Joe Koch

Joe Koch writes literary horror and surrealist trash. Joe is a Shirley Jackson Award finalist and the author of The Wingspan of Severed Hands, The Couvade, and Convulsive. They’ve had over eighty short stories published in books and journals like Vastarien, Southwest Review, PseudoPod, Children of the New Flesh, and The Queer Book of Saints. He’s also the co-editor of the art horror anthology Stories of the Eye from Weirdpunk Books. Formerly published as Joanna Koch in some venues. He/they. Follow here for updates and find Joe on Twitter@horrorsong


The Wingspan of Severed Hands

Time is the winning predator, and every moment spirals deeper into the heart of the beast.

“I’m awestruck by Joanna Koch’s nonstop spellbinding, almost paralyzingly inventive and yet propulsive, ultra-focused prose. The Wingspan of Severed Hands is a truly amazing find.” — DENNIS COOPER (THE MARBLED SWARM, THE SLUTS)

“Koch’s latest novella is what might have happened if Robert W. Chambers had been a surrealist with a penchant for body horror. A strange trip to Carcosa offered in thickly evocative language, The Wingspan of Severed Hands is a highly original hallucination.” — BRIAN EVENSON (SONG FOR THE UNRAVELING OF THE WORLD, A COLLAPSE OF HORSES)

“Joanna Koch is a stunning and talented writer, and their new book, The Wingspan of Severed Hands, is a horror story that opens new vistas in the genre.” — JACK ZIPES (LITERATURE AND LITERARY THEORY: FAIRY TALES AND THE ART OF SUBVERSION)

Read an excerpt of The Wingspan of Severed Hands at Fright Girl Summer-The Wingspan of Severed Hands

Buy The Wingspan of Severed Hands paperback from Weirdpunk Books or outside the U.S. from Amazon

Buy The Wingspan of Severed Hands e-book from Godless


New museums birth atrocity in every flex

“Joe Koch is a phenomenal talent who writes with poetic fury. Heart-rending and fearsome, Convulsive joins a handful of collections that show off the range and importance of contemporary horror.” — LAIRD BARRON (SWIFT TO CHASE)

“The stories of Convulsive dazzle and stun the reader with brutal beauty and surreal intensity. This collection’s deftly subversive themes and stylistic complexity dare you to witness its unique and transgressive radiance.” — TIFFANY MORRIS (HAVOC IN SILENCE)

Convulsive is packed with stories that are as bloody as they are poetic. This is at once a celebration of horror, an exploration of humanity, and an explosion of beautiful language. Koch will sear their name inside your heart.” GABINO IGLESIAS —(COYOTE SONGS)

The Couvade

2019 Shirley Jackson Award finalist for best novelette

“It’s a love story; it’s horror. It’s about abuse and legacy. We’re drawn into the headspace of the past and a morphing reality that feels like a dream both horrifying and beautiful. My head was swimming in emotion by the end. I wish I could pick apart every detail, but the more said, the more spoiled in such a short tale. Follow the strange men to the basement yourself and see what Joanna Koch has created.” — HAILEY PIPER (THE WORM AND HIS KINGS, BENNY ROSE:THE CANNIBAL KING)
“The ending is phenomenal, brutal and devastating. I loved how the folklore reared its fanged head and then was delivered succinctly and efficiently – like the cold killers portrayed within…this is easily one of my personal favourites.” — STEVE STRED (THE WINDOW IN THE GROUND, RITUAL, OF WITCHES)
“Moments of prose that are transcendently beautiful and navigating darkness in a way that left me with a sense of hope and healing.” — MICHAEL TICHY (BEHIND EVERY TREE, BENEATH EVERY ROCK)

Print Anthologies and Journals

Paradisum Voluptatis in the anthology “Honey and Sulphur” from CarrionBlue555. Reprinted in “Year’s Best Hardcore Horror 5: Going Global” – An ekphrasis after Hieronymus Bosch, a hallucinatory triptych, a simultaneous stage: the disease of life demands the stars.

The Revenge of Madeline Usher in the Bram Stoker nominated anthology “Not All Monsters” from Rooster Republic Press – A Gothic, incestuous tale from the pale lips of Madeline herself. “Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door!”

The Anatomical Christ in the Splatterpunk Award nominated anthology “The Big Book of Blasphemy” from Necro Press – A striptease dance with divinity doused in body horror.

Five Visitations in “Campfire Macabre 2” from Cemetery Gates Media – Blending body horror and speculative thoughts about alien abduction memories through the sharply condensed life story of a murderous medium.

Schroedinger’s Head in “In Darkness Delight: Fear the Future” from Corpus Press – Visit a near future workplace that’s a tad Kafka, a tad Ligotti, all Koch.

Reverend Crow in “Liminal Spaces: An Anthology of Dark Speculative Fiction” from Cemetery Gates Media – What memories will you save for the afterlife?

Convulsive, Or Not At All in the anthology “In The Shadow Of The Horns: A Black Metal Horror Anthology” from Castaigne Publishing – Breton said beauty must be convulsive, or not at all.

I Married A Dead Man in “What One Wouldn’t Do: An Anthology On The Lengths One Might Go To” from Scott J. Moses – A love letter to Cornell Woolrich.

Every Lucky Penny is Another Drop of Blood in the anthology “In Darkness Delight: Masters of Midnight” from Corpus Press – Cinderella gets an extreme makeover, courtesy of the history of Detroit. There are no rats in the salt mine.

Offerings in the anthology “Doorbells at Dusk” from Corpus Press – Blaine’s wary about her new neighbors on Halloween, especially those odd children and their creepy caregiver. Audio version available on PseudoPod Episode 837

Aristotle’s Lantern in the anthology “Stitched Lips” from Dragons Roost Press – On silence, an experiment in found footage writing, using the snuff film to question our complicity.

The Object Of Your Desire Comes Closer in “Synth #1: An Anthology of Dark SF” – Did the old gods of earth follow humanity into the void or perish with the death of the planet?

The Bleeding Tree in “Dark Recesses Press Magazine, Vol. 6, Issue 14” – A story about kids, roadkill, and the strange places we look for love.

Blood Calumny in “Bodies Full of Burning” from Sliced Up Press – Maybe he’s born with it, maybe it’s hysteria: a wandering womb stops at nothing to avenge its host.

The Love That Whirls in “The Queer Book of Saints” – Imagining the early lost film by Kenneth Anger and inquiring into the strange spiral-shaped muscles that form the human heart.

How To Fillet Angels in “Isolation Is Safety” from Filthy Loot – Are you prepared to lose everything for the sake of art?

Peaveman’s Lament in the anthology “ProleSCARYet: Tales of Horror and Class Warfare” from Rad Flesh Press – The unbearable mundane cracks open in the midst of a typical work day.

Rust Belt Requiescat in the anthology “Paranormal Contact: A Quiet Horror Confessional” from Cemetery Gates Media – a sulfurous dive into alchemy and French history in the bowels of Detroit.

Mirror Grimoire in the anthology “Villains” from Iron Faerie Press – “Snowie slips through the club like a glass splinter.”

Iron Henry in the anthology “Fable” from Iron Faerie Press – Why do men get turned into frogs? Who gets left behind when the perfect couple lives happily ever after?

Mr. Sandman Scratches The Moon in “Sanitarium Magazine, Issue 2” – Devotion, obsession, and the death-origin stories of the Asian and African continents tie a knot in a lonely heart.

Silap Inua in the anthology “In The Air” from Transmundane Press – A searching tale in honor of snow queens and monstrous daughters.

Her Special Sauce in “FANGS” Aphotic Realm Magazine – Bad taste and get rich quick schemes give birth to a new species. They’re cute when they’re little .

Kiss Me In The Anodyne in “GRUESOME” Aphotic Realm Magazine – Vintage eighties mall horror. Just another punk rocker battling swamp things at the arcade.

For The Angels, Unseen in the anthology “Shopping List 4” from Hellbound Books – Mack meets all her goals.

The Girl Who Shouldn’t Have Been in the journal Pins & Needles, Volume 1 – (OOP) Red Riding Hood gorges on wolves and drunken stepmothers.

Infinite Recursion in the anthology “Game Fiction, Volume One” from Goldshader Press – Can you kill karma with a double-barrel shotgun and unlock a new past?

Alt.Death in the anthology “Trump, Utopia or Dystopia?” from Dark Helix Press – The eternal autocrat proliferates its power without consent. Get ready for your shitty robot body.

Murder Pop-Up in the anthology “Unsplatterpunk! 3” from Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction – Quit your job, buy a van, get some power tools, and head down to DC with your gal pals to kill the patriarchy.

Flutter in the anthology “Death and Butterflies” from Suicide House – Beneficial insects help a young couple resolve their infertility problems. This is completely normal.

Broken in the anthology “The Toilet Zone II” from Hellbound Books – fecal demons sent to wreak revenge on a rival cult leader have unexpected culinary and romantic effects.

Ugly Sister in the anthology “Putrescent Poems” from Forty-Two Books – Fairy tale sisters, always chopping of toes.

Simeon and Me in the anthology “Not Just A Pretty Face” from Dead Light Publishing – It’s not really right to call Simeon my demon lover. Let me explain.

We Have Always Lived In The Soil – in the anthology “Field Notes from a Nightmare: An Anthology of Ecological Horror” from Dread Stone Press – Did you say cordyceps or spore sex?

Studies After The Human Figure in the anthology “Ceci n’est pas une histoire d’horreur” (“This is Not a Horror Story”) from Night Terror Novels – Joel-Peter Witkin said the mark is the primal gesture.

Swanmord in the anthology “Beautiful/Grotesque” from Weirdpunk Books – King Hera slaps the ground and another zoo sutures through the concrete.

All The Rapes In The Museum in the anthology “Stories of the Eye” from Weirdpunk Books – summarizes many of my mixed feelings about colonialism and angel fucking. (Confession: I’m also co-editor of the anthology.)

Laws of Contraction in the anthology “Monstroddities” from Sliced Up Press – Two imaginary friends meet in the men’s room to deal with an unusual growth.

Vertigo Autopsy in the anthology “The Dead Inside” from Dark Dispatch – An homage to Hitchcock’s film written in screenplay format exposing performative femininity and suicidal ideation.

Bride Of The White Rat – in the anthology “Antifa Splatterpunk” from Cursed Morsels Press – A layered vampiric text meant to be read with a cage of rats strapped to your face.

More Weight – in the anthology “Shredded: A Sports and Fitness Body Horror Anthology” from Cursed Morsels Press – in collaboration with Michael Tichy, a visit to the surrealistic gym, a power-lifting witch trial with the bros framed within DuMaurier’s “Rebecca.”

White River – in the anthology “Tales From Between: Words & Pictures” – twin death metal musicians in a study on the effects of low gravity try to stay connected across outer space.

Eclipse, Embrace – in the anthology “Let The Weirdness In: A Tribute To Kate Bush” from Heads Dance Press – Exploring geology and the strange shapes love takes through the lens of the longest hug in pop history.

Leviathan’s Knot – in the anthology “Into The Crypts Of Rays: A Black Metal Horror Anthology, Volume II” from Castaigne Publishing – an erotic journey through the grave and back again.

Invaginies – in the anthology “Children Of The New Flesh: The Early Work And Pervasive Influence Of David Cronenberg” from 11:11 Press – I’m growing a copy of you to take my place in this cage. I’m going to find the field that grows the war.

Chironoplasty – in the anthology “Your Body Is Not Your Body” from Tenebrous Press – in a mathematically impossible city, a centaur seeks illicit surgery in an alien body modification club.

Fugue – in the journal “Vastarien” Vol. 5, Issue 1, Spring 2022 – a quiet exercise in lost connections.

Online Fiction

Oakmoss and Ambergris on Three-Lobed Burning Eye Magazine Podcast, Issue 35, narration performed by Rain Corbyn

Reviewed by Maria Haskins: “This is an emotionally and erotically charged story of love and desire, greed and lust and transformation. It’s science fiction with a carnal, hungry vibe and I adore every bit of it.”

Offerings on PseudoPod Episode 837, narration performed by Christiana Ellis, reprinted from “Doorbells At Dusk” and “Convulsive”

Pigman, Pigman winner of Cemetery Gates Society’s Halloween Flash Fiction Contest

Coneland in Shortwave Magazine

Beloved Of Flies in the Action Books strange fiction series curated by James Pate

L’Homme de Houbigant in The Deadlands, Issue 20, in collaboration with Jonathan Louis Duckworth

Good Paper in Storgy Magazine

The Buried King in Black Telephone Magazine

Man of The Cloth winner of Cemetery Gates Society’s March Flash Fiction Contest

The Yellow Leaves in Issue 1 of Tales From Between

Veils in 101 Fiction, Issue 23: Pictures

Torsion in 101 Fiction, Issue 25: Time Travel

Santa’s Eyeball at Meghan’s House of Books

President Marilyn Monroe Devours Her Young winner of New Millennium Writing’s Fear contest

When Mona Lisa Speaks in Blood Tree Literature: Issue 6

Rogue in Speculative City: Issue 7: Horror

Bluebeard’s Cleanroom in The Sirens Call, The Sixth Annual Women in Horror Month Edition

Pasta Carbonara in Hello Horror Lit Volume 5, Issue 21

A Lady Does Her Job in The Mystery of the Mysterious Hospital That Was Scary

Hey There, Dollface in The Sirens Call, Issue 41

Sleepwatch in Coffin Bell 2.2

Bloodbath Academy in Hello Horror Lit Volume 7, Issue 27

Tathagata in Crystal Lake’s August 2019 flash fiction contest

Spectrophobia in Eldritch Lake: Issue Zero

Mr. Bones Puzzle Candy in Horror Sleaze Trash

Eating Bees From The Ass Of God in Seize The Press, with Joseph Bouthiette Jr.

Welcome To The Sinkhole in Bear Creek Gazette, July 2022

Can Opener on Dose of Dread

Guest Posts: Writing About Writing

The Hunt for Transmundane Press

The Secret History of Detroit for Inkheist

Joanna Koch Chats With Gregor Xane for Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews

Beyond The Peak for Raft Magazine

A Transmasculine Horror Writer Looks At Lovecraft for Deep Cuts In A Lovecraftian Vein

Thank you for reading! If you enjoy my work, please follow this blog for updates. Consider supporting my continued creativity and existence by picking up a copy of CONVULSIVE or THE WINGSPAN OF SEVERED HANDS for yourself, a friend, an evil nemesis, or a local free library.