Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category
Strange are the ways of the poetry biz. Or, April the twentieth warps to the nineteenth. Or . . . anyhow just now the email came from Vince Gotera, coordinator of the SFPA Rhysling showcase blog feature (and also, one might add, recently appointed new editor of the SFPA journal STAR*LINE, though that’s a topic for a different venue). Apparently the re-scheduled tomorrow posting of the capsule bios including mine was just re-re-scheduled, due to a timely sending of new information by . . . moi, to be back to today (cf. post just below). Or, to quote in full:
James, got it. Just in time. The date of 4/19 on your blog is correct. Yours was the last schtuff I was waiting for. The showcase just went live.
Your blog post and my showcase are a feedback loop! Whee!
Confused yet? I know I am. But anyway here it is!
This first via Facebook from Smart Rhino Publications, an official announcement of the contents page for their upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3: YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD (cf. February 21, 3, January 18, et al.). Or, well, almost . . . or to put it in their words: “We have a few other stories under consideration, and the submission period is now over. But, as you can see, the line up is already impressive.” And as it happens it is impressive, so here it is as a sort of preview:
Billie Sue Mosiman – Horns, Teeth, and Knobs
Shaun Meeks – Upgraded
Jeff Menapace – Worm
Adrian Ludens – Reduced to Tears
Christine Morgan – Going Green
William F. Nolan – A New Man
Jason V. Brock – Transposition
Jack Ketchum – The Rose
Daniel I. Russell – Consume
Jezzy Wolfe – All Will Turn to Gray
E. A. Black – Invisible
L.l. Soares – And the Sky Was Full of Angels
Meghan Arcuri-Moran – Shopping Spree
Charles Colyott – Closer
Graham Masterton – Dog Days
Jasper Bark – Switch
Martin Zeigler – Hypochondria
Sandra R. Campbell – Gehenna Division–Case #609
James Dorr – Golden Age
Then in other news, readers may recall that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) has been posting capsule features on Rhysling-nominated poets this month, six at a time, on their blog and that my turn was to be up today (cf. March 29). Well . . . also, almost. A bit of rescheduling has been going on (among other things, originally scheduled for a new “spotlight” every other day starting April first, some have been coming out on even-numbered days too) and, as it happens, mine will actually be out tomorrow. But this gave some time for a bit of more up-to-date information than SFPA apparently had in its files, so it’s all for the best.
My poem, incidentally, nominated in the short poem division, is “Godzilla vs. King Kong,” a rare sports poem involving prize fighting originally published in DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES. A sneak peek of it can also be found in my slightly obsolete “Spotlight” announcement on March 29.
On a lovely afternoon one day after April Fools, the Bloomington Writers Guild/Boxcar Books “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. March 5, et al.) featured a heady mix of dark fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. The first by many-time participant Shayne Laughter brought the ending of “Incident at Grandmothers Cottage,” a police procedural set in a fairytale forest which she had read the first part of at the premiere of the Players Pub Spoken Word series (at which I had also presented my TOMBS-set “River Red,” cf. February 10), followed by Karen Wylie who we have also met before (see November 1 2015 and August 3 2014) with an excerpt from her “science fiction of one sort or another” novel DIVISION, and mystery author, poet, and local WHFB jazz DJ/talk show host Ray Zdonek with a portion of his novel THE LAST ROUNDUP, fourth in his northern Indiana-set Lee Kosak mystery series. This was followed by five open mike readers of which I was fourth with a 700-word dark fantasy/murder mystery on the subject of pets cooking women (with a bit of back story, that being a “prompt” a few years back at my writers group) called “The Death of Mother Carvey.”
Then yesterday brought the opening entry of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s Rhysling Showcase, each to include mini-bios of six of the poets in this years Rhysling competition (cf. March 29), for which press here. These will continue with new posts every other day throughout the month — with (ahem) mine scheduled for April 19.
Something new indeed! So said the email from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA): We would like to try something new this year to get our members excited about and more involved in the Rhysling Award: to post about the poets behind the poetry on our blog “SpecPo”. We would like to post a brief bio, a picture and links to your poems online. If your poem(s) is/are only available in print, please consider posting them to your own blog or website or an author’s website to which we could link. Otherwise, we have access to the information and there’s no need to send a picture, bio or the links. The idea is that six poets per day will be showcased starting on April 1 (which one hopes will not be a foolish omen) and continuing every other day for about six weeks with, if I’ve read the schedule right, my fifteen minutes of fame, or fraction thereof, on April 19. At that time — or now as well, I suppose — the SpecPo blog will be able to be reached by pressing here.
Who knows, then, what picture of me they’ll have to post! What biographical secrets they’ll reveal! (Of the latter, just in case they’re out of date, don’t forget [*ahem*] I have a novel, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, coming out in June.) Or, more to the point, my poem in this pea patch, “Godzilla vs. King Kong,” was published in the print-only journal DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES so where will they find the link to publish? And so, for that last, why not . . . here (and note a small correction to lines 10-11 should you have the D&N copy with you).
GODZILLA VS. KING KONG
It came down to this, finally,
the fight of all fights,
Godzilla against the King,
armed with his radioactive bad breath
and his lizard cunning,
while what could a monkey do?
“Do what you do best,”
Kong’s trainer, Fay Wray, told him,
“climb if you can, or else throw feces at him.”
Well, climbing was pretty much out of the question
unless he climbed up Godzilla himself,
the skyscrapers of Tokyo already demolished,
but, vis-a-vis Kong, ‘Zilla wasn’t that tall
and the other plan didn’t seem sanitary.
So Kong made sure he’d had a good night’s sleep,
a hearty breakfast of bananas by the bunch,
then stood his ground in the city’s ruins
delighted when Godzilla, stomping nearer,
slipped suddenly on his breakfast’s discarded peels,
taking a dive, backward, into the harbor.
Godzilla could also breathe under water
so, soon enough, he was climbing back out
dripping mud and dead crabs,
except Kong, by then, had already accepted
the winner’s purse,
and was halfway back to his Skull Island home.
No, it isn’t an early April Fool’s trick and it is a new name (slightly), but the name was especially voted on to keep the initials the same. And so, as announced today, by fairly hefty vote margins the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) has become the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA, though there was a minority vote to add an extra F for SFFPA). The change is simply a long-time-coming recognition that a lot of SFPA members actually write fantasy poetry, if one wants to be picky, and the name change parallels a similar change made some years ago by the SFWA (which is to say, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, once the Science Fiction Writers of America, which for a brief time then initialed itself the SFFWA with occasional members pronouncing the name as if they stuttered). So what’s in a name? For nostalgia hounds, here presented is the old logo, which may take a little time to update and, new name or old name, the group still can be found by pressing here. (And between you and me, I write horror poetry, and I’m still a member.)
This was to be the one on poetry, last month’s premiere “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and local tavern and music venue Players Pub, being dominated by prose fiction — including, ahem, my opening reading of “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. February 10). And so it was, mostly, with even its musical component being poetry-based via Evansville Indiana group SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEY, a “poetry band” reminiscent of 1950s coffeehouse poetry accompanied with jazz (albeit in this case, guitars and hand percussion), who we’ve met before at the Bloomington Arts Festival Spoken Word Stage (see September 4). The featured readers this time out were Writers Guild Chair Tony Brewer whose poems included a Pushcart Prize nominee, local poet Eric Rensberger who began his reading with a guitar accompanied “Medicine Show” spiel introducing bartender “Dr. Joe” and the pub itself before continuing with the more “serious literary part,” and First Sundays Prose Series Chair Joan Hawkins breaking the pattern with two prose “creative memoirs.” Then the open mike session added four readers of whom I was second, reading three pieces from VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), “La Méduse,” “Émile’s Ghosts,” and “Night Child.”
Then for another quick note, I’ve added two pieces to “Poetry (Essays)” under PAGES in the far right column, my ILLUMEN feature “It Begins With the Sound” (see November 5, et al.) and “What Is a Novel in Stories” (see February 13), the latter admittedly really about my upcoming TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, but springing from Edgar Allan Poe’s essay “The Poetic Principle.”
Another month and, on a crisp but sunny afternoon, it was time for February’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” (cf., e.g., January 29, et al.). Co-sponsored by the Writers Guild at Bloomington and the Monroe County Convention Center, some 18 to 20 people attended, with the featured poets Indiana University MA/PhD student Nathan Schmidt reading a long poem, “Because I Would Not Stop for Him,” its title based on an Emily Dickenson line “Because I Would Not Stop for Death,” followed by Nancy Chen Long, author of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry winner LIGHT INTO BODIES and other poems and chapbooks, with seven shorter works, several on subjects related to “home.” Following the break were nine walk-on readers (including Tonia Matthews with a delightful series of variations on the theme of “chocolate”) of which I came in at number six with four previously published poems loosely about death: “Dust to Dust,” “Firelight,” “A Little Night Music,” and “The Instrument Maker.”
And so, to Mardi Gras and March!
It came down to this, finally,
the fight of all fights,
Godzilla against the King. . . .
So begins the poem as published in DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES for May 2016 (cf. August 6, et al.), “Godzilla vs. King Kong.” Then, today, came another missive: Congratulations on having been nominated as a candidate for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2017 Rhysling Award, given by member vote for the best speculative-genre poem first published in 2016. While the award does not include a monetary prize, those included in the anthology receive a contributor’s copy, a 50% discount on further copies, and may join SFPA at half the normal rate. The email went on to explain the details, the poem would be published in this year’s RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY, I would get a copy of it but no extra money for reprint rights, the anthology, in turn, would be distributed to SFPA members for use in voting. And, one should add, even just being a nominee carries a certain amount of prestige so, the bottom line, I sent back my permission for the republication.
The Rhysling Award is actually two annual awards, one for shorter poems, one for those fifty lines long or more (at 26 lines, my poem will be in the short division). These are voted on by SFPA members, by analogy to other genre awards like the Nebulas and Stokers(R), but with this one difference, that every nominee is distributed in the anthology, so every voter will have a chance to have read all the candidate poems. More on the Rhyslings can be found on the SFPA site by pressing here.
As for who won the fight, however, Godzilla or King Kong, the answer will be in the poem itself and, even if not yourself a SFPA member, there will be a chance to buy the anthology when it comes out.
And it’s not really new either, only missing but now restored as a Valentine’s Day extra. VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) is a book of poetry about vampires and things vampiric, sexy, deadly, and by moi. This is the White Cat edition which should eventually be updated, with new cover, etc., but the upgrade has been taking some time and no need to not buy the book now if one wishes. In print it only costs $7.00 (plus probably postage, but still a good price for a small love token for that special person) and even less in a PDF version. Just click its picture in the center column.
It isn’t listed on Amazon either in this edition, but probably will be when the new one comes out, although I believe print copies of this one can also be purchased through Alban Lake (for which one can press here).
Or, on this page with its link to White Cat Publishing (plus option for PDF), scroll down the center column, through books and chapbooks, to find an all-new category for Poetry. And there it will be!