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If you live in the U.S., April is National Poetry Month! (And if you don't, it's still National Poetry Month here in the States, so feel free to join in. Please.)

Here are a few links to get you started:

What the heck is National Poetry Month, anyhow?

How can I read more poetry in my Inbox, for free?


Knopf Poetry Poem a Day

(this one only officially runs through April, though poems sometimes show up at other times)


(there's a drop-down menu with a link to subscribe -- good online / print poetry magazine)

Poetry Daily

(for now, this will get you signed up for a weekly newsletter with poem links -- but soon, there will be a daily poem offered as well)

Sad confession: I subscribe to all of these. And no, I don't always get every one read every day -- but it's wonderful to have something I actually look forward to in my Inbox.

I'll be posting again this month with more links / poem sources, for both haiku & speculative poetry. Poem on!
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I'm a happy weirdie!

Weird Fiction Review #9 (listed as Fall 2018, but appearing in early 2019) and Spectral Realms #10 (Winter 2019), both edited by S.T. Joshi, are now available.

And I've got new poems in both of them.

Weird Fiction Review #9 -- a truly massive (over 400 pp.!) annual compilation of fiction, poetry, articles, & reviews -- is available from Colorado publisher Centipede Press. Find more information & a sale price here:

Spectral Realms #10, THE twice-yearly journal of weird verse & reviews, is available from Hippocampus Press. This issue offers a full index to issues #1-10. Find ToC & ordering information here:
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Passages: The Best of New Myths Anthology Vol. 1, is now available in both print & e-formats.

This nearly 400 page spec anthology from Scott T. Barnes, the editor of New Myths online, offers 25 stories and 8 poems relating to new stages of life. The TOC features many award winning-writers, from Rhylings to Stokers to Writers of the Future.

I am proud & happy to have "In the Absence of Trees," my flash fiction collaboration with Marge Simon, included in this exciting project.

For full TOC, or to order from Amazon:
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Beastly Boys and Ghastly GirlsBeastly Boys and Ghastly Girls by William Cole

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of my favorite childhood library books (I think I must have checked it out at least half a dozen times), & I couldn't resist revisiting it recently via inter-library loan.

I'm happy to report that it's as strange as it ever was. This is a truly dark little item, with children's verses from some unexpected sources (A.E. Housman? John Ciardi?) as well as the classic ones (Lewis Carroll, A. A. Milne, Ogden Nash, Gellett Burgess, Shelley Silverstein). The line drawings by Tomi Ungerer are a treat in themselves.

Some of the offerings seem a little dated. The book was published in 1964, after all, & most of the poems are older than that. Many are cheerfully morbid. The rhymes are infectious, however, and might actually tempt a young reader into liking poetry. Or even writing some.

At least that's how it worked with me.

View all my reviews
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Here in the USA, at least, it's National Poetry Month! (Yes, it really is a thing.) Are you ready?

If not (and I never seem to be), here are some links to get a little more free poetry into your life:
(what the heck IS National Poetry Month, anyhow?)
(Poem-A-Day . . . get a fresh poem in your Inbox every day. Poems M-F are originals, weekends bring you classics. )
(how to sign up for Poetry Daily & their special April Poets' Pick emailings. They're running a fund drive, too, but everything here is free. Poem selections here are from a variety of mainstream poetry journals, & some are in translation.)
(Knopf Poetry Poem-A-Day sign-up. Free, & only for April, but does sign you up for occasional "information" about other poets they publish. I've found it non-intrusive, & the poetry here is excellent.)
(Rattle Poetry. Online & print journal offering yet another chance to have a poem in your Inbox daily. Some of the poetry here is speculative, though Rattle is not a spec poetry journal.)
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Another January, another resounding thump as the latest issue of Weird Fiction Review from Centipede Press lands in my mailbox! This is issue #8, & possibly the largest ever at a whopping 391 pages.

Edited (as usual) by independent Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, #8 is an homage to classic Weird Tales. Eleven tales, thirteen essays and interviews, and nine poems are included -- including one by Yours Truly. I'm particularly excited about Wade German's "Gorgonum Chaos," five pages of well-crafted narrative blank verse.

The production values of this sewn trade paperback annual are first-rate, and include several sections in color plus a full-color cover. All in all, an excellent choice for the long winter evenings still ahead -- and I'm proud to be a part of it.

For full details, or to order:
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Yes, it's a real -- though very new -- thing, thanks to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, and officially proclaimed by the Governor of Minnesota. Find out more here:

November 3rd was selected to honor the 60th anniversary of space dog Laika's historic mission aboard Sputnik 2. She was (thank you, Wikipedia) the first animal to orbit our planet -- and also the first Terran female in space:

In honor of International Speculative Poetry Day, the SFPA has put up a special page of poems (and one lovely artwork) remembering Laika. One of them is mine.

Please go read, enjoy, & remember.
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HWA Poetry Showcase Volume IVHWA Poetry Showcase Volume IV by David E. Cowen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I have a poem in this collection. Furthermore, it's one of the "special mention" poems the jurors chose to recognize this year. Please consider this review as more of a buyers' guide.]

This year's HWA Poetry Showcase celebrates the poetic side of the Dark Art of horror writing, as practiced by the HWA membership. It functions as both a contest and a showcase -- there are 3 Featured Poems (winners) and 3 Special Mention poems ( runners-up). The Kindle edition is fully indexed, and all the poems appear to have survived the conversion from print -- at least, so far as I could tell by comparing to a PDF copy. This in itself is notable!

The poems themselves are very diverse -- mainly free verse, but with a fair number of formal works as well. Most of the poems here are narrative. Subject matter and tone vary widely, though there was quite a bit of graveyard/ body horror. Almost all the works here would be very accessible to readers of prose horror.

An optimistic "Note from the Editor" -- David E. Cowen -- celebrates and comments upon the survival of dark poetry and other speculative verse, even in a time when mainstream poetry seems to be struggling in America.

View all my reviews
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The winners of the 2017 SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest were announced today. Almost 350 entries were received in three categories (dwarf-length, short, & long), from a remarkably diverse and international group of poets.

Three prizes will be awarded in each category. All placing poems will be published on both the SFPA website and the StarShipSofa podcast!

For all the winners, their brief biographies, and a bit more explanation, check here:

[Full disclosure: Yours Truly did enter the contest this year, but will not be found on the list of winners.]
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Just in time for H.P. Lovecraft's birthday (August 20th), Spectral Realms #7 is now available from Hippocampus Press . Edited by S.T. Joshi, this latest issue of the twice-yearly journal of weird verse offers over 120 pages of poems and related articles from old hands and newer practitioners.

Contributing poets include Richard L. Tierney, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, John Shirley, Ashley Dioses, K.A. Opperman, David Barker, F.J. Bergman, and Yours Truly -- among others. (Full disclosure: I have three poems in this issue, all previously unpublished.)

Spectral Realms is published in attractive trade paperback format, with a classic Gustave Doré cover this time around.
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The 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry AssociationThe 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry Association by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This year's Rhysling Anthology offers an excellent snapshot -- make that a whole photo album, or rather a 200 page perfect-bound trade paperback -- of the current state of speculative poetry.

Trends I noticed this year include a swing away from formal poems (though there were a few), a more mainstream tone, and an increased use of mythology outside the traditional Greek/Roman /Norse pantheons. Strongly narrative verse continues to be favored, and pure science fiction (as opposed to fantasy, dark /weird, or "other") seems to be making a comeback.

The overall quality of the poems this time around is impressive. So is the variety, which means most readers are unlikely to enjoy each and every one -- but will assuredly have their horizons expanded.

View all my reviews
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If your National Poetry Month is starting to feel a little tired & mundane, don't forget to check out the 2107 Rhysling Poets' Showcase offered on the SFPA's SPECPO blog.

The Showcase features poems from this year's Rhysling Anthology, a Rhysling Awards voting tool for members of Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association -- and an excellent snapshot of the year's best speculative poetry, for everyone.

Find six exciting poets -- & links to eight of their poems -- here:

And don't forget to check out the rest of the Showcase, as well!
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Looking for more speculative poetry in your National Poetry Month?

Check out SPECPO, the blog site for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association.

This month, all month long, they're showcasing the poets featured in this year's Rhysling Awards anthology -- a voting tool for members, and an excellent read for all fans of SF/F/H poetry.

The first two Showcases are already up, here & here.

Each Showcase offers links to several 2016 poems nominated by the SFPA membership. It's all free (of course), but you can also learn how to order a PDF anthology, pre-order a print anthology, or even join SFPA yourself.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
National Poetry Month starts tomorrow (in the USA, anyhow)!

Are YOU ready?

If not, here's a list of helpful links to take you from bad to verse. Don't get caught with your pantoums down!

What is National Poetry Month, anyhow?

How can I celebrate it?

How can I get more free poetry in my life? (Try Poem-a-Day, Poetry Daily, Rattle -- I use all of these.)

Where can I find out more about speculative (SF, fantasy, horror, etc.) poetry?

OK, that should get you started. I'll be posting more -- I hope -- on poetry all during April.

Truth in LJing: I commit poetry. Fairly regularly. I'm a member of SFPA, & the author of several collections of speculative poetry. My most recent, Dark Energies (P'rea Press 2015) was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Sacrificial NightsSacrificial Nights by Bruce Boston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a dark and effective novella-in-poems (with some prose / prose poem passages), weaving the lives of several characters into a compelling plot. The collaboration of Boston and Manzetti is nearly seamless, and the pages turn far more quickly than one would expect. The overall effect is one of noir hallucination, with several photomontage illustrations (by UK artist Ben Baldwin) enhancing the experience.

Aficionados of free verse, modern prose poetry, or noir fiction will probably find this a five-star ride. I prefer a little more structure and music, but still found myself unable to look away before this urban apocalypse reached its conclusion.

Full disclosure: I was supplied with an e-copy for Bram Stoker Award consideration.

View all my reviews
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Issue #22 of Eye to the Telescope, the SFPA's online journal of speculative poetry, has gone live!

In keeping with the season, this is the "Ghosts" issue. Edited by Shannon Connor Winward, it offers 27 spectral poems ranging from Gothic horror to folktale to spooky SF. There's a range of forms as well, though this issue runs pretty heavily toward free verse.

And, yes, Yours Truly does have something here: the terza rima sonnet "New World Haunting."
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The SFPA (Science Fiction Poetry Association) has announced the winners of the 2016 Elgin Awards. Named for SFPA's founder, Suzette Haden Elgin, these awards recognize the best chapbook and full-length collection of speculative poetry published in the preceding two years.


1st -- Undoing Winter, by Shannon Connor Winward (Finishing Line Press, 2014)

2nd -- Stairs Appear in a Hole Outside of Town, by John Philip Johnson (Graphic Poetry, 2014)

3rd --A Guide for the Practical Abductee, by E. Kristin Anderson (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014)

Full-Length Collection:

1st -- Crowned, by Mary Soon Lee (Dark Renaissance Books, 2015)

2nd -- The Robot Scientist's Daughter, by Jeannine Hall Gailey (Mayapple Press, 2015)

3rd -- Dark Energies, by Ann K. Schwader (P'rea Press, 2015)

Why, yes -- I am feeling slightly frabjous today. (Also very grateful.)

Read more about the contest, and the full list of nominees, here.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)

I’ve been traveling, so this announcement of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2016 Rhysling Awards is more than a little belated . . .

But is there ever a bad time for good news?

Check out the complete results here. (Maybe check the results for Long Form first.)

And, if you feel so inclined, you can still order your own copy – print or PDF -- of the 2016 Rhysling Anthology here. 176 pp. of nicely produced spec poetry goodness!

(Profound apologies for the fizziness – but whenever a formal Lovecraftian sonnet sequence can get this sort of recognition, it’s time for a Grateful Happy Dance.)
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
As I suspect most of the genre-reading world already knows, The Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot was announced yesterday, here.

Congratulations to everyone listed!

And if you scroll all the way down, you’ll see why Yours Truly has gone back into her Grateful Happy Dance.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
The latest issue of Spectral Realms, a weird poetry journal (plus articles & reviews on that topic) has been announced for sale at Hippocampus Press.

Edited by S.T. Joshi, this twice-yearly journal always offers a bumper crop of dark poetry & poets, but this time around it’s massive: 144 pages! Delivered in a nicely produced trade paperback format, it’s less a magazine than a permanent addition to any weird lit lover’s collection. Good for your dark-minded Valentine, too!

For the full TOC and ordering details, check here. The journal ships free within the USA, & free worldwide with any other qualifying purchase from the press.

[Truth in LiveJournaling: yes, I do have two poems in this issue. One is a very up-to-date bit of cosmic horror based on the discoveries of New Horizons.]

April 2019

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