Welcome to Issue 18. Though there is no Featured Poet in this issue, we still bring a full complement of speculative poems written by six excellent poets, as well as by your poetry editor. We are proud to publish so many established voices in this issue (and we often publish new and emergent ones alongside them). As usual, the poems are ordered according to content and mood, rather than by contributor names.
The opening poem, “The Music of the Stars” by Bruce Boston, is the winner in the 2013 Maryland Regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention (see Balticon 47, http://www.balticon.org/) poetry contest. It is a pensive psalm-like homage to the stars. The wonderful chant of that poem sets us up for another invocation, of sorts. “A Prayer on Ganymede” by John Grey, is layered with textures of irony and satire.
There are many ways in which mankind can examine himself. In “Eye for an Eye,” Laura Madeline Wiseman does it through the eyes of Martians. Her pieces are often humorous, but in this case, it is sobering and poignant. (Recently accepted for publication, both of Wiseman’s Martian poems will be available in her chapbook, Stranger Still, and in her full-length book American Galactic.)
Astronomy-related poetry is much more than poetic descriptions of heavenly objects, or the simple wonderment of “Who’s out there?” and of imagined encounters; nor are the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars, also, mere backdrops or clichéd mood settings, though all of these things are worth exploring. Rather, more often in a successful literary poem, astronomy might provide metaphors for the human condition, as we might see in Wiseman’s poem and others, including Dawnell Harrison’s poem, “A Wintry Fever.” It is short, but piercing.
Though we had a wonderful transitioning piece, the contributor could not be contacted, so I will act as the bridge. “Alien Ants Invade the Waffle House” by John C. Mannone, has a little humor as the title might suggest, but there is a serious subtext in this narrative flash poem.
The final two poems are imbued with fantastical elements accented with spiritual tones. “The Elixir” by Sandy Hiortdahl, is a narrative poem in a fine storytelling tradition. (Incidentally, her doctoral dissertation was on Gardner’s Grendel as a reinvention of Beowulf; she even learned Anglo Saxon so she could do it right). And “Milk Witch” by John Zaharick, another narrative poem, which is infused with unusual images, surprises, and literary depth, closes the selection.
Please enjoy this collection of poems (that straddle many aspects of literary speculative poetry), the complementing images, and mp3 voice recordings (when available).
John C. Mannone
|1||Bruce Boston||The Music of the Stars (reprint)|
|2||John Grey||A Prayer on Ganymede|
|3||Laura Madeline Wiseman||Eye for an Eye|
|4||Dawnell Harrison||A Wintry Fever|
|5||John C. Mannone||Alien Ants Invade the Waffle House|
|6||Sandy Hiortdahl||The Elixir|
|7||John Zaharick||Milk Witch|