World Fantasy 2017: Goblin Market Poetry Slam

karen bovenmyer
We just received an excellent report from poet Karen Bovenmeyer on the success of the recent poetry event held at the World Fantasy convention! Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Gregory Manchess, David Mitchell, and Gordon Van Gelder were the Guests of Honor. She writes:

“I had a great time at the Goblin Market Poetry Slam at World Fantasy 2017 in San Antonio (November 1-4). The panelists included myself (Karen Bovenmyer), Mary Soon Lee, Holly Walrath, and our moderator Adrian Simmons, editor of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. It was fun seeing Adrian on the panel—my poem “Fire Lover” will come out in the February 2018 issue of HFQ and he gave me permission to read it aloud to the audience. I also got to read “Pseudopod” (Abyss & Apex) and a few unpublished pieces. I was particularly amused because read the very first poem I’d ever submitted anywhere, which Adrian had rejected many years ago, to the delight of the crowd. Adrian read a lovely poem from HFQ by Bethany Powell called “Burying the Ploughshare.” Mary and Holly, both poets I greatly admire, read wonderful poems and it was a treat to be sitting next to them. You can read Mary’s “Stepmother” in Eye to the Telescope 21. One attendee loved that poem so much he approached the bench and asked for a copy!

We discussed the state of the poetry market and suggested places for audience members to submit, then Holly lead us all in some slam poetry challenges (1) grackle, magic sword, apple; (2) badge, green, spam ice cream.

Holly has kindly agreed to share her results with you:

(1) grackle, magic sword, apple

blue-backed beauty
wielder of the sword-voice
you linger in the space
where darkness sings
sand-glass apple
your heart
abandoned
but king and queens
you will pass by the sun
into winged glory

(2) badge, green, spam ice cream

This is the badge of honor
of the middle school cafeteria–
Spam– mixed with
ice cream–
Like a bullet shot through
the chest–
he held the green tray like
a shield
that wasn’t strong enough
for the eighth grade bully
but he wears this–only this–
proudly–this nerd
badge of honor

The crowd read some very fun pieces they created from these prompts (including my Escape Artists co-worker S. Kay Nash), and then we had an open mic with some familiar poets reading aloud. TOR author Joe McDermott treated us with one of his originals. Darrell Schweitzer read us some of his amusing zombie and cthulhu poetry and Frank Coffman read “The Song of the Ghouls,” a sonnet in Welsh meter. Other poets whose last names I didn’t capture included Stephen, Cassandra, Chuck, and Rosalind. We salute your bravery joining us at the microphone to read your creations!”

Goblin Market Poetry Slam Panel Description:
Let our panel of weird poets be your guide into the many ways and other-wordly markets of poetry. Join in a goblin-style Thunderdome, pitting the entire room (including you!) against a timer and a set of merciless prompts, followed by a casual open mic session where everyone can relax after their grueling Thunderdome battle. Pen and paper or other writing gadgets highly recommended.

Thank you for sharing with us, Karen! We look forward to reports from many of our other members attending conventions, conferences and other performances around the world!

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