Posts Tagged ‘Speculative Poetry’

Two items today, to look for in the near future:  The first is courtesy of Steph P. Bianchini’s blog THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, reminding us that the Cassini space probe will be sending its last signals to Earth just eight days from now.  Or from, as it were, the horse’s mouth, “on September 15, with its fuel tank now almost empty, the probe will make its final dive straight into Saturn, heading for the gas giant’s surface.”  And so, via THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, this sendoff:  “Cassini’s 13 Years of Stunning Saturn Science — In Pictures,” by Alexandra Witze on NATURE.COM.  To read (and see), press here.

For the second, we hark back a couple of months to an email from artist, poet, and sometime blog commentator Marge Simon:  Would you have a couple of vamp poems previously published that you could let Kathy Ptacek use for the HWA October newsletter?  If you’ve got an illo to go with it, great.  Maybe something we did for VAMPS?  The reference is to my poetry collection, VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), hopefully to be coming out in a second edition but for info on which, for now, click on its picture in the center column, and so I sent Kathy three favorite poems plus two of Marge’s illustrations.

So then a few days ago came the reply:  thanks, james! I appreciate you sending these to me!  and that’s great that marge sent the artwork for them!  this is going to be a fun issue, I think!  heh!  The issue in question will be the October Horror Writers Association NEWSLETTER with an extra flourish to celebrate the coming Halloween.  And the poems (with initial publication information):  “Night Child,” TOMORROW SF, Feb. 1998; “La Méduse,” ASYLUMS AND LABYRINTHS (Rain Mountain Press, 1997), with a note that it also serves as sort of a foreword to my THE TEARS OF ISIS (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013); and “Bon Appétit,” GOTHIC.NET, Aug. 2002).

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One quick note and one just for fun.  The quickie, as of Sunday a new review is up on Amazon for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, by Andrew Suhrer, a fellow author.  And it’s for five stars too!  In fact, all reviews both here and on B&N (three reviews there) are 5-star reviews, if I may so brag.  (Though to keep myself honest, there are two on Goodreads that aren’t quite as glowing.)  Nevertheless, for the ones on Amazon one may press here.

And then the fun part, fellow poet and Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association member (and one-time editor of the SFPA journal STAR*LINE) Marge Simon posted a challenge a little while back, to compose a poem of twenty lines or less using the words “Vermin,” “Theremin,” “Decision,” and “Vitamin,” for e-publication in SFPA’s newsletter.  The best, also, would get an ice cream prize.  A half dozen or so of us responded and while, no, the prize-winner wasn’t mine, it was one of two that got honorable mentions.

Alas, I don’t think there’s a link to see all the poems if you’re not a member, but for more on the SFPA (see also, March 29, 22, et al.) one may press here.  And to read at least my poem, it’s right below:

MUSICAL SUMMER

Vermin infested the theremin,
roaches by the look of them,
probably the same that invaded the drugstore’ s
vitamin counter
two weeks before.
So now these super bugs
bursting with good health and bad decisions,
operating the instrument from inside,
wailed their hatred of all that was human
out beyond the stars.

 

Enjoy, enjoy!

You saw the announcement in part in the comments in yesterday’s post, now hear it in full:  my prize-fight poem, “Godzilla vs King Kong” (see March 29; August 12, 6 2016, et al.), has battled its way to . . . well . . . a three-way tie for third place in this year’s Rhysling contest for best short poem.  That’s not the height of the fighters, mind you, but rather means poems of fewer than fifty lines, and Kong would tell you a third is a third and, even with others included, that’s still a share in the purse.  Or . . . but let’s let the sponsors put it in their own words.

The Rhysling Anthology Editor and Award Chair, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, and the officers of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Rhysling Awards.  The organization was founded in 1978 to bring together poets and readers interested in science-fiction poetry.  This year, there is a 3-way tie for Third Place in the Short Poem category.

Each year, the SFPA publishes the Rhysling Anthology, comprised of works nominated by its international membership for the Best Poems of the Year.  The Rhyslings were first established in 1978, named for the blind poet Rhysling in Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “The Green Hills of Earth.”  Rhysling’s skills were said to rival Rudyard Kipling’s.  In real life, Apollo 15 astronauts named a crater near their landing site “Rhysling,” which has since become its official name.

Winning works are regularly reprinted in the Nebula Awards Anthology from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  Rhysling Awards are considered in the speculative literature field to be the poetry equivalent of the awards given for prose — achievement awards given to poets by the writing peers of their own field of literature.

The Rhysling Awards will be formally presented at DiversiCon, in St. Paul (Bandana Square Best Western) by SFPA President, Bryan Thao Worra and other members of the SFPA executive committee. All members are welcome to attend the ceremony.

Short Poem
1st:  “George Tecumseh Sherman’s Ghosts”
Marge Simon • Silver Blade 32

2nd:  “Build a Rocketship Contest: Alternative
Class A Instructions and Suggestions”
Wendy Rathbone • Asimov’s SF January

3rd (tie):
“Godzilla vs. King Kong”
James S. Dorr • Dreams and Nightmares 103

“Richard Feynman’s Commute”
Jon Wesick • The Were-Traveler Dec. 21

“The Box of Dust and Monsters”
Beth Davis Cato • Devilfish Review 17

Long Poem
1st :  “Rose Child”
Theodora Goss • Uncanny 13

2nd:  “The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner”
Adam Bolivar • Spectral Realms 5

3rd:  “Not Like This”
Mary Soon Lee • Apex Magazine Aug. 4

For more on the Rhyslings and SFPA one may press here.

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).

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).

.

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.




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