tangled tales with extra bite.” – Moaner T. Lawrence, author of The Great American Nightmare

Within Me, Without Me

Winner of the 2021 Ladies in Horror Fiction Readers Choice Award

Dark poetry and prose written at the intersection of Blackness, Queerness, and Neurodivergence, where magic is mistaken for madness, organic hosts willingly bind themselves with artificial intelligence, and instruments designed for music are enchanted for revenge. Ghost ships embark on twisted, versical affairs with krakens. Phantom husbands believe “til death do us part” must be mutual. Keenly aware that we are worlds within ourselves as well as fractal instances of the world as a whole, these words ~ written predominantly during the first two years of the global pandemic ~ unite revolution, multiplicity.and a soul-searing sense of melancholia.

Within me / Without me is a revelatory work, an intimate yet universal discourse on the concepts of self and society. Saulson’s creation will possess you: it will inhabit your skin, surge through your veins, and invade your synapses, each story and poem foreshadowing the ‘pendulum switch’ of acceptance and celebration that our new world demands. With echoes of Octavia Butler, Within me/ Without me sings with verve and vibrancy. A ground-breaking collection.” —Lee Murray, double Bram Stoker Award®-winner and author of Grotesque: Monster Stories.

Within me/Without me is a collection of refreshing and diverse storylines in poetry and prose. They speak of how to be human in a horrific world, where complicated emotions from divergent cultures and society norms are like oil and water. Saulson’s seduction pulls you through a vice-grip of social structures in marginalized conflict, slipping through scarred, but strong, unique, and imperfectly loveable. It satisfies the deep, dark thirst for the personal nature of poems and storytelling.” —Rain Graves, two-time Bram Stoker Award®-winning poet and author of Barfodder

Dreamworlds: Beyond Somnalia

After a breakups and a series of bad starts, author Sumiko Saulson is trying to heal. So is Flynn Keahi, one of her fictional characters. Her life changes completely when Flynn abandons the paranormal romance she’s cast him in, and demands that they both go to group therapy to fix their dysfunctional relationships. Once the two become intimately involved, Sumiko raises concerns their relationship it isn’t healthy. Flynn grows increasingly touchy about her assertion that he isn’t real. This is complicated further when Sumiko is flooded with requests from other imaginary personalities demanding to join in the conversation.

The Complete Mauskaveli

Mauskaveli is a comic about the adventures of a group of polyamorous, queer, and kinky anthropomorphic mice, centering around the title character Mauskaveli, her partners Count Slackula, Petricio, and Skunkmaus, her child, a necromancer named Death Angel, and their pet cat Dooky. Mauskaveli is a comic book about a group of kinky, queer, politically active polyamorous anthropomorphic mice. Their leader, Mistress Mauskaveli, escaped a biotech lab along with her boyfriends, Petricio and Rogue. All three mice were experimented on – Mauskaveli developed superior intelligence, Rogue regenerative powers, and Petricio, charisma. After they escape their extended polycule grew to include Petricio’s boyfriend Joe Squeaks and Mauskaveli’s girlfriend Skunkmaus. They have a pet catzbatz named Dooky, spontaneously generated from poop. Other characters include Joe Squeak’s sister Lovey Squeaks, her girlfriend Pinky La Rue and daughter Pip Squeaks – Death Angel’s girlfriend Mauztisha, Mauskaveli’s uncle Aviator Maus – a cosplayer named Tumimaus – Skunkmaus’ identical twin Skankmaus – Pretty Whiskers, Clawdia, and more!

Carolyn Saulson: An Iconoclast

A zine honoring Carolyn Saulson, a Bay Area African American and Disability Rights community activist who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer affecting African Americans at a rate twice that of the general population, on August 10, 2009. The zine features artwork, writing, collaging and photography by Carolyn, her daughter, award-winning horror author Sumiko Saulson, her granddaughter, beat poet Franchesca Saulson, and fellow disabled artists Kat Fury, Serena Toxicat, and Beth Johnson. It has facts and highlights about the rare blood cancer, about her fight against it, her life, her art, and her work with the communities she serves. Funded by the Ara Jo Memorial Fund through the East Bay Zine Festival in 2018.

Dooky MiniComix

The four initial comics in the Dooky series are available for 25 cents each. Pick up all four via mail for $1.50 ($1 plus $50 for postage). Send an email to to inquire. Other mini-zines are available from the Mauskaveli series.  Dooky Zines and other zines by Sumiko Saulson for sale at the The Long Haul Infoshop, 3124 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

Sample Text:

(from Origins of Dooky)

Dooky getting pretty famous
Dooky flew from a kitty’s anus.