2021 Speculative Poetry Award Results

The mission of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association includes the recognition of excellence in speculative poetry, an approach to literature and the arts that incorporates in part or in whole elements of science, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other genres to achieve various artistic and cultural effects. Established in 1978 by the writer Suzette Haden-Elgin, the association has grown into an international network with over 400 poets, artists and readers representing 19+ nations and cultures. These include United States, Italy, Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, Romania, Poland, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Israel, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

For the convenience of our members and others interested in the results of our awards this year, we are pleased to present this consolidated list of the 2021 award recipients and a brief overview of the awards. Further details and links can be found on the SFPA website. Thank you all for your continuing support. Please feel free to share and publicize these results among your readers and networks!

The 2021 Rhysling Award winners addressed an eclectic range of subjects with their work this year. Alessandro Manzetti served as the 2021 Chair. The Rhysling Awards are named for the blind poet Rhysling in Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “The Green Hills of Earth.” Rhysling’s skills were said to rival Rudyard Kipling’s. In real life, Apollo 15 astronauts named a crater near their landing site “Rhysling,” which has since become its official name. Nominees for each year’s Rhysling Awards are selected by the membership of the Science Fiction Poetry Association in two categories, short poems, and long poems.

2021 Rhysling Short Poem Awards:
First Place “Summer Time(lessness)” by Linda D. Addison, Star*Line 43.4.

Second Place “Why did white people conquer the world for spices and then never use them?” by R. Thursday, Drunk Monkeys, November 16.

Third Place “Darning” by Sandra J. Lindow, first published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, May/June 2020.

2021 Rhysling Long Poem Awards:

First Place “Eleven Exhibits in a Better Natural History Museum, London” by Jenny Blackford, Strange Horizons, 14 September, 2020.

Second Place “A Song from Bedlam (with apologies to Christopher Smart)” by Nike Sulway, Liminality 23.

Third Place “Devilish Incarnations” by Bruce Boston, Star*Line 43.1.

The 2021 Dwarf Stars had Charles Christian serving as the 2021 Chair. In the history of the Rhysling Award, few poems of 10 lines or fewer (stanza breaks excluded from line count) were historically nominated, and none has won. But there is continued interest in short forms, with excellent scifaiku, tanka, cinquains, and other speculative short poems featured in poetry journals. The Dwarf Stars Award acknowledges excellence in this specialized field.

2021 Dwarf Star Awards:

First Place “Yes, Antimatter Is Real” by Holly Lyn Walrath, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, September/October 2020.

Second Place “The Softness of Impossible Fossils” by Robert Borski, Asimov’s Science Fiction, July/August 2020.

Third Place “Frozen Hurricanes” by Herb Kauderer featured in Minimalism: A Handbook of Minimalist Genre Poetic Forms, ed. Teri Santitoro (Hiraeth Press).

This year’s SFPA speculative poetry contest was judged by Sheree Renée Thomas. Josh Brown served as the 2021 Chair. The SFPA speculative poetry contest is open to all poets, including non-SFPA-members. It is intended to raise funds for SFPA, as well as to draw more attention to speculative poetry and reward writers of good speculative poems.

2021 Speculative Poetry Contest Dwarf Form:

First Place “Strings” by Deborah L. Davitt

Second Place “The Health Benefits of Gardening” by Jerri Hardesty

Third Place “Restitution” by Morgan L. Ventura

2021 Speculative Poetry Contest Short Form:

First Place “We, Dust” by Blaize Kelly Strothers

Second Place “Double-Slit Experiment” by Bradley Earle Hoge.

Third Place “engagement party” by Aiesha Muhammad.

2021 Speculative Poetry Contest Long Form:

First Place “The Last Special Day by Donald Raymond

Second Place went to “Docking on Phobos” by Clarabelle Miray Fields.

Third Place went to “Fireflies in Retrograde,” also by Clarabelle Miray Fields.

The 2021 Elgin Awards saw several exciting books nominated from around the world. Jordan Hirsch served as the 2021 Chair. The Elgin Awards, named for SFPA founder Suzette Haden Elgin, are presented annually by SFPA for books published in the preceding two years in two categories, Chapbook and Book. Chapbooks must contain 10-39 pages of poetry and books must contain 40 or more pages of poetry. E-books are eligible, as well as print.

2021 Elgin Award Chapbook Awards:

First Place Otherwheres by Akua Lezli Hope (ArtFarm Press, 2020)

Second Place Twelve by Andrea Blythe (Interstellar Flight Press, 2020).

Third place Manifest by Terese Mason Pierre (Gap Riot Press, 2020).

2021 Elgin Award Full Length Awards:

First Place The Sign of the Dragon by Mary Soon Lee (JABberwocky Literary Agency, 2020).

Second Place went to A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2020)

Third Place (tie) Mary Shelley Makes a Monster by Octavia Cade (Aqueduct Press, 2019) and A Route Obscure and Lonely by LindaAnn LoSchiavo (The Wapshott Press, 2020).

19 chapbooks were nominated for the Elgin Awards this year:

  • 25 Trumbulls Road • Christopher Locke (Black Lawrence Press, 2020)
  • Alice Zero • Joshua Pantalleresco (2020)
  • Betelgeuse Dimming • Jean-Paul L. Garnier (Space Cowboy Books, 2020)
  • Borrowings of the Shan Van Vocht • Catherine Moore (Unsolicited Press, 2020)
  • Broken Nails • Susan Snyder (Madness Heart Press, 2020)
  • Coronations • Catherine Kyle (Ghost City Press, 2019)
  • Inverted Night • John W. Sexton (SurVision Books, 2019)
  • The Island of Amazonned Women • Sandra J. Lindow (Cyberwit, 2019)
  • Kola Superdeep Borehole • Joe Fletcher (Bateau Press, 2019)
  • Manifest • Terese Mason Pierre (Gap Riot Press, 2020)
  • Odes to Scientists / Us, Clone (audio) • Jean-Paul Garnier (Space Cowboy Books, 2019)
  • Otherwheres • Akua Lezli Hope (ArtFarm Press, 2020)
  • [re]construction of the necromancer • Hannah V Warren (Sundress Publications, 2020)
  • Space in Pieces • Juan Manuel Pérez (House of the Fighting Chupacabras Press, 2020)
  • Titania in Yellow • Dayna Patterson (Porkbelly Press, 2019)
  • Twelve • Andrea Blythe (Interstellar Flight Press, 2020)
  • The Undead • Luiza Flynn-Goodlett (Sixth Finch, 2020)
  • Visions at Templeglantine • John W. Sexton (Revival Press, 2020)
  • What the Gargoyle Sees • Gene Twaronite (Kelsay Books, 2020)

64 books of poetry were nominated this year:

  • Algorithmic Shapeshifting • Bogi Takács (Aqueduct Press, 2019)
  • Altars & Oubliettes • Angela Yuriko Smith (2020)
  • The Ambassador Takes One for the Team • David C. Kopaska-Merkel (Diminuendo Press, 2019)
  • The Apocalyptic Mannequin • Stephanie M. Wytovich (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2019)
  • america, MINE • Sasha Bank (co-im-press, 2020)
  • Android Girl and Other Sentient Speculations • Michael H. Hanson (Three Ravens Publishing, 2020)
  • As The Seas Turn Red • Morgan Sylvia (2019)
  • Bad Jamie • Jessica Fordham Kidd (Anhinga Press, 2020)
  • Before We Remember We Dream • Bryan Thao Worra (Sahtu Press, 2020)
  • Black Flames & Gleaming Shadows • Frank Coffman (Bold Venture Press, 2020)
  • Burials • Jessica Drake-Thomas (CLASH Books, 2020)
  • Carpe Noctem • Robert Borski (Weird House Press, 2020)
  • The Ceremonial Armor of the Impostor • Gregory Kimbrell (Weasel Press, 2019)
  • Choking Back the Devil • Donna Lynch (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2019)
  • A Collection of Dreamscapes • Christina Sng (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2020)
  • A Complex Accident of Life • Jessica McHugh (Apokrupha Books, 2020)
  • The Configuration Discordant • John Baltisberger (Things in the Well, 2019)
  • Cradleland of Parasites • Sara Tantlinger (Strangehouse Books, 2020)
  • Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower • Ronald J. Murray (Bizarro Pulp Press, 2020)
  • The Cyborg Anthology • Lindsay B-e (Brick Books, 2020)
  • DMMTHL • C.C Hannett (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019)
  • Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning • Michelle Scalise (Lycan Valley Press, 2019)
  • Dub • Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Duke University Press, 2020)
  • Easy Travel to the Stars • G.O Clark (Alban Lake Publishing, 2020)
  • Echoes From an Expired Earth • Allen Ashley (Demain Books, 2020)
  • The Gates of Never • Deborah L. Davitt (Finishing Line Press, 2019)
  • goodwill galaxy hunting • LeRoy Gorman (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2019)
  • The Golem and the Nazi • Anna Cates (Red Moon Press, 2019)
  • The High Alive: An Epic Hoodoo Diptych • Carlos Sirah (The 3rd Thing, 2020)
  • how to extricate yourself • Laura Theis (Demsey & Windle, 2020)
  • Into the Forest and All the Way Through • Cynthia Pelayo (Burial Day Books, 2020)
  • The Journey • Anna Cates (Resource Publications, 2020)
  • The Ladies of the Everlasting Lichen and Other Relics • Wade German (Mount Abraxas Press, 2019)
  • The Malevolent Volume • Justin Phillip Reed (Coffee House Press, 2020)
  • Many Restless Concerns • Gayle Brandeis (Black Lawrence Press, 2020)
  • Maps of a Hollowed World • TD Walker (Another New Calligraphy, 2020)
  • Mary Shelley Makes a Monster • Octavia Cade (Aqueduct Press, 2019)
  • Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison • Anton Cancre (The Dragon’s Roost Press 2020)
  • Monsters I Have Been • Kenji C. Liu (Alice James Books, 2019)
  • Monstrous• PS Cottier (Interactive Press, 2020)
  • Notes from the Last Age • José Chapa Valle (FlowerSong Press, 2020)
  • The Nurseryman • Arthur Allen (Kernpunkt Press, 2019)
  • The Octopus Museum • Brenda Shaughnessey (Knopf, 2019)
  • Past the Glad and Sunlit Season • K. A Opperman (Jackanapes Press, 2020)
  • The Planets • Wendy Van Camp (2019)
  • Poems that Could End the World • Ronald A. Busse (Turning Point, 2020)
  • A Refuge of Tales • Lynne Sargent (Renaissance Press, 2020)
  • A Route Obscure and Lonely • LindaAnn LoSchiavo (The Wapshott Press, 2020)
  • Sacred Summer • Cassandra Rose Clarke (Aqueduct Press 2020)
  • Sci-Ku: Explorations into the Poetry of Science • Jay Friedenberg (2020)
  • Shadow Abyss • Luna Nyx Frost (Enchanting Tales Publishing, 2020)
  • Shelter in Place • Catherine Kyle (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019)
  • The Sign of the Dragon • Mary Soon Lee (JABberwocky Literary Agency, 2020)
  • Small Waiting Objects • T. D. Walker (CW Books, 2019)
  • The State She’s In • Lesley Wheeler (Tinderbox Editions 2020)
  • Such Luck • Sara Backer (Flowstone Press, 2019)
  • The Sun Ships & Other Poems • Steven Withrow (2019)
  • Tea with Death • Abigail Wildes (Alban Lake Publishing, 2020)
  • Temporary Planets for Transitory Days • Albert Wendland (Dog Star Books, 2020)
  • Toxicon and Arachne • Joyelle McSweeney (Nightboat Books, 2020)
  • Whitechapel Rhapsody • Alessandro Manzetti (Independent Legions, 2020)
  • Witch Doctrine • Annah Browning (The University of Akron Press, 2020)
  • The Withering • Ashley Dioses (Jackanapes Press, 2020)
  • Zen Amen: A Collection of Abecedarians • Michael Kriesel (Pebblebrook Press, 2019)

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