Thursday, June 05, 2014

Amazing Stories: Poetry Round Up June 2014

With this my 6th poetry round up since I started blogging for Amazing Stories, I guess I can call it a Thing. With astonishing regularity (every 2 months) I've trolled the internet to find great genre poetry. I showcase a bit of what I find and hopefully point people toward some poetry they might otherwise have missed.

Here's a snippet:

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but one poet whose work I have admired almost since I discovered SF poetry was a thing is Sonya Taaffe. She writes short fiction and poetry, which can be found in ... She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons.

She pointed me toward five recent online publications of her poetry, as well as a couple of print anthologies, one of which I will review in the coming months. I’ve already mentioned two of the online poems in the previous iteration of the Round-up (in Goblin Fruit and inkscrawl), but there were three I hadn’t consciously seen yet and one more I (re-)discovered on my own....

Go here - "Poetry Round Up June 2014" - to read the rest!


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Saturday, May 31, 2014


My son is a daydreamer. Or maybe he's just a 4 year old genius concocting the next earth-shattering invention(s). If his Lego vehicles are any indication, it might be the latter, but I'll reserve judgement.

I lead with this because I'm happy I can claim it with relative certitude and that I'm not blogging about how my son was instead diagnosed with something (more) serious. You see, his perfectly wonderful and well-meaning teachers (and his classmates as well) had noticed his trips to La-la-land were pretty frequent and came sometimes at very odd moments. They called my husband and I in for a meeting to ask us if we'd noticed anything (well yes, but never thought anything of it) and to suggest we may want to ask a doctor about it and see if it's something more serious than going off to Outer Space.

First, I went to his pediatrician, the doctor here in Paris who knows him pretty well. She said she had no expertise in this area, but that the description called to mind Absence Epilepsy, which, in case you are, like me, clueless, is where the brain takes a break from connecting synapses for about 10 seconds or less. Apparently, it can develop into more serious forms of epilepsy.  So, she called another doctor to ask for a recommendation of a pediatric neurologist that speaks English. She made an appointment for us with her (at the American Hospital in Neuilly) and also an appointment for an EEG to be done at the public hospital in Neuilly a week prior. Unfortunately, the appointment with the specialist was for in a month's time at 18:30 (6:30pm) because she only does consultations on Wednesday evenings.

In the meantime, our son went off for 5 days and 4 nights on Classe Verte, the annual overnight field trip to spend time more involved with nature. He came home totally energized and the teachers said he was a different boy there - attentive, engaged and excited. He still wants to know when the next Classe Verte is!

The EEG test itself was a bit of an adventure in and of itself, but my boy was brave and tried hard to hold it together, even though people touching or messing with his head/hair is something he can't abide. He fell asleep during the test (which I guess is ideal) and the administer said there was no sign of absence epilepsy or anything else unusual. Phew. But we still had to go see the specialist with the scan/results.

Because both hospitals are outside of Paris (even if only just a bit) and very close to one another, I arranged to go to pick up the results of the EEG immediately before our consultation with the neurologist. The radiology desk closed at 5:30pm so we arrived around 5. Waited. 20 minutes. Only to be told the scan couldn't be found. I will spare you the rant about how unfriendly and unhelpful the woman was, raising her voice as if I were deaf and would understand French better that way. I eventually discovered that the doctor who administered the test wasn't in the hospital and I would have to call the next day to try and track the scan down. All she could give me at that time was a general results document. Great. So, I'm supposed to go to the neurologist sans scan?!? Yup. That's what I did. At least the results were negative!

We arrived at the American Hospital 45 minutes early and were told that the doctor was running late. OK, well I was prepared - I'd brought dinner for Dante at least and we had lots of books because we'd visited the library just before embarking on our odyssey. Little did I know we'd wait for 4 and a half hours to see the neurologist! We were the second to last people to see her and the secretary had gone home. The security guard wanted to lock up, but kindly said he'd come back later. The specialist said she'd had an emergency and was terribly sorry but glad that we'd waited. (Well, what choice did we have? It's too hard to get in to see her!)

The doctor had him do some standard things to test his symmetry and what-not. Walk on tip-toe, on his heels, toe to heel in a straight line. The latter he couldn't do, because he was laughing so hard. He thought the whole thing was hilarious. Because naturally, he'd reached Slap-Happy. Better that than desperate because he should've been asleep for an hour by then! Needless to say, she thought he seemed like a perfectly healthy boy with better than average language skills (speaking 4 languages as he does), with no other detectible abnormalities. She would have a look at the scan at a later date and if necessary we could come in again.

Luckily, we caught a bus immediately, but it was still almost 11pm when he was finally asleep. I decided to let him sleep in, instead of going to school on time the next morning. And it was a good thing, he broke his record by sleeping until 9:00am!

I'm exceedingly relieved that he's just, like his mom and his dad before him, a daydreamer.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Amazing Stories: Poetry Review - Scenes Along the Zombie Highway, G. O. Clark

I know I promised a non-Amazing Stories post as my next one, but time seems to fly by these days Scenes Along the Zombie Highway) has gone up and you can read it here. Here's a snippet:
and I haven't had a chance to sit down an write something that WASN'T for Amazing Stories... So now today my latest review (of G.O. Clark's

-->Scenes Along the Zombie Highway is his most recent collection, jumping on the bandwagon of zombie enthusiasm. I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of zombies. I find the idea pretty disgusting and creepy and I don’t enjoy being grossed out. This collection, however, is not full of splatter, blood and guts (although there is plenty of gore – don’t ask me what the distinction is), so if you are looking for that kind of thrill you’d be better off looking elsewhere. Clark’s poems are first and foremost informative, then creepy, grisly and even a little bit tongue-in-cheek funny. At least that’s how they strike me.
I hope you enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Amazing Stories - Poetry Review: Luminous Worlds, by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Hello there!

My most recent article on Amazing Stories has been published! It's a review of a wonderful poetry collection by a wonderful poet: Luminous Worlds, by David C. Kopaska-Merkel. Here's a snippet:

I love the English language. No other language has the richness of vocabulary that English does – and trust me, I have intimate knowledge of way too many other languages as well. English language speakers have borrowed from every other language imaginable (a broad generalization to be sure!) and made it their (our?) own. But you already know that, I suspect. So why do I mention it? Because David C. Kopaska-Merkel knows the English language intimately. He has a massive vocabulary and isn’t afraid to use it! I love this about his poetry. I love looking up words I’m not familiar with. It does make for a somewhat slow reading of some of his poetry. That is, unless you have an equally massive vocabulary (which I apparently don’t – at least when it comes to scientific terms and such). There is a preponderance of words 7 or 8 letters and longer. But don’t let that deter you! Think of it as a celebration of language!
I've included 5 new recordings of poetry from the collection as well as linked to recordings of other poetry of David's that I've recorded. I hope you'll head over there and read and listen and enjoy!

My next post in this space will be something non-science-fiction, I promise!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Amazing Stories: Review - Mythic Delirium No. 30 - a Transition

Hi there!

I'm back with another article on Amazing Stories. Read it here. Here's a little excerpt:
This time around I’m doing something different and reviewing a single poetry journal. But this isn’t just any magazine. This is Mythic Delirium edited by Mike and Anita Allen, a print magazine, which has been published for 15 years - a good long time – and which will cease to be a print journal and transition fully to an online ‘Zine, with this, its 30th issue.

They have put together a retrospective celebration of sorts. Mike says in his editorial that Anita did the choosing and it couldn’t be a “best of” sort of issue – there were just too many poems to choose from – and too many good ones - but rather, her choices are meant to show the breadth and depth of poetry that has been presented in its pages since the beginning.

There are also 4 poems that I recorded especially for this review and a couple of other links as well. I also included some of the poet's thoughts on their poem in this issue and how they feel about Mythic Delirium transitioning to a digital only journal. I wanted it to be a sort of celebration of a wonderful print run for genre poetry!


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Family: My brother's family in France

It's been a while since I blogged about anything personal. I've been pretty caught up in blogging for Amazing Stories and podcasting for StarShipSofa (and others), that it must seem like that's all I blog about anymore. Well, that changes today!

My brother, Tom and his wife, Barb and their son, Sam came to France a week ago today. They departed this morning, which is why I have a moment to blog in the first place. It was their first trip to the City of Light and only their 2nd trip to Europe (the last being for our wedding in 2006!) and it was all too brief. But boy did they (we) pack it in!

We spent the weekend on the coast of Normandy. My brother had one "druther" and that was to visit the historical sites of the Allied Forces landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944 during WWII. We visited the Memorial Museum in Caen after a picnic lunch on Saturday.
 Then we drove to Bayeux and our hotel. From there we were headed for Omaha beach, but veered off to visit the American Cemetery instead. Omaha Beach is a long stretch beach which we could see from the edge of the steep hill above it where the cemetery lies. The Cemetery is a beautiful, peaceful, moving place to visit. Here are some pictures:

We had a nice Norman meal (not good for Tom's gout, however!) and called it a night.

The next day we went straight to Pointe du Hoc, where the American Rangers climbed the 90 foot cliff to seize the German's lookout and anti-aircraft missile launchers etc. Even 70 years later the devastation is still evident. It was sobering to climb into the cement bunkers and see the bullet holes (gouges, really) in the walls just inside the doorways. It's a beautiful landscape, however and we had gorgeous weather. Here are a few pictures:

After lunch at the only place open for miles and miles we went back to Bayeux to visit the Cathedral (Notre-Dame of Bayeux), which was very beautiful and to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry.

There was an elderly lady in the Cathedral who pointed out the stained glass window honoring all the nations that contributed to the liberation of France from the Nazis. She bowed her head, touched her heart and said, "Merci".

We then went and saw the Bayeux Tapestry (or embroidered mile of cloth to be precise), which is extraordinary. the have it in a horseshoe shaped hallway and you can view it with an audio commentary of the story the tapestry tells, which is highly recommended! They have a children's version, but I'm not sure Dante quite understood how it worked for quite a while. The English version was quite entertaining. It was delivered in a deadpan British voice, which reminded me of Monty Python: "The march went through a village where, lamentably, there were a few houses which had to be destroyed. Well, never mind."

It was all-in-all a very moving weekend!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Amazing Stories: Poetry Round-up April 2014

Just in time for National Poetry Month I've had another stroll through the interwebs in search of great poetry for my bi-monthly Round-up on Amazing Stories Magazine. Great SF poetry, that is. But there's also quite a bit of good poetry, full stop. Head over and read it here, please! Here's a teaser:
April 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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