2020 SFPA Awards and Distinctions

Since 1978, the international membership of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association has presided over a number of awards in a variety of categories. Here are the awards and distinctions for 2020. We congratulate all of the winners and nominees, and encourage all poets across the globe to keep creating to the fullest limits of your imagination.

The 2020 Rhysling Award winners for the speculative poems of the year are as follows: Jessica J. Horowitz won the 2020 Rhysling in the Short Poem category for her poem “Taking, Keeping.”  which appeared in Apparition Lit 5 in 2019.  In the Long Poem category, Rebecca Buchanan won with “Heliobacterium daphnephilum” which appeared in Star*Line 42.3. Additional winners included Caroline Mao who received second place in the Short Poem category for “when my father reprograms my mother {”. Theodora Goss took second place in the Long Poem category for “The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly”. Third places had ties in both categories. The Short Poem third place winners in 2020 were Sandra J. Lindow for “Creation: Dark Matter Dating App” and Tyler Hagemann for “The Day the Animals Turned to Sand”. In the Long Poem category, third places went to Kyla Lee Ward, who was recognized for “The Macabre Modern” and Michael H. Payne for “Ode to the Artistic Temperament.”  

The Rhyslings were the first award ever created by the SFPA, and are named for a character in a science fiction story: the blind poet Rhysling, in Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “The Green Hills of Earth.” This year, 126 poems from 67 publications were considered from around the world. Further details about this year’s Rhysling winners can be found at http://sfpoetry.com/ra/pages/20rhysling.html.

This year’s Rhysling chair was SFPA Grand Master David C. Kopaska-Merkel. Readers may also be interested to know that this year The Alchemy of Stars II was released, gathering Rhysling Award winners from 2005-2019, including Krysada Panusith Phounsiri, Sonya Taafe, Neil Gaiman, Amal El-Motar, and other distinguished poets from across the globe.

Established in 2006, the Dwarf Stars are awards for short form speculative poetry. This year’s winner is “Standing Up” by John C. Mannone, which appeared in Nadwah: Poetry in Translation, December, 2019. The 2020 Dwarf Stars anthology was edited by Robin Mayhall.

Since 2013, the Elgin Awards have been awarded for full-length books, and chapbooks. The 2020 winner in the full-length book category was: Soft Science by Franny Choi (Alice James Books, 2019) This year’s Chapbook Winner is The Book of Fly by John Philip Johnson (Graphic Poetry Press, 2019). Additionally,  2nd Place in the full-length collections went to Elemental Haiku by Mary Soon Lee (Ten Speed Press, 2019) while 3rd place was tied between The Comfort of Screams by  G. O. Clark (Alban Lake Publishing, 2018) and The Demeter Diaries by Marge Simon & Bryan D. Dietrich (Independent Legions, 2019). In the chapbook category, 2nd Place went to The Last Mastodon by Christina Olson (Rattle, 2019) and 3rd Place went to Fragments from the Book of the After-Dead by Herb Kauderer (The Poet’s Haven, 2019). This year’s chair was Colleen Anderson.

In the annual SFPA speculative poetry contest, the winners were selected in three categories. First place in the Dwarf Form category went to “Where Do We Go From Here?” by Ojo Taiye, “Deborah P. Kolodji’s “The Last Whisper” was selected for second place, while third place went to John Hertz, “That Hill-A Giant.” Honorable mentions went to “artificial singularity” by Meg Freer and “The Hypothesis” by Sheryl Hamilton. In the Short Form category, First place went to “Skylarking” by F.J. Bergmann with second place going to Amie Whittemore’s “The Indestructible Observer Admits” and the third place conferred upon T.D. Walker for “The Archaeoastronomer Questions the Purposes of the Destroyed Neolithic Menhir.” Short form honorable mentions went to “Collection of Mouths” by Ann DeVilbiss, “My Life in the Bomb,” by Phil Tabakow and “Aswang Mango: Santiago’s Fantasia” by Vince Gotera. Finally, in the Long Form category “Which is Which” by F. J. Bergmann received first place, while “Cityscape” received third place. Second place went to “After the Decipherment” by FJ Doucet. The honorable mentions for the Long Form category went to “Stellar Scrap Sweep” by Richaundra Thursday and “The Archaeoastronomer Explains to the American’s Daughter Why a Compass Will Not Work on the Moon” by T. D. Walker. This year’s contest judge was Neil Aitken, with all entries presented via blind submission. The full list of winners and their poems, along with the judge’s remarks can be found at http://sfpoetry.com/contests/20contest.html. Our thanks to everyone who participated!

This year, the SFPA membership considered four nominees for the 9th Grand Master award: Linda D. Addison, F. J. Bergmann, Geoffrey A. Landis and John Grey, all distinguished figures in the field of speculative poetry. The distinction was ultimately conferred upon Linda D. Addison. She joins Ann K. Schwader (2018), David C. Kopaska-Merkel (2017), Marge Simon & Steve Sneyd (2015), Jane Yolen (2010), Ray Bradbury (2008), Robert Frazier (2005) and Bruce Boston (1999).

Linda D. Addison is the award-winning author of five collections, including The Place of Broken Things, written with Alessandro Manzetti, & How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, and a recipient of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the first African-American recipient of the HWA Bram Stoker Award®, co-editor of Sycorax’s Daughters, an anthology of horror fiction & poetry by African- American women, poetry editor of Space & Time Magazine since 2000, and editor of the 2018 Rhysling Anthology and the HWA StokerCon Anthology 2019. Her work has made frequent appearances over the years on the honorable mention list for Year’s Best anthology. She has a B.S. in Mathematics from Carnegie-Mellon University and currently lives in Arizona. Addison is a founding member of the writer’s group Circles in the Hair (CITH), and a member of HWA, SFWA and SFPA. You can visit her website at: http://www.lindaaddisonpoet.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.