The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association has designated November 3rd as International Speculative Poetry Day to bring attention to the genre of poetry influenced by science fiction, fantasy, horror and other imaginative genres.
International Speculative Poetry Day seeks to highlight the vibrant legacy and extraordinary achievement of speculative poets. It seeks to introduce communities to the delights and benefits of reading and writing speculative poetry as well as make speculative poetry an important and innovative part of our cultural life. Speculative poetry has produced some of the nation’s leading creative artists and influential books, performances, and exhibitions, inspiring other artists, educators, and community builders around the world.
Over the centuries, writers of speculative poetry have included prominent figures such as Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll, Bruce Boston, Robert Frazier, Jane Yolen, Ray Bradbury, Steve Sneyd, Marge Simon, David C. Kopaska Merkel, US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, and Suzette Haden Elgin, the founder of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association.
The office of the Governor of Minnesota presented our organization with a proclamation recognizing the day. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association is preparing to observe its 40th anniversary in 2018. This will include readings, presentations, workshops, publications and exhibitions across the US and abroad.
The SFPA has an international membership representing over 19 nations and cultures including United States, Italy, Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, Romania, Poland, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Israel, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, the Hmong, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association publishes two journals: Star*Line and Eye to the Telescope. SFPA recently welcomed a new editor for Star*Line, Vince Gotera, who will succeed F.J. Bergmann. Poet Ashley Dioses recently curated this year’s annual Halloween readings page by SFPA members.
The SFPA oversees three major literary awards for poetry: The Rhyslings, the Dwarf Stars, and the Elgin Awards. It also conducts an annual science fiction poetry contest and other special events and gatherings. The SFPA also actively maintains listings of over 78 international publications and literary presses that accept speculative poetry.
This year’s Rhysling Award winners were Marge Simon for “George Tecumseh Sherman’s Ghosts,” and Theodora Goss for “Rose.” Wendy Rathbone, Adam Bolivar, Mary Soon Lee, James S. Dorr, Beth Cato, Jon Wesick were also honored. David C. Kopaska Merkel was the 2017 chair.
Robin Mayhall chaired the 2017 Dwarf Star Awards for short form poetry. “aster than the speed of lightf” by LeRoy Gorman received first place. “Lover” by Holly Day received 2nd place, and 3rd place went to Sandi Leibowitz for “loss.”
The 2017 Elgin Award winners for Book of the Year and Chapbook of the Year were recently announced as Jeanine Hall Gailey for Field Guide to the End of the World and Neil Aitken for the chapbook Leviathan. Books by Jenna Le, Marge Simon, Margaret Rhee, Wendy Rathbone, and John C. Mannone also were recognized by the voting membership. The chair for the Elgin Awards was Minnesota poet Josh Brown.
In the SFPA’s 2017 speculative poetry contest, Nikkia Chaney was this year’s judge. The awards were issued in several categories.
In the Dwarf category, 1st place went to “flight” by Kanika Agrawal, with poems by Adam Veal and Holly Walrath placing 2nd and 3rd. Alicia Payne received an honorable mention.
In the Short category Jake Sheff won 1st place for “On First Looking Into the Sculpture of the Song.” Patricia Gomes and B. Lynch Black received 2nd and 3rd place, with an Honorable Mention awarded to Emma Gibbon.
In the Long category, “The Fragmented Poet Files of a Police Report” by Stewart C. Baker received 1st place. Gary Lee Nihsen and J.J. Steinfeld received 2nd and 3rd place. Holly Walrath received an Honorable Mention in this category.
International Speculative Poetry Day’s observation on November 3rd also coincides with the 60th anniversary of Laika’s groundbreaking journey into outer space, inspiring the world with a renewed sense of hope and what is possible through science, curiosity, and collaboration. The organization is currently conducting officer elections, and recently completed approval of its new by-laws, a necessary step towards formal incorporation as a non-profit organization.
You can visit the SFPA at www.sfpoetry.com