Poetry Round-up April 2014

aprilApril is National Poetry Month (NPM) in the US. It always seems to catch me unaware or at least a little inaccessible. And this year I’ve been taking a quasi sabbatical from FaceBook through Easter, and so I haven’t been hyper tune-in to all things trivial and important lately, including NPM. It’s been pretty liberating, I must say, turning off FaceBook notifications on my phone and only checking in briefly in the morning and when I have something like this blog-post to promote. But I didn’t want to let April slide by (again) without doing my best to promote a bit of poetry. And there’s lots going on in genre poetry for NPM. I hope I’ll be able to point you in the direction of something that takes your breath away, gives you chills and perhaps even makes you chuckle.

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Carrie Cuinn, an author, editor, bibliophile, modernist, and geek. In honor of National Poetry Month she has written several articles on the “history” of SF poetry and posted them on her blog. She “starts at the beginning” and continues with (so far) 3 more articles each dealing with a chunk of history. I’m not sure how many articles she’s planning to write/post, but you can see all of them to date on the page “National Poetry Month.”

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As usual Tor.com has a poetry series in honor of NPM, featuring new work by Theodora  Goss and Jo Walton, and soon Sofia Samatar, and Catherynne M. Valente. Goss’s poem, “My Garden”, about planting lovers is gentle and wistful and somehow makes you sit on the edge of your seat wanting to find out what happens. Jo Walton’s “Hades and Persephone” is about a meeting of in Hell and not at all canonical. It’s full of anticipation and joy and the comfort in knowing with someone you love and who loves you.

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ChiZine has launched its 2nd annual Shitty Poetry Month. It was a roaring success last year and so they have done it again. And you can get involved! Here’s what they say about it:

“Starting April 1st, we will post a brand new shitty poem each weekday. At the end of the week, you’ll have the weekend to vote for your favourite bad poem. The winner of that week will be announced on the Monday.


At the end of the month, the four finalists will be pitted against each other in a pitched battle to the death, with a winner voted in by you, Gentle Readers.”

And the poetry is truly bad. Oh, so bad. Kudos to those poets willing to hang their dirty laundry.


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Mari Ness pointed out that the new issue of inkscrawl  (edited by Jennifer Smith) has (finally) come out. I do so love this magazine-for-the-super-short-speculative-poem! Mari has a chilling poem in there, called “Bone Song” about the ghost of a murdered person and what they remember after much time has passed. Other poems I personally recommend are “Nonfiction” by Jonel Abellanosa, “Facilior” by Sonya Taaffe (whose poetry I consistently love), “Fairy Tale” by Lynette Mejía, “explorer” by Ross Balcom, “Queen of Cups” by Adrienne J. Odasso and “The Love Note that was Called Another Name” by Alexandra Seidel.


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Strange-HorizonsLisa Bradley sent me notice of her (quite) long poem “Una Canción de Keys” in Strange Horizons which reminded me about Strange Horizons’ recent Poetry Special Issue.

Lisa’s poem doesn’t seem very speculative until the “Fantasmabuela” (phantom-grandma) “speaks”. It’s a fabulous little vignette of life in a large Hispanic family and the influence the matriarch has over them even post-mortem.

Also in Strange Horizons in February John Philip Johnson’s wonderful little poem “After the Changeling Incantation”, which I recited for their monthly poem (which is not entirely self-serving!). You can hear it here.

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goblin fruit smallGoblin Fruit’s Winter Issue 2014 contains poetry by 9 poets, including Seanan McGuire, Alexandra Seidel and (again) Sonya Taaffe.

I adore the art for this issue by Zarina Liew. It evokes the extended winter prevalent on the North American continent in shades of indigo and violet with a smattering of red like berries on a white background. Pencil outlines depict flowing elf-like figures, bare branches, crows, owls and jeweled decorations.

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NiteBlade – Horror and Fantasy Magazine, edited by Rhonda Parrish, Alexandra Seidel, Marge Simon and others has some very nice poetry this issue No. 27 The Mermaid at Sea World (March 2014). Poeniteblade-filigreets are Anna Sykora; Sandi Leibowitz; Ada Hoffmann, who wrote the poem for which the issue is named; Beth Cato and S. Brackett Robertson. They recently did a very successful fundraiser (which I wish I’d known about) and you can read the issue in its entirety for free on the website because of it. Or you could throw some money their way to keep the magazine going far into the future. You can even name your price for all 6 of the first 6 issues!

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John C. Mannone, editor of Silver Blade, which is another great venue for SF poetry, did a 30 poem challenge in March called the 30/30 Project for Tulepo Press. He and several other poets wrote a poem per day. Not all of them are speculative, but many are including “A Found Poem Inside an Event Horizon ‘On This Day In History’” (March 1), “Byron’s Star” (March 9), “If Today Were The Beginning” (March 11), “Ripples” (March 19), “Disappearance” (March 20), “Silver Stars” (March 21).


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That should keep you busy for a bit. In a fortnight, when my next post is out, I will be reviewing the 30th and final print issue of strange poetry magazine Mythic Delirium edited by Mike and Anita Allen.

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