This is a small version of the cover for The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry (Interactive Publications), which should be out in late April. Click for a better look.

Not a bad piece of flotsam. Or is that jetsam? No, they were the cartoon characters who lived in a perfect American future, weren’t they? With nifty jetpacks?

When all this egregious specpo is over, I am going to read a novel of such staunch realism that you wouldn’t read about it. With a plot so heavy it would drown you, if you read it on a lilo floating on a pool.

Unless, of course, it was a hover-lilo. Now there’s the ultimate personal transport device. I sneer at your pathetic jet-packs, American cartoon people.

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.

Submission format

2) Send no more than three (3) poems in an email message to 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
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.


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:

Despite its title, this article is applicable to all forms of speculative poetry.


Tim Jones

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.

Rapunzel’s lesson

And after they have stopped swarming up
massing like armoured lice, itching, pulling…
What then?

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.

P.S. Cottier

‘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.

Tim Jones

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…

For further poetry, press this raven’s feather. Never say nevermore, chickies.
Tuesday Poem