Poetry poetry poetry!

Here’s some speculative poetry news, both relating to Bull Spec.

First, as Bull Spec poetry editor Dan Campbell notes:

Issue 7 of Bull Spec is now for sale! It has poetry by [info]alexa_seidel, Daniel A. Rabuzzi, [info]thunderpigeon, Deborah Walker, Athena Andreadis, Mari Ness, Damon Shaw, and Sofia Samatar.

Also out now is The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, edited by Rose Lemberg. Three of the poems included in the antho originally appeared in Bull Spec, and I’m thrilled with the line-up of poets in the book.

[info]rose_lemberg announces the antho here, and [info]tithenai has a SQEEEE about it here.  :-)   Go buy it!

Second, Mike Allen has an excellent introduction to speculative poetry over at Locus, which name-drops Bull Spec as a place to look:

Where do you find this work? For one, in the same places you find short fiction: Asimov’s Science FictionStrange HorizonsApex MagazineBull SpecAbyss & Apex, sometimes even Analog. There’s also some spectacular websites and …

And, since I didn’t quite get the Terri Windling cover art for The Moment of Change into Bull Spec #7 as planned, here you go:

Spec Poetry News: The Moment of Change

Rose Lemberg has announced the Table of Contents for The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, and it will include three poems and three poets who appeared (or soon will appear) in Bull Spec!

Athena Andreadis’ poem “Spacetime Geodesics” was in the most recent Bull Spec, issue 6, while “Night Patrol” is forthcoming in issue 7.
Sofia Samatar’s “The Year of Disasters” will appear in issue 8.
Lisa Bradley’s poems in The Moment of Change, “The Haunted Girl” and “In Defiance Of Sleek-Armed Androids” were originally published, respectively, in Goblin Fruit and Fantastique Unfettered. But two other poems of hers appeared in Bull Spec issues 4 and 5.
I am terribly impatient to read The Moment of Change (it will be out next year). The selection of poets looks fantastic!
Congratulations and many thanks to Rose Lemberg and all of the writers whose work makes up The Moment of Change!

Bull Spec Poetry Reviewed!

New speculative poetry review site Versification reviews the poetry in Bull Spec issues 1-6! I’m particularly happy that Versification‘s Erik Amundsen is the reviewer, as I’ve enjoyed his other reviews there. Overall, he provides a solid critique for our work with poetry over the last year and more, ending with: “Bull Spec seems to be developing quite well as a poetry publication. I know that poetry is not ever going to be its first priority, but its choices are showing signs of steady improvement, and I’m glad of that.”

Versification: Bull Spec Poetry Issues 1-3

Versification: Bull Spec Poetry Issues 4-6

Dipping into Fantastique Unfettered #3…

The Cabinet of Curiosities Literary Extravanganza was fabulous fun last night! Readings and giveaways and beer and signings and books and conversations and beer and very loud rain and Bull Spec and beer and… :-) Bull Spec issue 6 is out in print–go get it if you haven’t got it coming by subscription!
Also coming out soon is the third issue of Fantastique Unfettered, of which I got a sneak peek at the poetry and an interview with Mike Allen, editor of speculative poetry ‘zine Mythic Delirium. Fantastique’s poetry editor, Alexa Seidel, has assembled a compelling selection of poems for this issue, and I look forward to seeing more poetry in Fantastique Unfettered. Here’s what’s on tap in issue 3:
There is a poignance in these poems: an ache and a loss, a love and a surrender, a luscious melange of sorrow and love. Bruce Boston’s “Relative Weights and Measures” starts off seeming cerebral science fiction poetry–until you reach the end and the simple contrasts of measures in the poem above becomes an unresolved tension in the image of a woman, presumably a loved one, cutting her hair after a certain length; this poem rewards one in multiple re-readings.
“Green Rushes”, by J.S. Watts, carries on the imagery of hair, of caring for it, of love and friendship mediated through the combing, plaiting, snarling of hair. There is a hint of folk tales in this poem, of a lover summoned by combing one’s hair at night “Apple core in one hand, brush in the other, / Just to see who came in…” and it, too, ends with a note of sorrow, and the cutting of hair.
The theme of love is picked up in Lisa Bradley’s “In Defiance of Sleek-Armed Androids”. There is a delicious ache in this poem: “I need to stub my soul on yours, / I need to lick the slivers in your wounds.” I love Bradley’s way of rendering emotion visceral, as she does in this poem and the others I’ve read (like “The Haunted Girl” in Goblin Fruit, Fall 2010 and “Kyrielle for a Cloned Baby” in Bull Spec issue 5).
“The Cartographer’s Ache”, by Robert Stutts, is also a love story and eeriely echoes the fragmented form-fitting evoked in Bradley’s poem. Here, the map is the territory, charting the emotions of two lovers, too distant: “now only overlays of you / remain within me”. I must admit that the end of the poem feels weak to me, compared with the rest, for dragons are plotted on the map but their significance to the lovers is not readily apparent.
Stutts’ second poem, “Blodeuedd, or the Maiden of Flowers”, is exquisite. If you are already familiar with the tale from the Welsh Mabinogion, the poem speaks from the myth beautifully, with a much sharper edge than the original. If you don’t know the myth, Stutts version of it gives one more than enough to sink into. Bees among flowers frame the poem. For me personally, the scents of the soil, of the green earth, of “honey and limes” hold a great weight and texture of meaning after reading Amal El-Mohtar’s The Honey Month. My favorite line of the poem comes from the middle. I must share it with you: “The only way to love you was to keep a dream of your death in my heart.”
Don’t get (entirely) lost in the poems, though–or, at least pause on the way to read the interview with Mike Allen, editor of Mythic Delirium and the Clockwork Phoenix series. Allen has been active in the speculative poetry community since (at least) the ’90s, both as a writer and an editor/publisher. Seidel’s interview covers the usual territory of such conversations, but do read it for a hint of how Allen performs his poems and an insight into the darkness present in his writing. I enjoyed learning more of Allen and how he approaches both editing and writing.

We Want Poetry!

With issue 3 available for pre-order, our poetry editor is hungry for more poems. Please feed him! We want poetry that takes one outside the ordinary, grabs the reader in the guts, and offers up a feast. The best guide to our taste is to read past issues of Bull Spec: send us something that would go well with the other poems we’ve published, would complement the stories, would add a little spice or would distill the essence of the whole in a single drop.

We’re particularly fond of verse that shows a story, whether it spans 10,000 years in ten lines or measures a moment in one hundred. Give us something speculative: entice the reader’s imagination, open up their soul, ask them to feel more than when they picked up the page.

Genre is a guide, not a blueprint. We’re happy to read poems that are clearly within the realms of science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, cyber/steam-punk, the surreal, the realism of magic, and/or the weirdness of what everyone knows but refuses to talk about. But we’re just as eager for poems which weave in between and outside of these (often obscured) boundaries.

Please have a care with form. Our poetry editor wants poems, not flash fiction. Rhythm and rhyme, assonance and alliteration, metaphor and meter all have their place–but should never be noticed upon first hearing a poem. They are merely stones to step the reader from the known to the unknown.

Please send your poem(s) to poetry-submissions at bullspec dot com and let us know: (1) where you are writing from; and (2) if it has been previously published, where and when. If sending multiple poems in one submission, please let us know if they are meant to be published as a set or individually. Please send no more than 3 poems at once. You can put the poem(s) in the body of a plain text email or in a rich text attachment if particular formatting is required. A line count is much appreciated.

Please note: we are not yet open to non-local submissions of fiction. We are open to both local and non-local submissions of poetry (especially extraterrestial submissions from resident aliens orbiting Durham, NC). Please read our guidelines for further information, such as (the few) limitations on subject matter and details regarding rights purchased and payment made.