Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

A strange day, today, with gloom and rain to greet the dawn — and me when errands took me from the house; a clearing by noon and bright sun from about 1 p.m. on and me locked back in the house.  A seasonal thing, sort of, a morning like March, “in like a lion,” and an afternoon only a few degrees short of summer weather, more June than even May.  And so the spring issue of STAR*LINE arrived in the mail, number 43.2, with one poem by me this time, one written for summer, “A Ray of Sun,” on as it happens p. 13 (cf. April 7, 1, et al.).  So who’s superstitious, but “A Ray of Sun” brings back our seagoing blood-drinker the Mermaid Vampiress and tells us how she likes to spend her summer — decided bad luck for the people she shares with.  But, and here’s the point, another publication and thus good luck for me.

STAR*LINE, for any who may not know, is the official publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, more on which can be found here.

So talk about quick!  Today’s email brought a finished PDF copy of the Spring STAR*LINE it seems like I just proofread . . . how long ago now?  Just under a week, on April first (see April 1, March 25), including my poem “A Ray of Sun” continuing the adventures of our well-fed friend, the Mermaid Vampiress.  But that wasn’t all.  Just the day before, Monday, the print edition of the Winter STAR*LINE arrived in my mailbox, though there weren’t any poems by me in that issue.

Such is the way things happen sometimes.  Was the winter issue just *really* late, or has some insidious spinoff from COVID-19 made its manifestation?  I tend to lean toward the first, actually — I don’t know if others got late copies too, or just mine perhaps was misdirected (occasionally mail for Bloomington, Indiana takes unscheduled side trips to Bloomington, Illinois — in fact, my luggage on a plane almost did that once, except I spotted its tag in the outgoing queue [BIL instead of BMG for those into airport code letters, though nowadays one has to land at IND and take a bus the final fifty or so miles]).

Anyhow, the reason for nothing by me being in that issue is that I don’t get around to submitting poetry as much as I should, so let that be the moral.

At 5.2 MB it took half an eternity to download on the antique Cave Computer, or at least so it seemed, but metaphorically chugging away the beast did its job.  Thus unveiled, a proof copy of STAR*LINE 43.2 for Spring 2020.  And nestled inside on lucky page 13, “A Ray of Sun” (see March 25), a three-liner on our sybaritic friend, the mermaid vampiress, who demonstrates the way she likes to greet the summer.  But then to business:  Please proof your piece(s) in the attached PDF of Star*Line 43.2 as well as your listing(s) in the table of contents.  Your name may also appear in the SFPA announcements.  And so I did, finding no errors, and sent my approval back to Vince Gotera.

This will, incidentally, be Editor Gotera’s final issue, stepping down after three years of sharing, among other virtues, a sense of humor that was able to put up with the mermaid vampiress.  For that alone, he will be missed (although perhaps not by the mermaid’s victims).

It’s been awhile.  The issue was actually published on New Year’s Day (cf. Jan 24, 2; Oct 7 2019, et al.), and today the copy arrived in my mailbox, a longish time later though not a record.  The publication is HOUSE OF ZOLO’S JOURNAL OF SPECULATIVE FICTION, VOLUME 1, with an original call:  HOZ are looking for literature that explores possibilities for the future.  We want challenging short stories that are character driven, that reimagine the world and our place in it.  We are looking for radical authors, feminist authors, LGBTQ2S authors, authors who experiment.  Themes that thrill us:  transhumanism, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, new systems, resistance, activism, queer perspectives, feminist perspectives, nature.  My own story in this, “Golden Age,” a tale of extension of life through bio-mechanical transplants was originally published in MINDSPARKS in Spring 1994 (also reprinted in ZIPPERED FLESH 3, see February 3 2017, et al.), and is one of thirty-two items, both prose and poetry, in a hefty three hundred plus page book — a fair bit of reading to help fill the hours while confined to one’s home.  Or to see more for yourself, press here.

Oh, those pesky vampires, you can’t get away from them, you can’t keep your blood when they’re around.  This time it’s a poem, another three-liner about the overly-gluttonous mermaid vampiress who, this time, hasn’t gotten the word that people should not congregate at beaches — at least for the time being.  The title: “A Ray Of Sun,” and just now accepted by Editor Vince Gotera for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s magazine STAR*LINE, or to quote the source, I’d like to accept “A Ray of Sun.”  Could you please let me know . . . still available?

So I sent back my “yes” and will post more news as further details become available.

Those horrid vagabonds, Crow and Rat, have been at it again!  Or at least the book they appeared in, HUMANAGERIE (cf. September 8, July 24, et al.), published in the UK in October last year is still getting reviews.  Thus the latest, by Megan Turney in the British science fiction magazine SHORELINE OF INFINITY:  One of the joys of reading this collection was not knowing what to expect from one poem or short story to the next.  The style of these texts dabble in magic realism and fantasy to the almost academic; each style as engaging as the last.  Even though I could easily recommend every contribution, there are a select few that I find myself returning to. The key element that that drew me to these specific texts was their focus on the often unusual, but always compelling, question of what it means to exist.  So, in no particular order, my personal favourites included:  ‘The Orbits of Gods’ by Holly Heisey; ‘Crow and Rat’ by James Dorr; ‘Aquarium Dreams’ by Gary Budgen; ‘Polymorphous/Stages of Growth’ by Oliva Edwards; ‘And Then I Was a Sheep’ by Jonathan Edwards; ‘Hibernation’ by Sandra Unerman; ‘Wojtek’ by Mary Livingstone; ‘Notes for the “Chronicles of the Land that has no Shape”’ by Frank Roger; and ‘Her Audience Shall Stand in Ovation’ by Jason Gould.
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Well, despite the inclusion of Ms. Rat and Mr. Crow with their habit of finding themselves in places where they’ve not been invited, Turney’s review is extremely thoughtful, even scholarly, and well worth reading — as is the anthology itself with hats off to Editors Allen Ashley (with special thanks for bringing the review to my attention) and Sarah Doyle.  For example, to quote from the final paragraph:  To paraphrase literary critic Karl Kroeber, this kind of literature can serve as a powerful lesson in ‘how our world [is becoming] so exclusively humanised as to be self-diseased.’  To agree with the writers of Humanagerie, it is considerably ironic that we continue with such detrimental practices.  Whilst nature has the power to persevere without us, we certainly wouldn’t be able to survive without it.  So, finally, it surely seems like the right time to recommend such an outstanding contribution to this increasingly essential genre, especially one that emphasises our need to be more aware of humanity’s destructive behaviour.
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To see all for yourself, press here.

Wednesday night’s email brought a notice that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s webpage for STAR*LINE 42.2 is up.  This is the fall issue (cf. December 5) which, in addition to being SFPA’s quarterly membership newsletter/perk is also available for purchase by non-members, details for which are on the webpage as well.  Available by pressing here, it also includes a list of poems in the magazine, in contents order, with six in particular listed in a hard-to-read green, the ones deemed by Editor Vince Gotera the “Editor’s Choices.”

So, no, while I have three poems in the issue myself, none of mine are among the chosen; for those interested, though, the “green” poems can be read as a sample of what can be found in the issue.  Just click on their titles.  And while as I say my poems, “Parents,” “Gourmet Warning,” and “Waste Not, Want Not,” can only be read in the issue myself, I was particularly impressed by the second of the ones Gotera did pick, “Bride of Frankenstein:  Our Lady of Rage” by Andrea Blythe.  And it can be read even by non-subscribers, as noted above.

Well, technically winter doesn’t arrive for about two more weeks, but late or not the Fall STAR*LINE (cf. October 22, et al.) is here.  This is the magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) with three short poems by me this time out, “Parents” and “Gourmet Warning” on (each in its own way) what might be termed family values, and “Waste Not, Want Not” on the virtue of frugal habits, to be found on pages 13, 15, and 28, respectively.  If interested, more on STAR*LINE can be found by pressing here, including links to the SFPA home page and related sf poetry matters.

Last night brought a little bit different mix at the First Wednesday Bloomington Writers Guild Spoken Word Series at Bear’s Place (cf. October 3, et al.).  The session began with poet Roger Pfingston with locally-based poems, primarily from his latest chapbook, WHAT’S GIVEN,

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Ernie Pyle, as remembered on the IU campus (IDS Photo)

followed by poet/performer and sometime teacher of theatrical magic Tom Hastings with dramatic readings of works by several poets and even a rope trick, emphasizing that a stage magician’s patter is at least as important as the trick itself.  Then third was WFHB radio writer and performer Richard Fish reading selections from Indiana University journalism graduate and war correspondent Ernie Pyle’s columns from World War II as an interesting — and in places touching — change of pace, while musical interludes were provided by guitarist and singer Gabriel Harley.

This was followed by six “Open Mic” readers (a seventh, Joan Hawkins, relinquished her spot to Gabriel Harley for two final songs), of which I was third with another in the “Casket Girls” series, “Flightless Rats,” of New Orleans vampiress Aimée’s encounter with a religious man with a slightly odd take on the Noah’s Ark story.

Came the announcement and with it the link:  AURELIA LEO’s All Hallows’ Eve Sale is around the corner!  Horror, dark fantasy, and paranormal titles are up to 25% off from October 27-November 7th!  Grab a discounted haunting tale before it’s too late!  Pay using credit or debit, including your bank account, using PayPal, Square, or CCBill.  You can even mail a check!  And so there’s more to it than just one book, but that’s the one that interests us (i.e. me), the Saturnalia-themed anthology HYPERION & THEIA and in it my long poem, originally published in White Wolf’s 1994 DARK DESTINY (also a Rhysling Nominee that year), “Dreaming Saturn.”

Or as Amazon has it, HYPERION & THEIA:  An Illustrated Anthology features otherworldly speculative poetry, stories, and art.  Gods and Goddesses of old prepare for destruction.  A demonic circus delivers a haunting finale.  The Shebeast lurks in the forest and pulls at heartstrings.  Alien diet supplements wreak havoc in near-future San Francisco.  Three women conspire to break an oath with a wicked witch.  The Herculaneum Scrolls reveal the role of ancient aliens.  A Roman warrior and a warrior turned slave venture into the territory of a Queen of ancient Egypt.  Two cowboys track dark magic in the Wild Wild West.  Ghosts stuck in the mortal realm high off drugs.  You are a lone radio jockey after the apocalypse.  Including, heading the contents, my multi-page poem “Dreaming Saturn.”

The sale, as said, covers other books as well and will run from October 27 through the first week of next month, ending November 7.  For more, press here.




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