February 25, 2013
The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry – Call for Submissions
Here are the detailed submission guidelines for the anthology I am editing with Tim Jones. Can’t wait to be reading the submissions after they close on June fourth. That gives you about three months, so pick up your quill or iPad and start writing, and/or rummage through your vast collection of previously published speculative poetry, and send some in to us, dear Australian poets!
The Stars Like Sand is a planned anthology of Australian speculative poetry. Speculative poetry is poetry in the science fiction, fantasy, horror and related genres. (Please see below for a fuller definition.) It is intended that the anthology will include both new and previously-published poetry, and include a historical survey of the field. The anthology is intended for publication in 2014.
The anthology will be published by IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd) of Brisbane, a leading Australian poetry publisher. IP previously published Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand in 2009 Further information about IP is below.
The editors are New Zealand poet Tim Jones, who co-edited Voyagers, and Australian poet P. S. Cottier. Please see the editor bios below.
Please note: Submissions do that not follow the guidelines below are unlikely be successful. In particular, attachments will not be read.
1) Submissions are now open. Please submit your poem(s) by midnight on date 04/06/2013. Any submissions received after the editors check their email the following morning will not be considered.
2) Send no more than three (3) poems in an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Submission to The Stars Like Sand”.
If you submit more than three poems, whether in one message or in separate messages, we will read only the first three you submit. You are welcome to send fewer than three poems.
3) Include your poem(s) in the body of your email message. Do not send attachments. Attachments will be not be read.
If your poem has special formatting requirements which cannot be reproduced in the body of an email, please send it anyway within the body of your email, but include a note about the formatting requirements. If necessary, we will get back to you to request a copy in the correct format.
4) Due to space limitations, we prefer to be sent poems of 50 lines or less. While we will still read longer submissions, they will have to be exceptional to be included. There is no lower limit on lines, so you are welcome to send haiku and other short forms, provided you send no more than three poems in total.
5) You are welcome to submit both unpublished and previously-published poems:
a) Unpublished poems: Unpublished poems selected for inclusion will be eligible for the Rhysling Awards: see http://www.sfpoetry.com/rhysling.html
b) Previously-published poems: Please supply full details of previous publication, including online, magazine and book publication. If permission is required from a publisher for your poem to be reprinted, we will ask you for the publisher’s contact details, and for your help with securing permission to reprint the poem in “The Stars Like Sand” should your poem be selected for inclusion.
6) If you are unsure what speculative poetry is, please see the notes below. If you are still not sure whether your poem fits, please send it anyway – we would rather read some poems that don’t fit than miss out on good but “borderline” poems.
7) After your poem(s), please include a biography of no more than 100 words in the body of your email message. Your biography may be edited for reasons of space.
Responding to submissions
8) We will respond to all submissions as quickly as possible. However, the time taken to respond depends on the volume of submissions received. Please be aware that, due to size limitations on the anthology, many submitted poems of merit will, unfortunately, have to be rejected.
9) Previous experience suggests that we are unlikely to be able to include all the previously-published poems we initially select for inclusion, due to difficulties obtaining reprint permissions. Should this occur, we may return to some poems that we were unable to include in our initial selection and ask the poets whether we can now include these poems in the anthology. We will do this only as and when necessary, so please do not resubmit poems which were initially rejected, or submit new poems, unless we ask you to.
10) All poets included, or their estates in the case of deceased poets, will receive a free copy of the anthology. There will no monetary payment for included poems.
Who can submit?
11) Residents of Australia, and Australians not currently resident in Australia, are eligible to submit. If you are unsure whether you are eligible to submit, please include a note in your email submission letting us know your situation.
WHAT IS SPECULATIVE POETRY?
Speculative poetry is poetry that falls within the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, plus some related genres such as magic realism, metafiction, and fabulation. It is not easy to give precise definitions, partly because many of these genres are framed in term of fiction rather than poetry.
A good starting point is “”About Science Fiction Poetry” by Suzette Haden Elgin, the founder of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, which you can read here: http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/SFPoetry.html
Despite its title, this article is applicable to all forms of speculative poetry.
ABOUT THE EDITORS
Tim Jones is a New Zealand poet and author of both literary fiction and science fiction who was awarded the New Zealand Society of Authors Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010.
Among his recent books are a fantasy novel Anarya’s Secret (RedBrick, 2007), short story collection Transported (Vintage, 2008), and poetry anthology Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand (Interactive Press, 2009), co-edited with Mark Pirie. Voyagers won the “Best Collected Work” category in the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Tim’s third poetry collection, Men Briefly Explained, was published by IP in late 2011.
Tim’s poem “The Translator” appeared in Best New Zealand Poems 2004, and his short fiction has appeared in, among many other venues, Best New Zealand Fiction 4 (2007), and The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (2009). His short story “The New Neighbours” was included in The Apex Book of World SF, Volume 2 (2012).
In 2011, Tim edited a special issue of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s online journal Eye to the Telescope, devoted to speculative poetry by Australian and New Zealand poets.
P. S. Cottier
P.S. Cottier’s third poetry collection is the suite of poems “Selection Criteria for Death”, published in Triptych Poets Issue Three, Blemish Books in 2012. She has shared the David Campbell Award, given for the best unpublished poem by an ACT region writer. Her prose poem “Pod, cast”, originally awarded first place in a US science fiction competition in 2008, was included in The Indigo Book of Australian Prose Poems (2011). Penelope has had many fantasy and science fiction poems published in non-genre journals and newspapers, such as The Canberra Times and Eureka Street.
Penelope is also widely published in speculative journals in Australia and elsewhere, such as Star*Line (US) and Chiaroscuro: Treatments of Light and Shade in words (Canada). Her poem “Fingernails” was recently nominated for the Rhysling Awards, and her magic realist poem “Eight things you may not know about Vladimir Putin’s dog” was included in the inaugural Australian Poetry members’ anthology.
She wrote her PhD in literature at the Australian National University.
Interactive Publications Pty Ltd has been in business since 1994 and has been growing steadily since then. IP currently publishes 35+ titles per year, and is the second largest publisher of literary titles in Queensland.
Interactive Press is one of four imprints of IP. Interactive Press is one of the leading poetry imprints in Australia, publishing up to eight titles each year. Interactive Press titles are generally released via conventional print, as well as in print on demand (POD) and various eBook formats for outlets such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Overdrive, eBooks Corp and Wheelers, making them accessible to audiences world-wide.
IP’s publisher is Dr David Reiter, himself a prize-winning poet and author.
October 1, 2012
And after they have stopped swarming up
massing like armoured lice, itching, pulling…
Nothing in this world in free, she said, dear
mother, before she died, like all mothers
in this castellated world.
And she was right. After the long climb
they ask for my hand. Hair, rope-pulled,
then hand, for life.
I’ve learnt. I flick my golden ladder
and watch them free-fall, moat-wards,
screaming, motes of shiny dandruff.
And then I comb my hair.
‘Rapunzel’s lesson’ was highly commended in The Bridge Foundation poetry competition, October 2009.
In an exciting development (well exciting for me, anyway) Tim Jones and I will soon begin editing a book of Australian speculative poetry. As you all know, that’s science fiction, fantasy, horror and magic realism. It will be published by Interactive Publications of Queensland. The book will contain new poems as well as previously published works, so watch out for the call for submissions and further details, dear fellow Australians of a poetic bent.
I am looking forward to working with Tim, who I have only met electronically. Amazing what a little Tuesday Poem can bring about. As he has previously edited Voyagers with Mark Pirie, he has the runs on the board, speculatively speaking.
So the little fantasy poem above is a tribute to Books Yet to Come.
I spent most of the weekend at the Conflux science fiction convention in Canberra, where I met some poets who I will spank with Rapunzel’s hairbrush if they do not submit to the anthology.
They have been warned…
December 15, 2011
Tim Jones, New Zealand poet and author, who seemingly never sleeps, just interviewed me on his blog. In the interview we talk about chess boxing, The Cancellation of Clouds, our ignorance of Australian poetry (Tim), our ignorance of New Zealand poetry (Penelope), depression, life choices, poetry, prose, my name and lots of other good stuff.
But not cricket. Not after what New Zealand just did to Australia in Tasmania. Not cricket at all.
November 27, 2011
The subject of my first interview on this blog has just had published a book of poems called Men Briefly Explained. Brisbane-based publisher Interactive Press, which seems to be very active at the moment, has released this 64 page collection of new poems and works previously published in journals, and New Zealander Tim Jones has an approach to poetry that is at once delicate and amusing. I’ve been following his blog for a while now, where he tends to post a new poem every Tuesday, either his own or someone else’s. I decided to ask him five questions based on this new book, which is well worth reading.
I have never actually met Tim, and the questions and answers were sent by e-mail, so there is no spontaneous banter between the interviewer and interviewee, which may well be A Good Thing.
5 questions for Tim.
(And one bonus question.)
1.There seems to be a sense in some of the poems of mourning for purely physical work; ’…absorption into no-time, merely being and doing.’ (‘Men at Sea’.) Do you really regret the general loss of this type of work? (Obviously I mean in advanced economies such as NZ.) How does this affect men in particular?
It’s interesting that you point this out, because I wasn’t aware of that when writing the poems. I’m someone who spends far too much time sitting on a chair in front of a computer, and when I get the chance to do some physical work, I usually enjoy it very much. At the same time, from those times when I was younger and my work involved physical labour, I remember mainly the rain, the cold, the heat, and the boredom.
In New Zealand, as in many other countries, there has been a shift in employment patterns from manual work to intellectual work which has seen many men lose their jobs — and, at the same time, men are on average lagging behind women in educational attainment, at least at high school. So, although women still get the rough end of the deal when it comes to wage rates, promotion, and sexual harassment in the workplace, there are a whole lot of men who have either lost their jobs, or feel they no longer have work that fits them.
One of the main reasons we need less manual workers is because their labour has been replaced by that of machines, many of which depend ultimately on fossil fuels. In the longer term – maybe even the shorter term – we won’t be able to rely so much on fossil fuels, and perhaps manual labour will make a comeback. Whether that’s a good thing is open to debate.
2. Do you feel that gender differences are sometimes exaggerated? Much of the existential malaise in the poems would seem to apply to women’s lives as well.
There are biological differences between women and men which, I think, do have an effect on our behaviour – especially our sexual behaviour – but culture obviously has a strong influence as well: a classic example is that, although pink is these days regarded as a colour that is stereotypically and almost ‘genetically’ feminine, blue used to be the colour associated with women – it’s noticeable that the early Disney heroines have blue dresses.
So, even though my book is called Men Briefly Explained, I think one should be cautious about essentialising gender differences.
But the poems in the book are mostly written from my own experience, and so they reflect what I think and feel as a man. If women think and feel many of the same things as well, then that’s good … I think.
3. Does the male sex have a future? In ‘As you know, Bob’, you don’t seem at all sure about that. Following on from that, do you ever adopt a female persona or voice while writing? (May be a good career move, depending on your answer to the first part of this question…)
To take the second part first, one of the poems in the book, “Years with a Husband”, is written from a female perspective, and there are other such poems in my two previous collections. In my most recent short story collection, Transported, all the characters who have dialogue or play any significant role in the story “Said Sheree” are female – although I didn’t start the story with that intention, I guess it became my best attempt to pass the Bechdel Test. So yes, I do enjoy writing from a female point of view, although I doubt that I’m the best judge of how well I succeed at that.
“As you know, Bob” is about as close as this collection comes to science fiction – I extrapolate from some recent alarums about the future of the male gender, like declining sperm fertility rates. One of my favourite science fiction writers is Alice Sheldon, better known as James Tiptree, Jnr, and speculation about the future of the genders was one of her main themes. I suspect she thought the species would have a better chance of long-term survival if males could be dispensed with, and I can’t put my hand on my heart and swear that she’s wrong.
4. I love the way some of the poems (such as ‘As you know, Bob’, ‘Extras’, for example) manage to be both humorous and quite moving. The progress of young men forward ‘to our destinies, our mortgages’ from ‘Down George Street in the Rain’ is at once a very funny and sobering line. This fruitful ambiguity can be a difficult thing to achieve. Do you have to work at stopping yourself being merely funny, or slipping into the maudlin, or does that come easily to you? The book could be read as a type of memoir; does this have any particular dangers for the poet?
I’ve always enjoyed writing humorously – I only wish I could manage it at novel length, and then I could make my pile as the next Sir Terry Pratchett and slip gratefully into a garlanded retirement.
And, actually, I would have no problem with being funny and nothing more – I love humorous writing, think it’s very hard to do consistently well, and wouldn’t use the adjective ‘merely’ in connection with it. But the combination of funny and poignant is what seems to come naturally to me.
A lot of my poem has memoir-like, or even (quel dommage!) confessional qualities. I know that isn’t approved of by the academy, but that doesn’t particularly concern me. Men Briefly Explained is divided into three sections – the poems in the first section are based fairly closely on my own life as a child, a teenager and a young man; the poems in the second section are based mainly on observations of other men; and then, in the third section, I look ahead to the rest of life.
For what it’s worth, my poetry draws more closely on my own life than my fiction does.
5. Do you re-write your poems a lot, or do you carry them in your head until they are almost complete? Do you write at a particular time of day or night, and how do you manage if you have a paying job as well?
Many of my favourite poems arrive all at once, and my job is to race to pen and paper, or computer, before they vanish again. In this collection, “Honey Moon” and “Shetland Ponies, Haast Beach” are examples of poems that came pretty much fully formed, though I did fiddle with one stanza of the latter a bit.
On the other hand, “The Outsider” has four stanzas, and it took me a good five years between writing the first and second stanzas, and a while longer for the final two stanzas to arrive. That one took second place in a New Zealand poetry competition (even though the poem is set in Australia), so that made the wait worthwhile.
I find that I need to write poems and poem ideas down pretty quickly to capture them, so I rarely carry them in my head – but I do often think about them while out walking.
I have a part-time paid job, and have regular ‘writing slots’ that I try, not always successfully, to stick to. Whereas my fiction-writing tends to be confined to those slots, poems can arrive at any hour of the day or night.
6. Bonus question: What on earth are Swannis? (p 49)
‘Swannis’ are more properly Swanndris – a brand of outdoor clothing that’s very popular in New Zealand. I used it in the poem to denote a man adapting to a life alone in the south of New Zealand – they are associated with our myth of the tough, resourceful, yet inwardly vulnerable “Southern Man”.
You can find out more about Men Briefly Explained, and buy it direct from the publisher, on IP’s mini-site for the book.
I recommend that you chase it up, and fill your stockings with Men Briefly Explained. Tim will be interviewing me about my new book for his blog, over the next couple of weeks. And further interviews with Tim as the subject will be published on other people’s sites, as he continues on his epic Tour de Blog. All will be linked to his blog.