Figure 1 – Rhea Rose

Hi, there—welcome back! (Or maybe someone should say that to me, since I missed last week.) This week is going to be a departure from my usual movie/TV or book review, or even from my nattering on about my fannish life or stuff like that. Normally, I would do a review of the two things I’m going to present to you, but in this case I can’t; I must recuse myself from reviewing these items because a) I’m the proofreader and so have a direct connection; and b) poetry is subjective—or at least our reactions to it, so I can’t really claim to be a poetry expert of any kind. (Yes, I’ve written it for years, or used to; and yes, I’m more interested in old-school rhyming poetry, which isn’t all that common these days). So I’m just gonna call this column a promo—unpaid as it is, let me make that clear; neither editor has offered me anything in exchange for this promo. And yes, I am friends with both editors and publisher.

Figure 2 –Graeme Cameron

I’m talking about two free, online, semiprofessional (they can’t afford to pay SFFWA rates) genre magazines. The first one is called Polar Starlight, and it’s a genre poetry magazine, edited by writer/editor and teacher Rhea Rose (Figure 1; click on her name for a link), who is a multiple Aurora Award/Prix Aurora nominee. You might not have known there was genre poetry, but think about it: even Tolkien wrote genre poetry. His was pure fantasy, but PS publishes fantasy/sf as well as less classifiable genre poetry. Me, I was raised on classical (read “rhyming”) poetry, mostly non-genre—though I did read Poe (both poetry and stories), and some of Spenser’s Faery Queen, and Walter De La Mare and others like him. But I can easily recognize when a poem has a point, and editor Rhea Rose chooses “wisely, my son.” You may or may not recognize all the names, but I suspect you might like them (check out Issue #9, the newest) enough to subscribe. Again, I won’t review it or say which poems in this issue were attractive to me, but darned if I haven’t enjoyed each and every issue so far—and check out what Rhea has to say in this editorial!

Figure 2 is a photo of R. Graeme Cameron, publisher of Polar Starlight and the editor/publisher of its “parent,” if you will, a free fiction (with some poetry thrown in occasionally) genre online magazine called Polar Borealis. Graeme is a pretty well-known Canadian fan who is an Aurora Award/Prix Aurora winner and multiple nominee. (You might recognize the name; he’s a fellow Amazing Stories columnist, who does terrific reviews of Canadian genre fiction.) Recently, Graeme retired to a nearby Vancouver Island community and decided to spend his post-retirement years writing, editing, promoting, and publishing Canadian genre fiction and poetry. He uses his own retirement money—which isn’t a large sum—to pay authors and artists for both magazines. (I put a link in his name to his Patreon page, if you have the inclination to send any amount to support his efforts. It’s not required, but if you can contribute, why not?)

Figure 3 – Polar Starlight #9 – March 2023 cover by Kasia Runté

This picture (Figure 3) is the cover of the latest Polar Starlight. It’s full of well-chosen poetry by a variety of Canadian poets. Inside are poems by Roxanne Barbour, Rodolfo Boskovic, Gregg Chamberlain, Jameson Grey, James Grotkowski, Michèle Laframboise, David Shultz, Frances Skene, Richard Stevenson, Elina Taillon, Marcie Lynn Tentchoff, Lisa Timpf, Gerald L. Truscott, and Alexander Zelenyj. The cover to PS was done by Kasia Runté. It’s free to read, so please, click on the magazine’s name to check it out.

Figure 4 – Polar Borealis #24 – Feb. 2023 cover by Kari-Ann Anderson

And finally, Figure 4 is the cover of the latest Polar Borealis—not only edited, but also published, by Graeme. It’s another very good issue, in my slightly biased opinion—though I do try to leave my personal biases out of my reviews. This issue includes poems by Roxanne Barbour, Rodolfo Boskovic, Carlyn Clink, Robert Dawson, Catherine Girczyc, Jim Smith, Richard Stevenson, and Dean Wirth; and stories by Warren Brown, Victoria K. Martin, J.R. Johnson, Cathy Smith, Rhea E. Rose, Jacqueline Thorpe, Gerald L. Truscott, and David Wiseman. The cover to PB was done by Kari-Ann Anderson.

And you don’t have to be Canadian to read and enjoy either magazine; they just want to promote Canadian content. As a dual Canadian-American citizen, I enjoy it twice!

What do you think? Gonna give it a try—why not? They’re both free to you, just click on the provided links. You can comment here or on Facebook, or even by email (stevefah at hotmail dot com). All comments are welcome! (Just be polite, please.) My opinion is, as always, my own, and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Amazing Stories or its owner, editor, publisher or other columnists. See you next time!

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