Ah, ICFA. The conference centered around a pool. And tropical drinks. These are good things.


1. For the all of two of you following this saga, the queen bee has successfully been moved from the owl house to the new beehive, and two jars of honey -- labeled Blak Kat - have been harvested. (Technically none of that happened at ICFA, but it did happen during ICFA and was mentioned during ICFA, so it kinda counts.)

2. I read a poem in front of Patricia McKillip again and didn't feel the need to throw up this time! ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.

3. Speaking of that reading, have you ever noticed that a Samsung Galaxy will happily enlarge every font on every webpage ever for you, often when you don't want it to, except the one time when you really need it to, at which point you will be forced to do some fancy eyeglasses adjustment and do a poetry reading with a Samsung Galaxy for all intents and purposes covering your mouth (seriously, it was maybe three, four inches from my face). On the bright side, this will serve to distract you from your audience.

For the curious, you can find the other chain poems here. I do not recommend attempting to work with the decalet form used in the earliest two examples, which is why I worked with a different form in "Snowmelt," "Feather," and "Demands."

4. Fortunately, I was able to increase the font size during the spontaneous pub sing around the hot tub - fortunately because I was the only one not in the hot tub and therefore the only one who could safely check the lyrics for "Wild Mountain Thyme." On a related note, if you don't want to become the designated lyric checker, get into the hot tub.

5. It was somewhat disconcerting to run into people and realize hey, the last time I saw you was in London. Or Ireland. Or DC. It reminded me of how much in many ways Loncon was a big group trip.

6. This isn't exactly ICFA related, but I got into two very interesting discussions about the Hugo Awards, the gist of which boiled down to "too many categories." I think this was the natural result of meeting with some people who were also Hugo voters just a short time after filling out that long ballot, but I was surprised by the consensus. (And convinced that this isn't going to change - almost none of the people involved in the discussions wanted to attend the Worldcon business meeting where that sort of thing can be changed. I'm not even heading to Worldcon this year. But I'm throwing the thought out there.)

7. ICFA also included several really marvelous meals with really marvelous people. And yes, conversations that just happened to bring up clowns, kink, and cousins in the same sentence. Something that I'm sure also happens to other people.

8. Much thanks to the various people that helped me get around the conference in general and on Thursday and Friday when I got too sick to make it back to my hotel room on my own. You guys were great.
I interrupt this blog silence and general greyness of the morning to point you at this, which was still as awesome this morning as it was when I read it last night, pushing pretty much every one of my happy buttons. Seriously: click, read, click the little button, and then read again.

(Plus, although I can't take any credit for this, I can take credit for telling people to keep an eye out for Bogi Takacs. I love being right.)


Nov. 12th, 2014 10:42 am
I have, on occasion, been accused of having a certain - what's the word? - obsession with structured poetry.

This will only add weight to the fire, I'm afraid.


In other news, I am back from WFC 2014, but very tired and more than a bit dizzy, conditions that do not do much for my control of commas and other punctuation, so any blogging on the event itself must wait a bit.
Poet and friend Mike Allen just posted this description of an upcoming World Fantasy Panel:
Poetry in Fantasy: Yesterday and Today
Time: 11am-12pm, Nov. 7, Regency F
Panelists:Mike Allen (M), Maria Alexander, Rain Graves, David Lunde, Laurel Winter

Description: Including poetry in fantasy, both by the author and quoted from other sources, used to be more common, such as Alice in Wonderland, The Lord of the Rings, and The Worm Ouroboros. Why is poetry not as prevalent now as in the past? Are certain types of poetry, such as non-formal or non-rhyming verse, under-used in fantasy?
Why is poetry not as prevalent now as in the past?

After blinking at this for a bit, I went to YouTube, and typed in "Rains of Castamere," a poem that first appeared in a fantasy book published in 2000. YouTube currently lists 165,000 videos of this song, including versions sung by cats. YouTube also lists 26,000 versions of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," a poem that originally appeared in the same series.

One of last year's most popular fantasy movies was Frozen, which had, as I recall, quite a few songs/poems. Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Sofia Samatar, Theodora Goss, L.E. Modesitt and multiple others have included poems in their prose work. And this isn't even considering the multiple, successful online zines publishing or focusing on poetry today, fantastic or otherwise. I'd argue that poetry, and in particular speculative poetry, is far more prevalent and visible than it's ever been.

But...for some reason, this prevalence doesn't get recognized in the field. Granted, part of this is that poetry collections (as opposed to poems that appear in prose works, HBO shows, or Disney cartoons) in general don't sell well, whatever their theme. But I don't think that quite justifies ignoring the fact that yesterday afternoon, the next door neighbor kids were shrieking "LIBRE SOY! LIBRE SOY!" (the Spanish version of "Let it Go,") for TWENTY SOLID MINUTES. Poetry's popular. It's out there. Let's celebrate it.


Oct. 20th, 2014 08:45 am
I woke up to the news that a new issue of Through the Gate Through the Gate is out, containing my little poem, Myrrha.

It's no secret that I love this little zine, which on every irregular appearance shines like a jewel. I highly recommend checking everything out here, which includes poems by Sonya Taaffe, Rose Lemberg, Michele Bannister, Brittany Warman and Jack Hollis Marr.
Not that anybody has asked, but: "Hey, what it is like to get solicited for a major upcoming project?"

It goes like this:

1. Email comes in. You read it. It's a request - an actual request - for a poem. You figure the people sending you the email just wanted to cheer you up because you had a crappy day, but, you know, poem! After a couple of reassuring emails you agree, because this is going to be a nice, fun little webzine, right? No pressure. You cheer up.

2. Time passes. You don't think much about it because of myriad and massive computer issues and a few other things. And then the Kickstarter announcement pops up on Twitter. You click.

3. You see the freaking list of solicited authors" and squeak, because this list includes Paul Cornell, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jim Hines, Rachel Swirsky, Scott Lynch (!!!!), E. Lily Yu, Ken Liu, Sofia Samatar, Amal El-Mohtar, several other amazing names and --

Neil Gaiman.

(For the record NONE of this was in the initial email.)

Did we say no pressure? Right.


3. You realize that you really really really want to read everybody else in this.

Uncanny Magazine!

So, er, go pledge! For everyone else in this.


Speaking of projects that you should be funding, I'm VERY pleased to note that An Alphabet of Embers, Rose Lemberg's upcoming anthology of Unclassiables, has funded, which also means that the companion book, Spelling the Hours, which is a really cool little thing containing poems about women scientists, has also funded.

What hasn't funded yet, though, is the second stretch goal, which includes music from The Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours, which sounds totally awesome.

Plus, the initial books just sound really cool.

(Full disclosure: I submitted something for Spelling the Hours, but to be honest, given the other people submitting to this project, I don't actually expect to be in it since Rose has such an amazing wealth of talent eager to work with her to choose from. Which right there says everything you need to know about her editing skills (i.e., excellent.) However, I AM in one of the incentive books, Here We Cross, so if you've always wanted a copy of that, this is an excellent opportunity.)


And since this has turned into a pimp out worthy projects post, Clarkesworld Magazine is very close to publishing three more stories every four months thanks to Patreon support; they only need a couple hundred more dollars in pledging to make that goal. I'm an obvious fan of Clarkesworld, not just because they've published me twice, but because they continue to publish outstanding fiction every single month, forming a large part of the stories I nominate for the Hugo and Nebula awards, so I highly recommend this, if you can. And you can always buy Clarkesworld directly from various online retailers as well.

(Though, full disclosure again: this is a bit of an incentive for me as well, since it might get me over my current "AUUGH I CAN'T WRITE SCIENCE FICTION" if I know people like a zine that I've published science fiction in to support it through Patreon. But mostly, you should be supporting Clarkesworld since they are publishing such groundbreaking work.)


(I have to write a poem for a zine that also solicited a poem from Neil Gaiman. NO PRESSURE.)

(ok maybe pressure)
The latest issue of Mythic Delirium is up, featuring poems by Jane Yolen, Cedar Sanderson, and me. Enjoy!

Also out: the latest Tor.com post, on The Water-Babies. I can't exactly recommend the book for enjoyable reading, but it does provide some interesting commentary on the Victorians.
One of my favorite little zines, inkscrawl, is back, just in time for National Poetry Month. This issue contains a tiny poem from me, as well as work from Sonja Taaffe, Kendall Evans, Adrienne Odosso, and many more. A lovely little way to start off April.
Overfilled day of trying to catch up on stuff, but did want to pop in here to mention that my poem, The Restoration of Youth, is up at Strange Horizons today.

I say "poem," but this is actually part of a much, much longer and still unfinished piece. I liked this bit though, and I'm very glad that Strange Horizons chose to start of their 2014 year in poetry with it.
Poet extraordinaire Amal El-Mohtar has been yelling at everyone to do this, so --

Writing is an odd thing: what you are actually doing, and what others see, is often far apart.

2013 was a classic example of this for me.

I know I've talked a lot about not writing as much as I should, but the first half of 2013 took this down to an all time low. I barely wrote at all; which made me feel even worse about my writing. In July, matters improved, but improved only in comparison to the first half of the year; it was worse than previous years. And all this while my fellow writers were happily totaling up booming word counts and publications on Twitter. Gulp.

But you might not guess any of that from my publications in 2013. As I noted earlier, I managed to publish nine full length short stories this year, five of them at "pro" rates, including one at Tor.com; three flash stories, including one over at McSweeney's; and five poems. That's rather fewer poems than in recent years, but I haven't been writing as much poetry, so the decline is to be expected.

Anyway, here's the rundown of the stories:

Probably the most widely read and popular (barring a couple of dissenters) was In the Greenwood, Tor.com, December, a folktale retelling, which has popped up in a couple of best of lists for 2013. Publishing being what it is, this is also the oldest (in terms of when I wrote it) story on this list.

Runner-up probably was The Princess and Her Tale, Daily Science Fiction, May, another folktale retelling.

Other retellings of folklore and fairy tales included The Gifts, Daily Science Fiction, September; and "Godmother," "Marmalette" and "Palatina" in Missing Links and Secret Histories, Aquaduct Press, July 2013, which more people should read, because the other stories in it are hilarious, and no, I'm not just saying that. I still pull out the book to cheer myself up.

Stepping away from the folklore retellings for a bit, we have the only story set in my "Stoneverse" setting, An Assault of Color, Apex, October 2013, which has started to appear, much to my surprise, in a few best of lists for the year. This surprising because no one seemed to notice it when it first came out. Remember that reality versus perception thing I was mentioning? Here's another example.

And something that was not a folktale retelling or tied to anything else I've written was The Dragon and the Bond, about, well, a dragon. And a Bond. But not James Bond, despite the obvious joke that several people picked up on after the story was published. I have to say I missed that entirely; then again, one of the hardest parts of writing for me remains coming up with a title. This story is called "The Dragon and The Bond" because, well, not to give too much of the story away, it has a dragon and it has a bond and after spending far, far too long trying to come up with a title I just went with two things that were in the story.

And there's the writing process in action, everyone!

Anyway, title issues aside, "The Dragon and the Bond" was one of my personal favorites from last year, along with Stronger Than the Wind, Stronger Than the Sea, Demeter's Spicebox, July 2013; a combination of science fiction and fairy tale.

And then the three pieces of flash fiction:

What to Expect When You're Expecting Cthulhu, McSweeneys, August 2013, humor, and the only piece this year that I cackled over as I wrote it.

Seaweed, Daily Science Fiction, August 2013, part of the fairy tale series that yes, I do plan to finish one of these days, along with the connecting bits.

A Winter's Love, Goldfish Grimm, December 2013.

And poems:

"Gleaming," Mythic Delirium, Issue 28, April 2013

"Walking Home," Dreams and Nightmares, Issue 95, June 2013

Iron Search, inkscrawl, August 2013

Mountain, Through the Gate, August 2013

The Loss, Strange Horizons, September 2013.

Along with this I also published one or two posts per week over at Tor.com, covering works by Mary Norton, Roald Dahl, Lloyd Alexander, Christopher Moore, and Georgette Heyer. That turned out to be a bit too much, so since the Georgette Heyer reread is over, this is going to drop back down to the usual one post per week plus very occasional extras -- yes, yes, I am looking forward to that upcoming Oz movie -- to let me breathe a little.

Now to see what 2014 brings. If the stars align, it should bring at least three short story publications, two flash fiction pieces, one novella, and one poem so far....but we'll see.


Nov. 25th, 2013 03:15 pm
My poem Lucuma just went up at Polu Texni. Enjoy!
Just before the Thursday morning Stroll With the Stars I heard a rumor that Programming was having some issues thanks to last minute cancellations and other things, with several panels having empty slots. Eyes rolled over in my direction.

Now, for various reasons, I haven't been on any panels at science fiction/genre conventions before (other types, yes). Partly this is because I still feel like more than a bit of an imposter at cons, but mostly, this is because I have a very unpredictable illness which may mean that I will have to cancel at the last minute – and may not be able to let anyone know that I am cancelling.

However. Thursday morning I was high on sugar and caffeine (thank you overpriced Starbucks) and trying to figure out how to cancel my ongoing guilt/imposter feeling. So after the Stroll With the Stars a very kind person took me to the convention center, where I met up with another very kind person who offered to take me to Programming.

Through no fault of WorldCon, Programming happened to be located in arguably the Most Difficult To Find Place in San Antonio. The volunteer and I went Round and Round and Round, and then, for a change, Round, and then more Round, before finally finding the place. There I met a clearly overworked woman desperately trying to work out con schedules. I gave her my brief bio and what I'm sorta known for (Oz, poetry, short fiction, children's literature.)

I was offered the Disability in Science Fiction panel.

I use a wheelchair.

I was also warned that the Disability in Science Fiction panel did not have a ramp to the stage but since I was now part of the panel she would try to find a solution. I was also put on the How to Publish Your Poetry panel, and then I took the little Water Taxi back to the hotel.

About an hour later, a poetry editor rejected a couple of my poems, kinda solidifying my thought that this whole paneling thing was really not a great idea, unless everyone wanted to learn How to Get Your Poems Rejected. That, I'm really really good at. I was also worried about the Disability in Science Fiction panel, largely because I mostly read biographies and mysteries, not science fiction, and I knew the other panelists knew more of the field than I did. A couple of very nice conrunners/SMOFs from another con assured me that even if I threw up on other con panelists worse things have happened. So, I stayed on.

Saturday morning Rachel Swirsky texted me to say that Nancy Hightower was moderating a Prose by Day/Poet by Night panel at 11 am which now only had two people on it and could I fill in? I said yes and got more coffee. Another very nice person pushed me over to the SFWA meeting which started at 10.

At 10:30 I left the SFWA meeting to make it to my poetry panel. I pulled out my little Helpful Map where my route had been marked out by a Worldcon volunteer. This meant going down carpet (check!) going up an elevator (check!) following my little map and going forward (check!) finding myself at another convention....


After a short discussion with the People Magazine convention we agreed that I could cut through their convention IF I was escorted. I put my hands up and didn't look at anything (then) and made it to the other side. I decided to visit a bathroom, which went as those things do until I came out and someone accidentally spilled hot coffee over my right hand. Ouch. I headed over more carpet and looked at my watch and my little map and decided to ask for the most efficient route. Luckily at this point Juan Sanmiguel spotted me and took me to the panel, arriving at 10:59. Yes, it had taken me nearly a half hour to get from the SFWA meeting to the panel.

Where the three other panelists (L.E. Modesitt had joined at the last minute) were all up on a stage that did not have a ramp.

So they stayed on the stage and I stayed on the floor with a mike.

Otherwise I think that panel went well although I admit I was kinda sad when Locus came in to take a picture and missed me because they didn't realize I was part of the panel (it was when the others were talking). Oh well. Otherwise, it was a great discussion.

Sunday I headed over to the Disability in Science Fiction panel. There was no ramp to the stage. Instead, tables had been set up and we all sat in front of the stage to accommodate me. This was a relatively large room and people in the back apparently couldn't see me (some people later told me they couldn't figure out why we weren't on the stage until I mentioned that I was in a chair, but even then, they couldn't see that access to the stage was up steps, not a ramp. Also, the panel did not have an ASL interpreter. (I don't think any panels did, but for the Disability panel, that would have been a nice touch, especially since the subject of the Deaf community/writers did come up.)

I'm not going to rehash that panel here except to say that yes, I was upset, and no, honestly, I am not dealing with illness related stuff, including the wheelchair, right now all that well at all (in case it wasn't incredibly obvious.) Working on this. I also suspect that my disappointment about the Alamo (separate post) played a role.


A Florida friend not at the con told me to get away from the con for a bit, so I did, avoiding everyone. And took a nap. Then I came out and crept back over to the convention center for the How to Publish Your Poetry panel. This was me, Jo Walton, Rachel Swirsky and another older gentleman whose name I didn't catch. Jo asked us all to explain why we were on the panel. In answer to this, the gentleman noted that he'd been asked at the last minute to join the panel and be a warm body, and that he had last published poetry in the 1960s. Somewhat later he noted that he had written poetry to pick up girls, and that he had stopped writing poetry when it didn't get him any girls. Rachel Swirsky, who is awesome, instantly responded, "I don't know. I get plenty of girls."

I thought this panel was otherwise ok, although apparently some of my residual anger/emotional reactions were still around; the audience later said they found me intimidating. I don't feel particularly intimidating, so this is a hard word to wrap my mind around. I'm also not sure if I got my main point across, which is that we are currently in what I would call a miraculous, marvelous age for speculative poetry, with poets doing incredible work with traditional forms, experimental forms, fun forms, and just transforming words into beauty, so marvelous I want everyone to be a part of it.

It was an interesting experience overall, but I think I should probably stick to not being on panels for awhile.

Edited to add: To be clear, compared to a couple of past events, this was relatively accessible. The Marriott Rivercenter was mostly ok except for a few hiccups. The real problems happened outside the Marriott Rivercenter hotel, and were generally more associated with San Antonio/typical accessibility things.
A new issue of inkscrawl is up. It includes, among other marvels, my little poem Iron Search, which was loosely inspired by an Italian fairy tale, adapted for children, where the lovely and justly furious fairy Colina tells Lionbruno that he will not see her again until he has worn out seven pairs of iron shoes in his search. I thought that was terribly unfair, and it eventually seeped out into this poem.

Enjoy! And take a look at the other poems while you're there.
1. Today's mail brought something fun: my copy of One Sentence Stories, featuring -- spoiler -- 16 stories told in a single sentence, one by me. You can get the pdf for free at the link, but I have to say, this is a seriously cute little book in printed form. I have it up on my bookshelf of Things I Am In, pulled out from the other books before it gets lost.

2. Speaking of short little pieces, I also have a tiny poem in the latest issue of Dreams and Nightmares, which you can order for sample $5, pdf $1, paypal jopnquog [at] gmail [dot] com.

3. And speaking of tiny creatures, the latest Tor.com post, about the Borrowers again, is up at Tor.com.
So last week the latest issue of Mythic Delirum, containing my poem, "Gleaming," arrived in my mailbox, with its cover of a freaky snowman and an interior of marvelous poems. I've just started dipping into the words and am caught, as always, by the magic.

"Gleaming" is the poem that I submitted completely by accident, not even realizing that I'd done so until weeks later. And by "completely by accident" I mean that I was so unaware that it was in the file I submitted that I didn't name it in the title of the file or on my cover letter, learning that I'd sent it along with three other poems (which I did list on the cover letter and in Excel) only weeks later on Twitter. From the editor. Oh well. The perils of copying and pasting and going through about five different combinations of poems to sell.

In related news, Mike Allen, the editor, rejected the three poems I so carefully picked out, assuming he would love, and grabbed this one instead. Which says something about my ability to figure out what editors will or won't love.

In unrelated to my incompetence news, Mythic Delirium is about to switch from print to ezine form, so you might want to grab one last print issue while you can.

I have other thoughts, but I don't seem to be caffeinated enough to express them, so, more blogging later.
Over on Amazing Stories, blogger Paul Cook has written a scathing commentary on science fiction poetry, saying that it all sucks.

Here's the slight problem with his argument: he is basing it entirely on some poems from Asimov's and one poem from Tor.com.

Now, I don't want to knock either zine. (Especially and for obvious reasons Tor.com.) But, and this is key, neither Asimov's nor Tor.com focuses on speculative poetry. Tor.com publishes a few poems to celebrate National Poetry Month once per year. Asimov's publishes more, but the chief focus there is fiction.

Thus, it's not surprising that only one poem from Asimov's and one poem from Tor.com were mentioned in the very long complete list of last year's Rhysling nominations. (The list from this upcoming year hasn't been released yet, so I just took the most recent one.) The winners were all published in other zines, both online and print. The last time a poem published in Asimov's won a Rhysling Award was in 2003. Not a single poem from Asimov's or Tor.com appeared on the Dwarf Stars list either. Versification, which focuses on reviewing speculative poetry zines and collections, doesn't mention Asimov's, although it does review a Tor.com poem. This...actually might speak well of Asimov's from Cook's point of view, since he also calls most Rhysling Award winners "puerile and, more often than not, embarrassing." Which may or may not be true* -- except that rather than looking at actual Rhysling Award winners, he looks at Asimov's poems, which are not necessarily the same thing.

I'll just skip over Cook's comment that science fiction poets receive "too much sycophancy and worship" (speaking of which, when do I get the sycophants? Is there an order form someplace) and his analysis of the Asimov's poems, and use the polite term for this sort of review: cherry-picking. Because Cook has managed to denounce all of science fiction poetry (yes, the first sentence of the post says "the three main short fiction journals in the field" ** but then assumes, and I would argue incorrectly, that these journals are representative of the speculative poetry field, even though none of these three journals claim to focus on the field) based on limited reading -- and while ignoring the zines that specifically focus on speculative poetry.

Most of these zines are online. (Dreams and Nightmares, which started way back in 1986, and Mythic Delirium are two that remain in print.) These include Goblin Fruit, Stone Telling, Astropoetica, inkscrawl, Through the Gate, and New Myths. And there's Strange Horizons, publishing a mix of poetry and fiction.

This is a very incomplete list. But what's striking about it is that at least two of the zines above -- Stone Telling and Strange Horizons -- are already publishing what Cook claims to want. (At least, Stone Telling is as close as I think any zine can come to "Sylvia Plath in space," although that's not exactly what Stone Telling is doing, and I type that knowing that its two editors may descend upon me in wrath for typing that phrase.) If you are looking for allusive, metaphorical, ambiguous work, poetry that stretches the boundaries of imagination and language, you might well want to look at the above zines.

And then we have his statement here:
There is a reason why SF poetry doesn’t work and it has to do with the nature of science fiction itself. (And that reason is the chief explanation why we don’t return year after year to science fiction poems when we return to Robert Browning, Thomas Hardy, E.A. Robinson, and Wallace Stevens).

Well, except that among the best known poems in English are "The Raven," "The Lady of Shallot," and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," all of which have more than a touch of the fantastic, if not, I admit, robots. Also, Browning and Robinson explored the fantastic every once in awhile, suggesting that yes, we do return year after year to poems that stretch into the fantastic.

We all do this sort of thing all the time of course -- The Bachelor sucks! Therefore, all reality TV sucks! -- me included. And I'm all for speculative poetry criticism. But an indictment of an entire genre based on just a couple of examples from journals not even claiming to represent the field makes me gulp.

On a related note, to avoid the same type of accusation, I think I'll go back and add more to my discussion of sexism in The Count of Monte Cristo before posting that.

* I found the poems in last year's Rhysling anthology to be a mixed bag -- some excellent, some not excellent, but that might be a question of my personal taste.

** This is a problematic statement for other reasons. Analog, Asimov's and F&SF are major in the field, but I'm not sure they can still be called the only main short fiction journals in the field. This is admittedly hard to quantify because it's not always clear if page views come from actual readers or bots, but page views suggest that Tor.com, Clarkesworld and Lightspeed have more readers than the three print journals. In terms of award nominations, which is an even more problematic method of judging readership/influence/etc., in the last three years nominees for the Hugo and Nebula awards have come from those three print journals AND Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Apex, Tor, and anthologies, in both the short story and novelette categories, as well as Giganotosaurus for the novelette category. So I'd say the field for major short fiction journals has expanded, which is an excellent thing for everybody.
I meant to add this to my last post, but got distracted by thoughts of chocolate, as you do. Anyway.

If you missed it, this may be one of the worst opinion posts published by the Washington Post, like ever, containing this particular "gem":
He has overcome numerous obstacles, struggled against opposition both internal and external — in order to excel in poetry, a field that may very well be obsolete.
I say this lovingly as a member of the print media. If poetry is dead, we are in the next ward over, wheezing noisily, with our family gathered around looking concerned and asking about our stereos.
Ok, a, who the hell asks about stereos on someone's deathbed?

Moving on, she continues,
Still I think there is a question to be asked. You can tell that a medium is still vital by posing the question: Can it change anything?
Can a poem still change anything?
I think the medium might not be loud enough any longer. There are about six people who buy new poetry, but they are not feeling very well.
This is followed by some snarky comments about MFA students, but I'll let you read that yourself.

Petri's arguments, such as they aren't, seem to boil down to, a) the inaugural poem wasn't very good (I didn't hear it and haven't read it, so I'm withholding judgement on this point), b) poems are supposed to tell us news, and now that we have the nice media doing that for us we don't need poems, c) nobody is reading poetry, d) nobody is publishing poetry, e) nobody is buying poetry. Also, apparently, Ezra Pound would have keeled over if he'd seen any recent movies. (Well, this last one is probably true, but not for the reasons Petri is suggesting, and I'll just let you all contemplate the image of Ezra Pound watching the last Transformers movie for a moment before we move on.)

Let's unpack:

1. Just possibly -- possibly -- judging the state of poetry in general from the inaugural poem is not the best way to go about doing things. To return to the classical period that Petri seems so happy and ignorant about, all sorts of people wrote all sorts of inaugural poems to celebrate the ascent of various city leaders, Senators, Emperors, prefects and so on to various positions. All of these poems are deservedly forgotten today -- with the fragments that survive showing exactly why nobody in the classical or medieval period thought they were worth keeping. We do use the fragments to get information about particular lives, but great poetry, this is not. And that's ok -- bad poetry is also part of the human experience.

2. As I've noted, back when I was in high school, poetry was difficult to find. Oh, sure, it was assigned in high school to a degree (mostly Shakespeare and a couple of other standard poets) and you could find anthologies with the same poems printed over and over, but that was about it. Poetry reading? Hi, Shakespeare.

Back in South Florida I was able to head to various bookstores and coffeeshops to hear live poetry readings. (They also exist in the Orlando area, but not in trike-accessible places, so I haven't gone.) Yes, most of these have been very earnest poems written by devout Christians, which is not my kinda stuff, but nothing wrong with that either. And you want to know why those poems were worth while? They made the poets happy, and allowed them to explore their relationship with their god and their faith. That seems important, at least to them.

Moving past the Christian poetry movement, you have the explosion of singer/songwriters, who, yes, are writing poetry -- Petri, wrongly telling us that all poetry used to be set to music, should have noticed this. You have rap music which I can't stand but which is doing all kinds of fun things with language and, yes, telling news and telling stories.

And then you have the internet, with its explosion of poetry journals of all sorts, not to mention the possibilities for publishing poetry on a blog, or through a little ebook, or more. You have YouTube which allows people to share their poetry performances with the world. Poetry is not just what I like, or what Ms. Petri likes: it's larger than that.

Poetry dead? Poetry, Ms. Petri, is exploding. It's one of the the things that gives me a bit of hope to cling to in the world. It might not be making earth shattering changes, but it provides moments of beauty and hope. And that is a reason to keep it.

(And honestly, for any member of the media, and more specifically the Washington Post, to be dinging any other part of society for not telling the news right now...are you kidding me?)
The inaugural issue of Through the Gate has just been published, led off by my poem, Rahab. It also contains poems by several other marvelous poets, including Rose Lemberg, Sonya Taaffe, Michele Bannister, Adrienne Odasso and many more.

I'm extremely pleased to be part of the launch of this (and kinda stunned that my poem started things off...that I wasn't expecting.) If you need some myth and magic in your day today, given in words dripping with beauty, this would be where to start.


Jul. 30th, 2012 01:11 pm
Strange Horizons just published my poem, Sisters.

Usually by the time I actually manage to publish a poem I've forgotten why I wrote it in the first place. In this particular case, however, the myth it is loosely based on has haunted me for some time, mostly because of the numbers involved. 50 sisters! All ready to marry at once. 50 sisters! I tried to write a short story focused on one of them, but it flopped, so this is the result instead.
1. So while I was mostly out of it over the last few days, the goblins released the latest issue of Goblin Fruit, which contains my little poem Reversals But that's not important. What's actually important is that, as a special gift to me, the editors INCLUDED VILLANELLES. IN THE PLURAL. Here is C.S.E. Cooney's It Only Takes a Cauldron and a Dash of Thyme, AND ONE WITH A HURRICANE, Melissa Frederick's Hurricane Ophelia (no, really!). The issue has some other remarkable pieces in it as well, so go read it already.

(Mind you, I also sense that this means C.S.E. Cooney is about to outclass all of us again at the next poetry reading, but she just does that sort of thing.)

2. Also while I was out of it Freddy the Pig reread trotted on with chatter about Freddy the Cowboy. I think the next Heyer post should be up tomorrow -- there's been some hiccups in that process, mostly involving me, but I'm hoping we'll be back on an iffy schedule for that one soon.

3. Finally, not about me, but I'm very pleased to announce that the Kickstarter for Clockwork Phoenix 4 managed to get fully funded. Which means that the goals just got a little loftier. If it gets just a bit more money -- say, hitting the $8000 mark -- editor Mike Allen will be able to pay professional rates. So, if you were considering this (and bear in mind that backers get ebooks and particularly generous backers get ebooks AND JEWELRY), consider harder!

(Course, this means I should probably think of actually writing something for this anthology, Hmm. Hmm. Hmm.)

March 2015

151617 18192021
22 23 2425262728


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags