Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

On a pleasant near-summer’s night, the Bloomington Writers Guild co-sponsored “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. May 12, et al.) started off comparatively noisily with a trumpet performance by local musician Kyle Quass, followed by two poets and one fiction writer.  The fiction was by Tom Bitters with a quiet romantic tale of himself, his wife, and a local benefit performance by John Mellencamp; with Nashville Indiana full-time poet Andrew Hubbard next with four or five self-described “cross[es] between character studies and short-short stories”; and, after a musical interlude by Kyle Quass again, a group of more conventional poems by local writer Antonia Matthew.  These were followed by seven open mike readers of which I was fourth — square in the middle — with a fairy tale variant originally published in RAPUNZEL’S DAUGHTERS (Pink Narcissus Press, 2011) called “The Glass Shoe,” or, translated to modern political terms, alternative facts meet Cinderella.

Sunday’s weather belied the predictions of afternoon storms which perhaps helped May’s Bloomington Writers Guild “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic,” in conjunction with the Monroe County Convention Center, garner fifteen participants who stayed the whole time.  The featured poets were native Hoosier and Americorps veteran Charles Culp, with poems on such things as diners (“the liquor store closes, the church closes, but the diner’s still open”) and the art available just by looking around one, among other topics, and Virginia native Breon Tyler, a visual artist with a degree in Painting and Printmaking, currently completing a masters here in African American and African Diaspora Studies, who started with a work by a poet from Sierra Leone as well as recent poems of her own  Then after a break, six non-scheduled poets read from the audience, of which I was sixth with three somewhat summer-themed poems (parties, vacations, poolside relaxation) from my VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) collection, “Through This Wicked, Winding Way,” “Why She Started Writing Poetry,” and “Moonlight Swimming.”  Last Sunday Poetry will resume August 27 following a a two-month summer hiatus.

Then a second item, simply for fun on a holiday weekend, or, I don’t usually cover politics here but. . . .  But satire does count as literature and this one is difficult to resist, a “claim” by satirical site THE ONION of having “Obtained Hundreds of Trump Documents” including, well, a number of topics from which one may choose after pressing here.  And for horror fans (thus bringing it under this blog’s purview, ahem) I especially recommend, under “Family,” Melania’s letters home to her mother, particularly the last concerning an apparition seen one night on the White House lawn of. . . . (but be sure to read her other letters first).

Let us take a quick trip down memory lane to April 25 and my coverage of the Polish mermaid film THE LURE, a Goth-rock variant of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.”  Then, back to today, what should I run across courtesy of DIRGEMAG.COM but “Dark Mermaids Take Everything Men Fear and Use It Against Them” by Brenda S G Walter, including her take on “The Little Mermaid” as well as THE LURE and two other films.  In this case the “lure” (sorry) is primarily via the Andersen tale — no dwelling on mermaids’ alter lives in the siren trade, for instance, but then the payoff is still the same.  These are hungry fish-ladies.  And, music or not, the piece is interesting (and a little Freudian) and can be read by pressing here.

Then, for the writing life, Saturday after my writers critique group eviscerated my TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH essays (cf. May 18 just below, et al., and no, they didn’t really — I did post all three essays to the group in lieu of a story this month, for which comments, while mixed as to which one might be a given critiquer’s favorite, were generally encouraging), I continued to local restaurant-bar The Crazy Horse for a celebration and signing for Bloomington Writers Guild member and poet Nancy Chen Long’s just published book, LIGHT INTO BODIES.  To lazily quote from the invitation:  This event is a thanks-giving.  As a way of honoring, Nancy has invited Cynthia Bretheim and Beth Lodge-Rigal, two women that she credits for getting her back into poetry back in 2006, to read.  Members of Five Women Poets, a local writing group that Nancy belongs to, will also read.  In addition, two friends whose artistic-ness inspire her — Matt Allen on jazz guitar and Stephen Simms on bass — have been invited to share their music.  It also was fun, and with good snacks too, and a special feeling of kinship for me on the eve, as it were, of my own book’s release which, if not an absolute first as such, is my first novel.
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More on Nancy’s book, officially published on May 10, can be found by pressing here; more on my TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH by pressing its picture in the center column.

So came the announcement from Editor/Publisher Juliana Rew:  It’s hard to believe that summer’s almost here. And so is the new anthology, CAT’S BREAKFAST:  TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT.  A double issue, it contains 30  all-original  science fiction and fantasy short stories inspired by the wit and wisdom of  the late Mr. Vonnegut, releasing on June 15.

An international group of new and established contributors to “Cat’s Breakfast” makes this a remarkable and varied collection that is sure to please fans of science fiction/fantasy, humor, and horror.  The ebook’s available for pre-order on Amazon, and print books will follow shortly.

And so here it is, the lineup including my “Dead Girls, Dying Girls” (see April 27), a tale of a modern young lady . . . and bears . . .  originally published in Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s own tribute anthology, SO IT GOES, in 2013.  While as for that ebook pre-order and other info, one need but press here.

Contents

Spooky Action by David A. Kilman
They Grow Up So Fast by Konstantine Paradias
The Jim-Aaargh School of Philosophy by Rati Mehrotra
Command Decision by James Beamon
Hear by Tim Jeffreys
Honour Killing by Iain Hamilton McKinven
Talk to the Animals by Jill Hand
The Pigeon Drop by Gregg Chamberlain
Formica Joe by Anne E. Johnson
One Is One by Vaughan Stanger
Emerging Grammars by Christopher Mark Rose
Picnic, with Xels by Keyan Bowes
Scenes from a Post-Scarcity, Post-Death Society by Peter Hagelslag
The Static Fall to a Standing Walk by Jason Lairamore
Beyond the Borders of Boredom by Ville Nummenpää
Snakes and Ladders by Rekha Valliappan
Drop Dead Date by August Marion
Monkeyline by Jonathan Shipley
Quality Testing by S. E. Foley
Dead Girls, Dying Girls by James Dorr
The Bringers by John J. Kennedy
The Confrontation Station by Ryan Dull
The Edge of Toska by Veronica Moyer
Violadors on the Run by Corrie Parrish
37 by Dan Koboldt
The Losers’ Crusade by Neil James Hudson

Grins and Gurgles (Flash Humor):

Cyborg Shark Battle (Season 4, O’ahu Frenzy) by Benjamin C. Kinney
Strange Stars by Laurence Raphael Brothers
iPhone 17,000 by E. E. King
The Service Call by Edward Ahern

Then in other info, it’s one of those signs of spring becoming summer, and one of those little things sometimes buried under other activity, but the 2017 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY(cf. April 19, 2, March 29, et al.) made a safe landing here in last Saturday’s mail.  This is the collection of award nominees in the Science Fiction and Poetry Association’s annual Rhysling Competition, in which my prize fight poem “Godzilla vs. King Kong” appears in the Short Poem division (cf. March 29, February 22).

More information on the Rhysling Awards and the SFPA may be found here.

Already crummy weather plus a report of an even worse thunderstorm in the offing depressed attendance at April’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and the Monroe County Convention Center (cf. February 26 — all right, so I had to miss the March one — et al.).  The eight of us who showed up, however, enjoyed some very good out of the ordinary work by local writers Samuel T. Franklin, whose first poetry book, THE GOD OF HAPPINESS, came out last November from Main Street Rag Publishing, and retired astronomy professor Richard H. Durison with publications in SPACE AND TIME, ILLUMEN, DISTURBED DIGEST, FROSTFIRE WORLDS, and others.  After the break, though, with only MC Patsy Rahn and me with poems to offer, plus (remember?) the threat of storms coming, we decided to skip the open readings for this time in favor of a little more conversation (a small enough group to not have to break off into segments) and snacking, then early adjournment.

Afterward, home and dry, I completed and sent in my own weekend project, a third TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH-related guest post for Heidi Angell, who we may remember from her January 9 interview of me (see January 10), or my two previous guest-essays on “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” and “It Began With a Map” (for links to both of these as well as the interview, cf. March 30).  This weekend’s article, probably to be published (assuming it’s accepted) this side of mid-May, is titled “The Ghoul-Poet” and notes, among other things, the “Five Act Dramatic Structure” and its relation to TOMBS (or, Why Does the Book’s Contents Page Look Like a Playbill?).

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 blog-imageRhysling 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 Green463_zippered_cvr_3
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).

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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.)




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