Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Poetry Planet No. 14 - Elgin Award Showcase 2014 Part 1

This week on StarShipSofa No. 367 you'll hear the next Poetry Planet. In it I showcase the winning and placing poetry collections of the Elgin Award 2014. I read at least one poem from each collection and talk a little about the collection itself and the poet. Below you'll find links to the collections and poets as well as the reviews I've done of the collections on Amazing Stories, which contain more audio examples.

Winner:
Demonstra, by Bryan Thao Worra.

2nd place:
Unexplained Fevers, by Jeannine Hall Gailey. Review on Amazing Stories (with more audio).

3rd place:
Dark Roads - Selected Long Poems, by Bruce Boston. Interview (Part 2) on Amazing Stories (with more audio from Dark Roads). Do check out Part 1 as well!

I'll follow up with the chapbook winners and honorees in a few weeks! Stay tuned!

* * *

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cinderella Jump Rope Rhymes on Amazing Stories and other news

So, after taking last week off, I'm back with a post about an anthology of poems based on the familiar Cinderella Jump Rope Rhyme, a production of Cabinet des Fées and published by Papaveria Press. If you ever jumped rope in a schoolyard in the USA, at least through the '80's you'll know this rhyme. Some talented poets have lent their twisted minds to creating some new verses. They are fun! And the proceeds go to a good cause. Have a look and a listen - I recorded excerpts. The artwork for this, by Adam Oehlers,  is great. Go there just for that, if nothing else!

*** 

In other news, I finally finished a long-ish story narration, complete with faux-gregorian chant! "Trial By Fire," by Matthew Iden is part of a shared-world anthology - Walk the Fire 2 - May the Ferryman Take You - created and edited by John Mierau. I backed this anthology when the editors ran a Kickstarter to fund it. They didn't reach the stretch goal to make the audiobook available for free to all backers, but I'm expecting as a co-creator I'll get a copy anyway! :-) The book and the audiobook will come out later this month (I believe) and I will let you know when it does.

So that's 2 things (sort of) down from the list I created in the last post. Yay!

Remember, if you would like to listen to anything that I've recorded, be it music or narrations you can go to my website (shiny, shiny) and follow the link "Recording" there. Most everything is available for free. I've only done a few things that you would have to buy to listen to, but that's clear on the website. 

Not so interested in Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror literature or poetry? I haven't done much that isn't, to tell you the truth, but you may be interested in one particular story, especially if you are a musician or music buff or just interested in a good story. Kim Stanley Robinson wrote the wonderful "The Timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic, 1942" which ran on StarShipSofa No. 249, despite not being an SF story at all. If you like Beethoven's 9th symphony, go check it out.

* * *


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Amazing Stories - Poetry Review: Mourning Jewelry, by Stephanie M. Wytovich

So, I don't have multiple items for you this week, just one article published on Amazing Stories Magazine: Poetry Review - Mourning Jewelry by Stephanie Wytovich.

This is the first mostly negative review I've published. It's not that it's bad poetry per se (although it's not excellent either), it's just a little over the top for me. Death, death and more death. And then death again. BUT if this is your thing, then you'll probably enjoy this collection and perhaps even the review. Feel free to let me know in the comments there, if you have a different opinion and can tell me why.

And now, because I have a dearth of things to announce, how about I list the items on my To Do List?


  • Narrate Trial by Fire by Matthew Iden from the shared world anthology Walk the Fire 2
  • Record and put together the next Poetry Planet(s) - Elgin Award Showcase, Animals & Creatures, SFPA Poetry Contest, Rhysling Award Showcase (because by the time I get the Elgin Award one finished they'll have announced the Rhysling Award...)
  • Record Cthulhu Haiku II and other Mythos Madness (OMG this has been on my plate for so long, but it's not my fault, really!)
  • Narrate The Potter's Daughter by Martha Wells (!) for Far-fetched Fables (podcast)
  • Update website to list the poetry recorded (got my website updated - yay!)
  • Write the next Amazing Stories post (and the next and the next!)
That's enough to keep me busy well into next year!

Diane

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Various and Sundry - Poetry Planet: Dwarf Stars, and Fearworms

Last week was almost another week of vacation for the adults of this family. Dante went to school, except for Tuesday, because it was a holiday here in France, and so my husband took Monday off as well because why not?!? The organization he works for was moving its offices on Friday so he was home from work then as well.

We went to see Interstellar on Monday morning (at 9:30 am)! We weren't the only couples with that idea - the theater was almost full! I really liked it, although there are the requisite problems that arise from thinking too much about the flow of time. I had one BIG problem with the movie and I've read a total of 2 reviews of the film and both mentioned the same thing: the music was mixed too loudly. There were times when I couldn't understand the dialogue for the booming music. That said, the music was amazing. Quite effective, except when I was thrown out of the narrative conscious of the loudness of it. Sigh. And on top of it, Matthew McConaughey, really has turned into quite a fine actor.

Tuesday we did the Eiffel Tower. Finally. Magnus and I visited about 8 years ago, pre-Dante, but we hadn't been up with Dante since we moved to within spitting distance. It was wonderful. Dante really enjoyed the excursion.

Friday, Magnus and I went out to a fancy restaurant for lunch. Quinzième, Rue Chautry, 70015 Paris - chef Cyril Lignac. The food was wonderful, traditional, but quite interesting French cuisine. The chef came out to greet us. Check out this amazing dessert:



Today, I have 2 items of interest if you are a poetry lover:

First, a new edition of Poetry Planet (No. 14)! It's been awhile, and this is not the one (Animals & Creatures) that's been in the works for over a year, but rather "The Dwarf Stars Awards Showcase 2014". It's a short and sweet one, due to the nature of the short short poetry. You can find it on StarShipSofa Episode No. 363 - together with a story by Megan Lindholm aka Robin Hobb! I swoon.

The next Poetry Planet will be the Elgin Award Showcase for 2014. Last year, I put the two awards together in one podcast, but it was taking me to long to get it together, so I decided to split them up, especially, since I thought it might run way too long if I did it all in one. After that, I'd like to slip the Animals & Creatures one in before tackling the SFPA Contest 2014 and The Rhysling Award Showcase editions.

Second, a review of an upcoming poetry collection by Robert Payne Cabeen, Fearworms - Selected Poems went up on Amazing Stories today. I've recorded 2 of the 12 poems collected and linked to the audio of two more, so I hope you'll go read and listen.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"The Dritty Doesen -

Today I bring you something different - my friend and fellow Sofanaut (someone who does regular pieces for StarShipSofa.com), Matthew Sanborn Smith has published his first collection of short stories. It's called the Dritty Doesen. I'm posting the "title" story in full below. I hope you'll take a few minutes and read it and then go and check out the rest of the collection here at Amazon. Matt tells me "Dritty Does" is a pretty surreal story, but perhaps it would appeal to the poetry types who read my blog. The whole collection is a wonderfully bizarre set of stories as only Matt can tell them. But first, a little introduction by the author himself:

Thank you, Diane, for sharing my story! The Dritty Doesen is my first collection, full of my least reasonable stories. As you might imagine I named it in honor of the following story, because Dritty Does is the least reasonable of them all. The collection contains eleven more stories (most of which are easier to understand than this one), and behind the scenes looks at how each of them came into being. If that wasn't enough, you get a gorgeous cover by the great Galen Dara! Enjoy!
And as an aside, if you don't know Matt's podcast "Beware the Hairy Mango" and love a good manically weird story that will only take 5 minutes to listen to, this is the podcast for you! 

Now on to the story!

Cover art copyright © 2014 Galen Dara

DRITTY DOES

Dritty heaved and drew heaven-long strings of lights in from across the nocturnal sea. The ocean-wide song of them rocking in the water sang itself, played itself out as it poured off the world stage. It didn’t need to be done. Nothing needed to be done but in Dritty’s mind. He who put old batteries in all of the stars so they might flicker overhead in the formerly dead night when comets and meteors tired of their running, panted tongue-sweaty and drank the waters just beneath the horizon. And he who swept those same slackers in his mastodon nets to haul them in and swing them back up into play. They hated him for it and would have plotted his destruction had they more than a jackal’s sense and distractions.

I myself for extended years smothered, too tied up in the Kepla fires to overly concern myself with any of it. Over time they burned black sigils into both of my souls, scarring me with forever regrets and excuse enough for a free responsibility ride my whole crawling slow life. I did revel in Dritty’s water music, however. Its turquoise spray cooled my skin, made my flames pop. His tropical winds washed the ash from my body. I rolled and I lolled and before I knew it, I forgot the bindings and they burned themselves through. I fell free again and damned myself to no avail. Terrifying scary. I ran to find the next prison so I could curse and cry and scream at injustice once more. So I could feel safe again.

In time I came to hate Dritty, though I couldn’t point to why. The troubles into which I sank myself never seemed deep enough, the drink never drunk enough. I cried chilling in sweat-soaked beds, I scratched at my father’s eyes, felt the acupuncture thirst and still I starved. Maybe down in my intestines where I never saw, only felt, I held some Dritty-shaped lump of blame in there. I didn’t like to think of him.

I always thought of him.

When the Dread locked down the weevils, they fled scamper-shot into their wholes and all talk of Revolution became all talk. Dritty cranked the World on its axis with a creaking and groan of that old wooden wheel that made the savage thunder meep in comparison. There lived villages out there, I tell you, villages that knew what went on and flew their kites high into the black sky beyond the blue to catch the super orbital photon winds which came only one time in a Dritty mood. In all the little worlds of frying eggs and falling loves and the sweet taste of coconut, each and every thing of us made a little world in each and only event. We all ran worlds, just a question of their scale. Dritty made the big world happen.

In my grey wanderings I fled from my own void up the skystep to find the old Dritty cotton-candying the winds. I felt the weight of everything there in his red barn lair. His single rooster, a Rhode Island Magnetite Red, perched permanently overhead, bowed and dizzy. Straw floors gritted and stabbed my bare feet. A googly-eyed froggy magnet pinned one single paper to a vast rippling expanse of refrigerator door that doubled propping up the Moon. The paper, done on the Indonesian Postal Service in fat orange crayon, sported a B-minus in red ink and a smiley sticker above the words “Good Try!” This, of all of his accomplishments merited the door. My eyes ran. So sweet. Simple.

Watching him there I contemplated the even bigger world, the climb of magnitude up that made ones like us look out and wonder. Well, I just felt the weight of even everythinger. I nearly fell faint with the crushingest pressure that the universe knows as Anxiety. But I saved me by a glance of Dritty’s mighty oaken limbs, muscles bulging from muscles, hewn from the iron cores of stony worlds and they worked. They worked our corner of cosmos like the watch-spring whipping tensions of spiral galaxies, forces of nature, natures of force, and habanero pepper seeds. And there came no fatigue in those old bones. Lactic acids splashed off of him, beaded up and rolled from his Armor-All D.A., impenetrable!

Power and potential never occurred to him. He just felt the need to work those big machines and he galumphed off, from one to another, spinning plates on their poles while gamma radiation bursts played the circus music behind him. Beneath his fingertips, life tasted lemon sharp and ran pug wild and Dritty never even knew it. He just lived. Just lived. His lungs drew hard and his hot blood forced itself through supple, long arteries, roaring rivers pounding dams to dust. He bellowed from Hindenburg lungs to rock the space-time foundations until a little blip in the vast infinity/eternity saw dinosaurs riding cowboys in Tokyo Bay. One wonder-spitting child, racing from thing to glorious thing as if his life could never fit it all.

Only when I took in the absolute of him, that entire life captured in his body, the oppressive wholeness spilled off of me like it never soaked into him. I went to him, rubbed his vast Volkswagen shoulders and I thanked The Allness for him, for that great Paul Bunyan chest, for the magma heart that burned white within it. He was too busy working worlds to shrink before their masses, more alive than that whole damned writhingeatingfuckingshitting biosphere.

In that next instant he turned to me. His large, calloused hand cupped my face. I smelled the ozone on his breath till my pee hole burned and hot liquid ran down my inner thighs. So unknown, Dritty’s attention on me! Why?

He looked in me. I stood bare for the most intimate of all physical exams. My liver, my kidneys, my brains, all saw sunshine for the first time in their lives. All of us needed to cringe in his eyelight. None of us could, exquisite and painful.

Your beautiful fires,” he said, “They have become unkindled.” He held me, wrapped those tree trunk arms around me gentle as a kitten, scritchily licked the salt from my body. He healed my wounds, the runes on my skin and the ruins deep below its surface. I took him into me, me, long toes, long breasts and he wide and weighty. We disturbed the silk of caterpillar nest which held the heavens in place. Worlds shook with our exertions and gravity boiled.

When he moved on to the next piece of existence, I sat on the skystep and found myself for the first time devoid of have-tos. My former addictions, every niggling one, from morphine to blinking, scattered on the winds like dandelion seeds. Directions shot out of me like rays of laser, but I would sit here for a while and catch my breath. I stretched my corneas and watched my baby at play, five thousand miles away.

* * *

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Trip to Lyon & Posts on Amazing Stories


I went to Lyon, France with my family for a few days of tourism recently. We stayed in a nice little hotel on the Presqu'ile (the "Almost Island") of Lyon. The town is good sized, but much of it is within walking distance. They also have a great public transportation system with subway, trams and electric bus routes. We got a 2-day tourist pass, which gave us free access to many museums, the transportation system and discounts on other stuff. We made good use of it!

Before I get into it, with pictures and all I'd like to tell you quickly about the other things that have been going on lately:


I forgot to post about the Speculative Poetry Round Up that went up on Amazing Stories recently. In it, I showcase the website Niteblade, The poetry in Amy H. Sturgis' Halloween Countdown, The SFPA's annual Halloween Poetry Reading and their online journal Eye to the Telescope, a poem by F.J. Bergmann and the Mythic Delirium Anthology. Enjoy!

* * *
My most recent post on Amazing Stories ("Music - Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music, Vol. 1 Craig Leon") went up today. It's on the subject of Music, so something a little different. My friend and colleague Craig Leon has had some of his pioneering electronic music from the early 80's re-released (and improved) on CD and vinyl ("Early Electronic Works - Nommos Visiting" and "Anthology of Interpolanetary Folk Music, Vol. 1 respectively). Since the inspiration for the music is pretty Science Fictional I was given permission to feature the CD and record on my blog at Amazing Stories. 

* * *


This is what we did in Lyon (not necessarily in this order) with accompanying pictures.

We went to the Miniatures and Cinema Museum, which was great and a big hit with the boy (Whew!).



We ate MANY very good meals with way too much food. We tried many of the local specialties, such as quenelles (a sort of huge, oblong dumpling often served with a lobster sauce), Saucissons briochés (a sort of huge pig in a blanket), coussin (chocolate pralines) and way too much more at the special Bouchons restaurants as well as other places.















We went on a boat cruise on the Saone, but despite our intentions didn't go on any others (on the Rhone, for example). We meant to go to the Planetarium, but we got lost and ended up at the (free) zoo instead, which was really nice, but brief, because it was already late in the day.



















Dante had three trips on the carrousel. We saw the Roman ruins, which were amazing.
















We walked along the top of the hill trying in vain to find the Roman Aqueducts on the way to the Basilica Fourviére.















On our way back to Paris we stopped in Auxerre for lunch, which turned out to be an unexpected gem of a town. It was full of half-timbered houses and BIG churches. We only went into two of them. The first church (with the red doors) was empty except for us, so I sang a bit of Hildegard von Bingen. It was the perfect acoustic for her music - live, but not too much so.




* * *

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Liminality and Undoing Winter

Last week was a weird week. I decided a couple of weeks ago that I had enough material and reviews/articles half written that I could post on Amazing Stories every week for a little while. I was all set to finish up my review of Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry on Tuesday but not without a computer! A sequence of problems locked me out of my computer and I couldn't access my article text or the poetry recordings, so Steve Davidson (the editor of Amazing) graciously said I could submit it when it was finished and he'd put it up whenever. Whenever came on Friday. Unfortunately, I was at a wedding in Germany (where I don't have a data plan and didn't have wifi) Friday afternoon when the article was published. I didn't get home until Saturday evening. At which point I thought I'd just combine that review with the next one.

Here's a snippet from my review of Liminality:

I’ve reviewed a single issue of a magazine (and thus, by default the magazine itself – Mythic Delirium). This time I’m reviewing an entire issue of a brand new online magazine. Liminality – A Magazine of Speculative Poetry, edited by Rhysling-winning poet Shira Lipkin and Dwarf Stars Award-winning poet Mat Joiner, just published it’s inaugural issue in September. It is, as advertised, a magazine, which focuses on Speculative Poetry. Each quarter poems “that touch the heart as much as the head; poems of the liminal, the fluid, and the fantastic.” (From the About Us page of the site) By “liminal” they mean poetry that isn’t easily categorized, that “shifts shape”, changes or is transformative, and which embraces diversity. They want to hear from new writers, but publish established poets as well. I welcome another magazine on genre poetry. We find ourselves in an era where poetry can blossom from every crevice and be showcased quite successfully.

I take a look at the lovely cover art. And I've recorded 4 poems for your listening pleasure!

This week, I've reviewed a little chapbook, Undoing Winter, Shannon Connor Winward. There are only 11 poems in this little book, but they are so worth it. Go read the review, please. There are also 3 complete poems in audio. Here's a snippet:


This chapbook is probably the least speculative of all so far (although you might remember that John W. Sexton’s The Offspring of the Moon and Sandra Kasturi’s Come Late to the Love of Birds aren’t really genre). I believe it is worth including here simply because it is of such high quality and Shannon’s body of work tends toward the Speculative. Several of the poems of a more speculative nature have been previously published in the magazine Pedestal MagazineIdeomancer and The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, so who am I to deny it a space here?
Enjoy!

* * *

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Interview Part 2 and Reviews in print

Today the 2nd part of my interview with Elizabeth Barrette came out on Amazing Stories: "Interview with Elizabeth Barrette Part 2" . Here's a snippet from the beginning:

Thank you for joining me as we continue our conversation with Elizabeth Barrette, Poet and Wordsmith. If you missed part one, you can find it here.
Today, Elizabeth tells us more about her activities in Crowdfunding her poetry, the poets who have been influential in her own writing, recommendations for further poetry reading and the usefulness of publishing your poetry on clay tablets.
Sound intriguing? Go read the rest of it! Thank you.

* * *
In other news, I've officially begun my reviewing career with the SFPA's journal Star*Line. In it, I review a collection horror poetry by the poetry editor of Raw Dog Screaming Press, Stephanie Wytovich. It will be printed in truncated form in the print magazine, but you can read it in full on the SFPA website: Mourning Jewelry, by Stephanie Wytovich. You'll have to scroll down, the posts are in alphabetical order by title.

* * *

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Narrations and Interviews

It's an eventful day, y'all!

I just found out that my second professional narration is up on Audible! For those who don't know, Audible.com is the major provider of audio books.

Size Matters is an Erotic Fantasy set in Chris Lester's Urban Fantasy world Metamor City written by Nobilis Reed. I've listened to a lot of the Metamor City podcast and it's a fascinating listen. I've done several narrations for Nobilis Reed. He's a good and patient employer. So it was a yes-yes opportunity. Nobilis didn't tell me until after he'd finished production on it that he was submitting it to Audible. I couldn't be more thrilled. This means that I have a bit of an in as I set myself up as an Audiobook Exchange Narrator. The audiobook costs $6.95 or £4.99 (on Audible.co.uk). 

* * *

The next big thing for today is that my most recent article on Amazing Stories has come out. I interviewed Elizabeth Barrette and it will appear in 2 parts. Today in Part 1 you'll hear 2 full poems plus Elizabeth and I talk about her myriad writing activities, her inspiration and process as a poet. She has some advice for new poets on attitude, publishing and submitting as well. Enjoy! 


* * *

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Amazing Stories - Poetry Review - Wolf Skin by Mary McMyne

I have a new review up on Amazing Stories - a wonderful chapbook by Mary McMyne: Wolf Skin. I really enjoyed this little volume, I hope it comes through in the review (which comes complete with 3 poems read, in their entirety by moi). Here's a snippet:

I don’t know how long it’s been going on, but a lot of Alternate Fairy Tales come into my To-Read-and-Review Inbox. (I know I said that about Horror Poetry too, but it’s true, these are the two main sub-genres I receive, and sadly, little actual Science Fiction Poetry.) Like most people, I’m familiar with most Fairy Tales in a basic way, but unlike many people in the writing biz I didn’t grow up with an intimate love of them borne of the possession of some beloved volume. Additionally, I believe I basically grew up knowing merely the Disney Versions! Oh, the horror! The poor deprived soul! (I can just hear you now!) I know. But as an adult I have indeed remedied that by reading much of the Brothers’ Grimm (in German) as well as others, albeit less systematically, and have perhaps delighted more in the alternate versions by modern writers as a result. Would I like these twisted fairy tales at all if I had a beloved “original” version that I’d known from childhood? And no, Disney doesn’t count, because while I love those movies, it is not at all a stretch for me to realize that they are almost unrecognizable when compared to the originals. I’m much less forgiving when it comes to adaptations of books and stories.
My re-education, as it were, stems mostly from poetry not novels, although I’ve read a few novel-length retellings – most notably Beauty, by Sherri Tepper and Briar Rose, by Jane Yolen. But I love the succinctness, the brevity of what it takes to subvert a well-known fairy tale in a poem. I love what a capable poet can do to give a character added depth, more back-story, which totally changes your emotional attachment or simply to re-invent the tale altogether, spinning it onward from the traditional ending or telling it from an alternate point of view, in such a narrow space. Mary McMyne is one of these capable poets.
Mary McMyne begins and ends Wolf Skin not with alternate fairy tales, but with poems about those ethereal winged creatures: Butterflies (and moths). They are not fairy tale creatures in the least, but I think she uses them in a way which mimics our feelings toward the characters found in fairy tales. Fluttery, flying creatures serve the same purpose, meaning that they’ve become Fairy Tale Creature allegories for some innate desire – mostly of Flying.
 Please head over to Amazing Stories to read the rest and to listen to the poetry! Enjoy!

* * *
In other news, I'm slowly whittling away at all the narrating gigs I signed up for. Finally finished that paid gig and am told that it's being submitted to Audible! That would be quite awesome if I can claim to be an Audible narrator. I've been toying with the idea of signing up to be one of the narrators on Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) and now I think I must. But I really have to fix my set-up first! The room I record in is really too loud (traffic) and boomy for truly professional recordings.

I'm also making head-way on the next Poetry Planet (Animals 6 Creatures). I hope I'll be able to get it up before the end of the year - Ha! No really, the SFPA has just announced the winners of the Dwarf Stars Awards and the Elgin Awards, so I really should do a podcast on those. Or maybe I'll just write a post for Amazing Stories and record some poetry for it. Ah we'll see. So many plans, so little time!

* * *

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WorldCon72 - LonCon3

So, a week after the fact, I'm still basking in the glow that was the World Science Fiction Convention in London. Thanks to my long-suffering husband, whose idea it was I go by myself without my family in tow. While I would have loved to spend the time with them, I think Magnus would've been bored and the boy too. There were some things for kids to do, but not quite as young as he is (almost 5), and the bulk of activities were clearly for adults.

Sofanauts!!!
I had ambitions and the desire to attend a million panels on various subjects and with my favorite people in the the field of Science Fiction. I had checked a minimum of 2 events that interested me for each hour of the con! Some hours as many as 8 events (panels, concerts, plays, kaffeeklatsches, etc.) were of interest. In a way, this is great. It meant that the organizers were in fact organized. There were many, many interesting topics (YA literature, Gender politics/issues, Sherlock Holmes, etc.) and many people involved who I respect and admire and wanted to hear speak and discuss live (rather than just reading their books, blogs, status updates and tweets). On the other hand, it was impossible to choose. And when it came down to it, I chose to hang with my fellow Sofanauts and to participate in small group discussions via Kaffeeklatsches and Literary Beers.

I didn't arrive until late afternoon Thursday, so I went straight to registration, which thankfully didn't take long. I then rushed to get a private rehearsal for the Retro Hugo Ceremony, which would be that evening. Then I rushed off to find Amy H. Sturgis' hotel room (very nearby). Amy is the creator of "Looking Back at Genre History", which runs monthly on StarShipSofa. I love her talks and her bubbly personality, not to mention that the topic is just fascinating (Go listen!)!! Anyhoo, so she's much more petite than I imagined her! But just as warm and delightful as in cyber space. She let me change into my (ok, I'm going to say it) my CosPlay outfit. Ha! I put on a sort of old-fashioned floor length chiffon dress, and did my hair and make-up 40's style. But it was more effort than a lot of others put in. teehee! We went over to ExCel and met Tony C. Smith (do I need to tell you? He's the host of StarShipSofa) and Steve Bickle (a long-time Listener-Sofanaut) and went in to the reception for the nominees. It was lovely. I introduced myself to Mary Robinette Kowal (who was one of the hosts of the ceremony) and gawked at Connie Willis. And had this picture taken:

 When we went into the auditorium for the Awards none other than Connie Willis sat next to me! And she was delightful! She has been around and involved in SF fandom for a long time and she let loose with little pithy remarks through-out. I sat next to probably the two most knowledgeable people when it concerns this award year. It was so much fun!

Alas, Raymond Palmer didn't win the award and so I didn't get to rattle off the speech Steve Davidson wrote for me (complete with words like "fen") or hold an actual Hugo Award (better than the Oscar if you ask me!). I did get all nervous when they were announcing the nominees though, so it was a bit of a disappointment. Vicarious diva-ness is also fun!

I had managed to procure a hotel room nearby, so I didn't have to make the hour and a half trip to Richmond to stay with my friends Roy and Anna. I did stay with them for the remainder of the con though and it was wonderful to see them.

The next day I got to squee in fan-girlish delight right at the very beginning. I checked the registration desk to see if one of Sofanauts who said he'd be there was (he was not), and who do I see sitting on a table fiddling with his smart phone? None other than Kim Stanley Robinson! I was very uncertain whether I should approach him and bother him but while I was dithering, he looked up and caught me staring. I introduced myself and said it was a pleasure to meet him. Why yes, a pleasure, says he. Of course, I really didn't expect him to know why he should know me, but I'd failed to say it right away, so the blank, gracious smile I received was warranted. When I told him that I had narrated his story "The Timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic, 1942" he jumped off the table he'd been sitting on and gave me a big hug! I hadn't expected that! So, I'll spare you the word-by-word conversation we had, but I discovered he was waiting for some friends to arrive. One arrived very soon, an author I didn't know, Michael Blumlein, MD, and when I heard who else they were waiting for (Alastair Reynolds), I decided to outstay my welcome and wait for him. His story, "The Sledge-maker's Daughter", is one of the first narrations I did for StarShipSofa. We all had a great chat. I was honored to stand there with these 3 great authors. The rest of the day is a bit of a blur.

Captain America needs to work out more!
Over the course of the weekend, I spent time with the Sofanauts (Jeremy Carter, Katherine Inskip, Luke Smith, Laurence and his dad, Gary Main and finally Nick Eden), never managed to get together with any other Amazing Stories Bloggers, but I did meet Mari Ness and Fábio Fernandez for lunch and ran into Ian Watson in the hallway. I went to a panel discussion on InfoDumps and a Kaffeeklatsch with my man Stan Robinson (heehee) on Friday (he must have thought I was stalking him!) and tried to go hear Amy's Sherlock Holmes talk but the room was full when we arrived (before it had even started)! Such disappointment. I went to Kaffeeklatsches with Amal El-Mohtar (who I've interviewed and whose poetry I've podcasted and blogged about many times) and Elizabeth Bear (story narrations - "Tideline" and "Love Among the Talus"), which were great fun talking about cartoons and comics for kids with Amal and more about writing with Bear. I saw a great independent film screening of "Search for Simon". I met Mary Turzillo (poet, Rhysling and Elgin winner, whose work I've podcasted and reviewed) and her husband, Geoffrey A. Landis (whose work I've also podcasted) and introduced myself to Ken MacLeod (I narrated his story "Lighting Out" and more recently a poem for a review on Amazing) and his PR assistant from Orbit books was excited to meet me and take my email address for linky-linkage. I attended a great interview with Robin Hobb and her editor and later got the book I bought in the Exhibition Hall signed (killing my knees standing for an hour and a half in line!).

I managed to resist buying hundreds of books - only bought a few, but looking at them was fun:

First editions. That one with the hand? 3450.00 Pounds Sterling!!! 

 


Attending the Hugo Award Ceremony was interesting. I wasn't able to vote in all categories, because I didn't read, listen to or look at everything. But I was pleased with the results none the less. All the nominees were deserving of the awards, so I think I might have been pleased with the results regardless...

The Gate-crashing panels Panel - pre-Robin Hobb reading
Robin Hobb
I went early on Monday morning to the ExCel Center because I had time to kill before my train back to Paris at 1pm. Robin Hobb was reading and I wanted to get a seat so I went in well before 10am when it was scheduled. I was a little confused, because there were 5 young women sitting at the table in the front where the panels sit, but there's nothing scheduled before 10am, so who are these people and why are they talking in front of a full audience? They turned out to be the impromtu panel on Gate-crashing panels and they were hilarious! I think you can see part of the "discussion" on YouTube if it interests. They were just 5 people who thought it would be fun to pretend. It was. I think a lot of people were confused, including Robin Hobb, because she was about 10 minutes late starting...

The trip home was uneventful. I have to say that my first con experience was an overwhelmingly positive one. I met lots of lovely people and that's when I really had the most fun. I wish I could've gone to more panels for interesting discussions and I'm sorry I missed the orchestra concert - but I had dinner with Roy and Anna instead. You can't do everything at these things. Maybe if I ever plan to go to another one with more lead time, I could even help with a poetry track or something. I know there's been some bad luck and ill-planning in the past, but I think it's a shame to have almost nothing on poetry at a WorldCon. The one really good panel, "Better World-building through Poetry" was at the same time as the Retro Hugo Ceremony. Oh well.


* * *









Friday, August 22, 2014

I have little excuse

Hello folks!

There's been a lot of activity here at Poetry Planet Headquarters (PPHQ), but I've had little time and and even littler head-space to process everything and report or announce. So, one thing at a time. In manageable doses. That's the ticket!

In a rush to read all the nominee books for this years Elgin Award, I was granted permission to post my article a day later than usual. So, that was last week Thursday. I wrote a short blurb about each of the books nominated, if I was able to read them. And yes, I read all but one, somewhat perfunctorily but I read enough to get a good impression and to give me something to write about. My goal was to give readers and idea of what each book was "about", if indeed there was a theme, and clue them in to what type of poetry they could find there. Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Humorous, formal, long and short, retrospective or narrative. It was all there. Go have a look - maybe there's a collection that intrigues you? You'll find links to all the books and where you can purchase them in the post.

Poetry - Elgin Award Nominee Showcase

Next: WorldCon / LonCon3 in London, England! My first convention ever...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Involuntary Hiatus, Vacation, Larry Santoro and Poetry Review. In that order.

So, it's been a while. I was starting to believe the universe was trying to tell me something, but I wasn't sure what, exactly. Maybe that I should slow down and rest and not stress out about things I've tasked myself to do, but which I do on a volunteer basis? Perhaps, but instead of slowing down, things came to a screeching halt. And I had a job, which paid actual money to do.

First, just as my husband went off on a long business trip, during which I could've gotten lots of recording and writing in, my The hard drive on my Mac decided to die a slow death. At first, I didn't know what the trouble was and it took awhile of investigation, chatting with the Apple "geniuses" and trying everything known to man to determine this was probably the trouble (or maybe the fan was broken) and I had to wait a week to get an appointment at the Apple Store. Hard Drive it was and fixing it could take up to a week. Ugh. Well, thankfully they only needed two days and I thought I was going have my computer back soon! Magnus had made a back-up just before it started acting strangely, so no worries there. HA!! When I flipped the switch on the external back-up hard drive nothing happened. Nothing. Just some flashing lights, but no whirring and no recognition that it was even on by the computer. Huh. A friend did some research for me and said this had apparently come up fairly often for this HD. The problem? Something in the start up software and it would either magically start up if you kept trying or it would need to be replaced. The end of this story is that miracles DO happen!!! And my computer is now in working order again!

I got one evening of recording in when a very bad cold hit me like a sledge-hammer, leaving my voice a ravaged mess. Needless to say, that was the end of that. Luckily, my paying client is a patient man. Likewise, with the myriad people waiting on me to produce various reviews and narrations.

We went on a 3 week vacation to Italy, to visit family and the beach in Bibione (on the Adriatic Sea between Venice and Triest). It was a very relaxing vacation, even if beach holidays aren't my favorite (too hot, too much sun for this lass of Irish decent). I read a lot. Not just poetry and Faceboook, though. I managed to read an entire novel (gasp!) in a week's time (keels over in shock!)! I re-read one of my favorite books (The Assassin's Apprentice, by Robin Hobb), so it was good fun.

Now we are back home and have settled in. Dante is still on summer vacation through the month of August, so the routine is not quite the same as normal, but still... And then my dear (mostly internet) friend, colleague (I think I'm allowed to call him that) and mentor, Larry Santoro passed away. He had been ill only briefly. He was diagnosed with Duodenal cancer only a couple of months ago, but it had already spread to his liver and kidneys and other spots and he was already to weak for the chemo to help much. He was taken care of by his wife of 11 years, the wonderful beautiful Tycelia. It's heart-breaking. We lost him too soon and too quickly. I was able to speak to him on the phone in June, but I had intended on calling him again this past Saturday, the day after getting home. He'd passed the night before. Reading all the tributes and the out-pouring of love to Tycelia just confirms what our brief friendship had already shown. That he was a warm, funny, compassionate, passionate, giving person, whose voice over the ether was like something of a by-gone era. His podcast, while the fiction was not really my favorite (again, Horror), was a pleasure to listen to, just because he made you feel at home and like he was chatting with you, a friend. I will miss you, Larry, as will more people than you knew.

But nevertheless, my most recent genre poetry review has been published on Amazing Stories Magazine. It is of Chad Hensley's dark poetry collection Embrace the Hideous Immaculate. Here's a snippet:

But what is horror anyway? We’ve been having a very interesting discussion on the SFPA Yahoo Group (which, by the way is actually open to others interested in genre poetry, not just members. It is, however, often used to announce and discuss SFPA business) about the nature of horror literature. Is it a true genre or rather a mood which is created. The general consensus seems to be that it sends but can be either or both. Michael Arnzen posted this, which, in addition to being a bit of poetry in and of itself, hits the nail on the head, in my opinion:
Horror is a church. Its blood-stained glass both colors and reflects its readers’ worldview. It sacrifices many readers on the altar of repugnance....

Go here to read more! Poetry – Embrace the Hideous Immaculate, C. Hensley

Now that I have one small thing on my list checked off I'm feeling the pressure of all the rest of the things waiting for me! Hopping to it!

* * *

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!

Enjoy!

* * *

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Daydreamer

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.





* * *

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!

* * *

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!

Enjoy!

* * *

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.
Enjoy!

* * *

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Amazing Stories: Poetry Review - Blue Sunset by Mary Jo Rabe

I review an interesting collection of linked poetry about the first colony on Mars in this week's installment at Amazing Stories: Blue Sunset, by Mary Jo Rabe.

Here's a snippet:

I “know” Mary Jo Rabe through the Science Fiction Poetry Association, but only in the virtual sense. Because she also lived in Germany, where I was at the time, I struck up a conversation with her. It turns out we had several things in common: Being from Iowa (well, I was born there and have extended family there) and my aunt’s name is Mary Jo. Mary Jo the SF poet from Iowa and living in Germany is a warm, open and engaging person and those traits come out in her poetry.
You'll have to go to Amazing Stories Mag to read the actual review and hear the poetry - I hope you will! These are very enjoyable poems. If you liked The Spoon River Anthology and you like people, you'll like these poems. No interest in Mars or Science Fiction necessary...

* * *

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Amazing Stories: Poetry Reviews - Where Rockets Burn Through and Spaces of Their Own, by Russell Jones et al

My latest post for Amazing Stories will go went up today! In it I review two books of poetry. The first is the anthology Where Rockets Burn Through, edited by Russell Jones. The second is Jones' own chapbook poetry collection Spaces of Their Own. It's a very long post with LOTS of poetry to listen to. I hope you'll read and listen to all of it. It's so worth it. You can find the post here (when it goes up!).

Because there are 19 poets represented in this post, I couldn't give any of them individual airtime, so to speak. I'd like to make up for that in this post, so if you are interested in any one poet from my review, you can read more here and follow links to their work. I know poets appreciate the time you take to look into what they are doing, so thank you!

Russell Jones - an Edinburgh-based writer, editor and researcher. His first collection of poems, "The Last Refuge" was published in 2009 by Forest Publications. He is guest editor of The Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. His most recent collection of sci-fi poems is "Spaces of Their Own" (Stewed Rhubarb Press, 2013). Russell has researched and published on the science fiction poetry of Edwin Morgan. (From his website)


Edwin Morgan - Edwin Morgan (1920-2010) published many volumes of poetry including Star Gate: Science Fiction Poems (Glasgow: Third Eye, 1979), as well as collections of essays, most of which are available from Carcanet Press and Mariscat Press. Morgan translated poetry from Italian, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Hungarian, French, German, and other languages. Among other achievements he was made Glasgow’s first Poet Laureate in 1999 and was named as the first Scottish national poet — the Scots Makar — in 2004. (From Where Rockets Burn Through WRBT)


Alisdair Gray - is a Scottish writer and artist. His most acclaimed work is his first novel, Lanark, published in 1981 and written over a period of almost 30 years. It is now regarded as a classic, and was described by The Guardian as "one of the landmarks of 20th-century fiction." His novel Poor Things (1992) won the Whitbread Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize. He describes himself as (despite critical comments regarding the influence of English immigrants to Scotland) a civic nationalist and a republican. "From Wikipedia)

Steve Sneyd - His most recent SF poetry collection is Mistaking The Nature of The Posthuman (2009). SF-related readings include the 1995 National Year of Literature, Swansea, Radio 4’s Stanza in Space, Newham Libraries SF Festival, and SF conventions. He has written many books and articles about SF poetry and has been a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association since 1977. MA in Poetry (1999). (From WRBT)

--> Jane McKie - Her first collection, Morocco Rococo (Cinnamon Press), was awarded the 2008 Sundial/Scottish Arts Council prize for best first book of 2007. Her other publications include When the Sun Turns Green (Polygon, 2009), and Garden of Bedsteads (Mariscat, 2011) which was a Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice. She won the 2011 Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition and is currently working on a third collection of poems.  She is also interested in writing short stories and reads with the Edinburgh-based Writers' Bloc.
--> James McGonigal - is a Glasgow-based poet, editor and critic. He has published on Ezra Pound and Basil Bunting, Scottish religious poetry and Scots-Irish writing. Recent work includes his biography of Edwin Morgan, Beyond the Last Dragon (Sandstone Press, 2010, 2012) Saltire Society Scottish Research Book of the Year; Poetry: Cloud Pibroch (Mariscat Press, 2010) winner of the Michael Marks Poetry Pamphlet Award; The Poetry of Edwin Morgan and 'Life Sentences' in Black Middens: New Writing Scotland 31.
Sarah Hesketh - Sarah Hesketh was born in 1983 and brought up in Pendle, East Lancashire. Her first full collection of poetry Napoleon’s Travelling Bookshelf, was published in 2009 by Penned in the Margins and was highly commended in the Forward Prize 2010. She currently lives in London and works part time as the Events and Publications Manager for the Poetry Translation Centre as well as teaching creative writing for the Open University.

Andy Jackson - Andy Jackson (b.1965) has had poems published in Magma, Gutter, Trespass, New Writing Scotland and other journals. His collection The Assassination Museum was published by Red Squirrel Press in 2010, and he edited Split Screen : Poetry inspired by film & television, published in 2012, also by Red Squirrel Press. He blogs at "Otwituaries".

Simon Barraclough - is the author of the Forward-finalist debut, Los Alamos Mon Amour (Salt, 2008), Bonjour Tetris (Penned in the Margins, 2010) and Neptune Blue (Salt, 2011). He is the editor of Psycho Poetica (Sidekick Books, 2012) and co-author of The Debris Field (Sidekick Books, 2013). He is currently poet in residence at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey and working on a book and event entitled Sunspots. An Article in Pages Of Magazine. An Interview.

Jane Yolen - Jane Yolen is a widely published author of 300+ books. Her poetry has been in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies around the world. Two-time Nebula winner for short fiction, she’s also a World Fantasy Grand Master and a Science Fiction Poetry Association Grand Master. Six colleges have given her honorary doctorates.

--> Dilys Rose - Dilys Rose has published eleven books, including Red Tides, Pest Maiden, Lord of Illusions and Bodywork. Her work has received a number of awards. She enjoys creative collaborations and is currently completing the text for a song cycle. Her novel, Pelmanism, will be published later this year by Luath Press.
Aiko Harman - is a Los Angeles native now living in Scotland where she completed an MSc in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Aiko’s poetry is published in The Best British Poetry 2011, Anon, and The Edinburgh Review, among others.

Ian McLachlan - His illustrated poetry pamphlet Confronting the Danger of Art  is available from Sidekick Books. He has recently completed a story consisting of twenty-six poems about a London vampire and is currently scoping out publishers. Two poems from this collection can be read in the Spring 2014 issue of Magma. He tweets @ianjmclachlan.

Kirsten Irving - Kirsten Irving is one of the editors behind collaborative poetry press Sidekick Books. Her first collection, Never Never Never Come Back, was released in 2012 by Salt Publishing. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, translated into Russian and Spanish and thrown out of a helicopter. She is currently writing on a steampunk novel-poetry crossover and works as a freelance copywriter. She blogs at "Copy That".

Kona MacPhee - (a lifelong SF fan) grew up in Australia and now lives in Scotland. Her second collection, Perfect Blue (Bloodaxe 2010), won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for 2010. Her most recent collection is What Long Miles.

 WN Herbert - has been visiting this planet in a number of disguises over the last few millennia. Most recent cover story is he was born in Dundee in 1961, XXX is published by Bloodaxe Books, and teaches Creative Writing at Newcastle University. But he’s fooling no-one.

 Andrew J. Wilson - "Merciless" originally appeared in Split Screen: Poetry Inspired by Film & Television, edited by Andy Jackson (Red Squirrel Press, 2012), and then, after being selected for Where Rockets Burn Through, it was reprinted again in Weird Tales #361. His short stories, articles and poems have been published all over the world. Recent work appears in A Sea of Alone: Poems for Alfred Hitchcock and Split Screen: Poetry Inspired by Film & Television. With Neil Williamson, he co-edited the award-nominated anthology Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction.

Claire Askew - Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Guardian, The Edinburgh Review, The Istanbul Review and Poetry Scotland.  Her work has also been widely anthologised and won many awards, most recently the inaugural International Salt Prize for Poetry.  She works at Scottish Book Trust as a project co-ordinator, and blogs at One Night Stanzas.


Sue Guiney - Though a native New Yorker, she has lived in London for over twenty years. Besides science, her writing now focuses on modern Cambodia where she teaches for a part of each year. She is the author of 3 novels and 2 poetry collections. Out of the Ruins, Wardwood Publishing.

Ken MacLeod - Ken MacLeod has written more than 13 novels, from The Star Fraction (1995) to Intrusion (2012). In 2009 he was Writer in Residence at the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum. He is now Writer in Residence at the MA Creative Writing course, Edinburgh Napier University. His most recent novel is Descent.

Ron Butlin - is the Edinburgh Makar. An international prize-winning author, his novel The Sound of My Voice was included in the Guardian’s 1000 Books You Have To Read. He is also an opera librettist, short story writer and playwright. His new novel, Ghost Moon, will be published in April; and his new opera, Wedlock, will be premiered later this year by Scottish Opera.

Pippa Goldschmidt - is a writer based in Edinburgh. I used to be a professional astronomer and much of my writing is inspired by science. My novel ‘The Falling Sky’ about a scientist who thinks she’s found evidence contradicting the Big Bang theory was a finalist in the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012 and was published last year by Freight Books. My short stories, non-fiction and poetry have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Gutter, Lablit, New Writing Scotland and the New York Times.

Thanks for reading!!!