The winners of the 2017 SFPA Speculative Poetry Contest have been announced! The mission for the contest is to raise awareness about speculative poetry and the SFPA, internationally, as well as to reward writers of extraordinary speculative poems.
Speculative poets from around the world sent Contest Chair Mary McMyne nearly 350 entries (75 dwarf-length, 192 short, and 79 long poems). From those entries, Judge Nikia Chaney selected first- through third-place winning poems in each length category.
All placing poems will be published the SFPA website and on the Poetry Planet StarShipSofa podcast. The winning poets will receive $100, $50, and $25 cash prizes for first, second, and third place respectively.
1st place: “flight” by Kanika Agrawal
2nd place: “Archivore” by Adam Veal
3rd place: “Lace at the Throat” by Holly Walrath
Honorable Mention: “Hate Escapes” by Alicia Payne
1st place: “On First Looking Into the Sculpture of the Song” by Jake Sheff
2nd place: “Rescue Mission” by Patricia Gomes
3rd place: “Schroedinger’s Lover” by B. Lynch Black
Honorable Mention: “Persephone” by Emma Gibbon
1st place: “The Fragmented Poet Files of a Police Report” by Stewart C. Baker
2nd place: “Auto-Biography of a Trans-dimensional Extraterrestrial” by Gary Lee Nihsen
3rd place: “Your Doppleganger’s Afterlife Dreams” by J.J. Steinfeld
Honorable Mention: “witches” by Holly Walrath
Among the winners are a city poet laureate, natives of three continents, and residents of North America and Europe.
Dwarf Category first-place winner, Kanika Agrawal, is a doctoral student in English, a temporary alien of Indian origin, and a book hoarder. She lives with her toy fox terrier, Django, in Denver, Colorado.
Adam Veal, the second-place Dwarf Category winner, has been published in Conjunctions, LIT, and SpringGun. He lives in San Diego, and teaches writing at UCSD and USD.
Third-place Dwarf Category winner Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and author living in Seabrook, Texas. Find her online at www.hlwalrath.com.
First-place Short Category winner, Jake Sheff, is a major and pediatrician in the US Air Force. He currently resides in the Mojave Desert with his wife, daughter and four pets. His poetry chapbook is Looting Versailles (Alabaster Leaves Publishing).
Patricia Gomes, the second-place Short Category winner, is the current and first female Poet Laureate of New Bedford, Massachusetts. She has an abnormal interest in werewolves, and is loath to write her bio. Simply put: she writes, she’s writing, she continues to write; she’s interesting, she’s interested, and continues to be of marginal interest to those with a taste for oddities.
Third-place Short Category winner, B. Lynch Black, writer, artist and out-of-work actor, has written and published numerous short stories, essays and reviews. Most recently, “The New Fenian,” a short story, appeared in the 2015 anthology Portable Magic. Black is currently writing an historical fantasy novel for which she received a research grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation.
The first-place Long Category winner, Stewart C Baker, is an academic librarian and author of speculative fiction and poetry. He was born in England and currently lives in Oregon with his family—although if anyone asks, he’ll usually say he’s from the Internet.
Gary Lee Nihsen, second-place Long Category winner, was born, 1962, in Sioux City, Iowa. He attended the University of Nebraska, Omaha, studied German language at the Goethe Institute and Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany and received a MFA from Vermont College. He works as a freelance translator, editor and tour manager and currently resides in Berlin, Germany.
Third-place Long Category winner, J. J. Steinfeld, lives on Prince Edward Island in Canada, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival. He has published eighteen books of poetry and fiction, most recently the poetry collection, Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Guernica Editions, 2017). Over fifty of his one-act plays and a handful of full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States.
Nikia Chaney, this year’s judge, is the current Inlandia Literary Laureate in San Bernadino, California. The author of two chapbooks, Sis Fuss (Orange Monkey Publishing, 2012) and ladies, please (Dancing Girl Press, 2012), Her manuscript bite down, hum was the winner of the Marsh Hawk Robert Creeley Award in 2015. She has won grants and fellowships from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women, Poets & Writers, Squaw Valley and Cave Canem.