Friday, August 22, 2014

I have little excuse

Hello folks!

There's been a lot of activity here at Poetry Planet Headquarters (PPHQ), but I've had little time and and even littler head-space to process everything and report or announce. So, one thing at a time. In manageable doses. That's the ticket!

In a rush to read all the nominee books for this years Elgin Award, I was granted permission to post my article a day later than usual. So, that was last week Thursday. I wrote a short blurb about each of the books nominated, if I was able to read them. And yes, I read all but one, somewhat perfunctorily but I read enough to get a good impression and to give me something to write about. My goal was to give readers and idea of what each book was "about", if indeed there was a theme, and clue them in to what type of poetry they could find there. Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Humorous, formal, long and short, retrospective or narrative. It was all there. Go have a look - maybe there's a collection that intrigues you? You'll find links to all the books and where you can purchase them in the post.

Poetry - Elgin Award Nominee Showcase

Next: WorldCon / LonCon3 in London, England! My first convention ever...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Involuntary Hiatus, Vacation, Larry Santoro and Poetry Review. In that order.

So, it's been a while. I was starting to believe the universe was trying to tell me something, but I wasn't sure what, exactly. Maybe that I should slow down and rest and not stress out about things I've tasked myself to do, but which I do on a volunteer basis? Perhaps, but instead of slowing down, things came to a screeching halt. And I had a job, which paid actual money to do.

First, just as my husband went off on a long business trip, during which I could've gotten lots of recording and writing in, my The hard drive on my Mac decided to die a slow death. At first, I didn't know what the trouble was and it took awhile of investigation, chatting with the Apple "geniuses" and trying everything known to man to determine this was probably the trouble (or maybe the fan was broken) and I had to wait a week to get an appointment at the Apple Store. Hard Drive it was and fixing it could take up to a week. Ugh. Well, thankfully they only needed two days and I thought I was going have my computer back soon! Magnus had made a back-up just before it started acting strangely, so no worries there. HA!! When I flipped the switch on the external back-up hard drive nothing happened. Nothing. Just some flashing lights, but no whirring and no recognition that it was even on by the computer. Huh. A friend did some research for me and said this had apparently come up fairly often for this HD. The problem? Something in the start up software and it would either magically start up if you kept trying or it would need to be replaced. The end of this story is that miracles DO happen!!! And my computer is now in working order again!

I got one evening of recording in when a very bad cold hit me like a sledge-hammer, leaving my voice a ravaged mess. Needless to say, that was the end of that. Luckily, my paying client is a patient man. Likewise, with the myriad people waiting on me to produce various reviews and narrations.

We went on a 3 week vacation to Italy, to visit family and the beach in Bibione (on the Adriatic Sea between Venice and Triest). It was a very relaxing vacation, even if beach holidays aren't my favorite (too hot, too much sun for this lass of Irish decent). I read a lot. Not just poetry and Faceboook, though. I managed to read an entire novel (gasp!) in a week's time (keels over in shock!)! I re-read one of my favorite books (The Assassin's Apprentice, by Robin Hobb), so it was good fun.

Now we are back home and have settled in. Dante is still on summer vacation through the month of August, so the routine is not quite the same as normal, but still... And then my dear (mostly internet) friend, colleague (I think I'm allowed to call him that) and mentor, Larry Santoro passed away. He had been ill only briefly. He was diagnosed with Duodenal cancer only a couple of months ago, but it had already spread to his liver and kidneys and other spots and he was already to weak for the chemo to help much. He was taken care of by his wife of 11 years, the wonderful beautiful Tycelia. It's heart-breaking. We lost him too soon and too quickly. I was able to speak to him on the phone in June, but I had intended on calling him again this past Saturday, the day after getting home. He'd passed the night before. Reading all the tributes and the out-pouring of love to Tycelia just confirms what our brief friendship had already shown. That he was a warm, funny, compassionate, passionate, giving person, whose voice over the ether was like something of a by-gone era. His podcast, while the fiction was not really my favorite (again, Horror), was a pleasure to listen to, just because he made you feel at home and like he was chatting with you, a friend. I will miss you, Larry, as will more people than you knew.

But nevertheless, my most recent genre poetry review has been published on Amazing Stories Magazine. It is of Chad Hensley's dark poetry collection Embrace the Hideous Immaculate. Here's a snippet:

But what is horror anyway? We’ve been having a very interesting discussion on the SFPA Yahoo Group (which, by the way is actually open to others interested in genre poetry, not just members. It is, however, often used to announce and discuss SFPA business) about the nature of horror literature. Is it a true genre or rather a mood which is created. The general consensus seems to be that it sends but can be either or both. Michael Arnzen posted this, which, in addition to being a bit of poetry in and of itself, hits the nail on the head, in my opinion:
Horror is a church. Its blood-stained glass both colors and reflects its readers’ worldview. It sacrifices many readers on the altar of repugnance....

Go here to read more! Poetry – Embrace the Hideous Immaculate, C. Hensley

Now that I have one small thing on my list checked off I'm feeling the pressure of all the rest of the things waiting for me! Hopping to it!

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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Amazing Stories: Poetry Round Up June 2014

With this my 6th poetry round up since I started blogging for Amazing Stories, I guess I can call it a Thing. With astonishing regularity (every 2 months) I've trolled the internet to find great genre poetry. I showcase a bit of what I find and hopefully point people toward some poetry they might otherwise have missed.

Here's a snippet:

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but one poet whose work I have admired almost since I discovered SF poetry was a thing is Sonya Taaffe. She writes short fiction and poetry, which can be found in ... She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons.

She pointed me toward five recent online publications of her poetry, as well as a couple of print anthologies, one of which I will review in the coming months. I’ve already mentioned two of the online poems in the previous iteration of the Round-up (in Goblin Fruit and inkscrawl), but there were three I hadn’t consciously seen yet and one more I (re-)discovered on my own....

Go here - "Poetry Round Up June 2014" - to read the rest!


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Saturday, May 31, 2014


My son is a daydreamer. Or maybe he's just a 4 year old genius concocting the next earth-shattering invention(s). If his Lego vehicles are any indication, it might be the latter, but I'll reserve judgement.

I lead with this because I'm happy I can claim it with relative certitude and that I'm not blogging about how my son was instead diagnosed with something (more) serious. You see, his perfectly wonderful and well-meaning teachers (and his classmates as well) had noticed his trips to La-la-land were pretty frequent and came sometimes at very odd moments. They called my husband and I in for a meeting to ask us if we'd noticed anything (well yes, but never thought anything of it) and to suggest we may want to ask a doctor about it and see if it's something more serious than going off to Outer Space.

First, I went to his pediatrician, the doctor here in Paris who knows him pretty well. She said she had no expertise in this area, but that the description called to mind Absence Epilepsy, which, in case you are, like me, clueless, is where the brain takes a break from connecting synapses for about 10 seconds or less. Apparently, it can develop into more serious forms of epilepsy.  So, she called another doctor to ask for a recommendation of a pediatric neurologist that speaks English. She made an appointment for us with her (at the American Hospital in Neuilly) and also an appointment for an EEG to be done at the public hospital in Neuilly a week prior. Unfortunately, the appointment with the specialist was for in a month's time at 18:30 (6:30pm) because she only does consultations on Wednesday evenings.

In the meantime, our son went off for 5 days and 4 nights on Classe Verte, the annual overnight field trip to spend time more involved with nature. He came home totally energized and the teachers said he was a different boy there - attentive, engaged and excited. He still wants to know when the next Classe Verte is!

The EEG test itself was a bit of an adventure in and of itself, but my boy was brave and tried hard to hold it together, even though people touching or messing with his head/hair is something he can't abide. He fell asleep during the test (which I guess is ideal) and the administer said there was no sign of absence epilepsy or anything else unusual. Phew. But we still had to go see the specialist with the scan/results.

Because both hospitals are outside of Paris (even if only just a bit) and very close to one another, I arranged to go to pick up the results of the EEG immediately before our consultation with the neurologist. The radiology desk closed at 5:30pm so we arrived around 5. Waited. 20 minutes. Only to be told the scan couldn't be found. I will spare you the rant about how unfriendly and unhelpful the woman was, raising her voice as if I were deaf and would understand French better that way. I eventually discovered that the doctor who administered the test wasn't in the hospital and I would have to call the next day to try and track the scan down. All she could give me at that time was a general results document. Great. So, I'm supposed to go to the neurologist sans scan?!? Yup. That's what I did. At least the results were negative!

We arrived at the American Hospital 45 minutes early and were told that the doctor was running late. OK, well I was prepared - I'd brought dinner for Dante at least and we had lots of books because we'd visited the library just before embarking on our odyssey. Little did I know we'd wait for 4 and a half hours to see the neurologist! We were the second to last people to see her and the secretary had gone home. The security guard wanted to lock up, but kindly said he'd come back later. The specialist said she'd had an emergency and was terribly sorry but glad that we'd waited. (Well, what choice did we have? It's too hard to get in to see her!)

The doctor had him do some standard things to test his symmetry and what-not. Walk on tip-toe, on his heels, toe to heel in a straight line. The latter he couldn't do, because he was laughing so hard. He thought the whole thing was hilarious. Because naturally, he'd reached Slap-Happy. Better that than desperate because he should've been asleep for an hour by then! Needless to say, she thought he seemed like a perfectly healthy boy with better than average language skills (speaking 4 languages as he does), with no other detectible abnormalities. She would have a look at the scan at a later date and if necessary we could come in again.

Luckily, we caught a bus immediately, but it was still almost 11pm when he was finally asleep. I decided to let him sleep in, instead of going to school on time the next morning. And it was a good thing, he broke his record by sleeping until 9:00am!

I'm exceedingly relieved that he's just, like his mom and his dad before him, a daydreamer.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Amazing Stories: Poetry Review - Scenes Along the Zombie Highway, G. O. Clark

I know I promised a non-Amazing Stories post as my next one, but time seems to fly by these days Scenes Along the Zombie Highway) has gone up and you can read it here. Here's a snippet:
and I haven't had a chance to sit down an write something that WASN'T for Amazing Stories... So now today my latest review (of G.O. Clark's

-->Scenes Along the Zombie Highway is his most recent collection, jumping on the bandwagon of zombie enthusiasm. I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of zombies. I find the idea pretty disgusting and creepy and I don’t enjoy being grossed out. This collection, however, is not full of splatter, blood and guts (although there is plenty of gore – don’t ask me what the distinction is), so if you are looking for that kind of thrill you’d be better off looking elsewhere. Clark’s poems are first and foremost informative, then creepy, grisly and even a little bit tongue-in-cheek funny. At least that’s how they strike me.
I hope you enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Amazing Stories - Poetry Review: Luminous Worlds, by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Hello there!

My most recent article on Amazing Stories has been published! It's a review of a wonderful poetry collection by a wonderful poet: Luminous Worlds, by David C. Kopaska-Merkel. Here's a snippet:

I love the English language. No other language has the richness of vocabulary that English does – and trust me, I have intimate knowledge of way too many other languages as well. English language speakers have borrowed from every other language imaginable (a broad generalization to be sure!) and made it their (our?) own. But you already know that, I suspect. So why do I mention it? Because David C. Kopaska-Merkel knows the English language intimately. He has a massive vocabulary and isn’t afraid to use it! I love this about his poetry. I love looking up words I’m not familiar with. It does make for a somewhat slow reading of some of his poetry. That is, unless you have an equally massive vocabulary (which I apparently don’t – at least when it comes to scientific terms and such). There is a preponderance of words 7 or 8 letters and longer. But don’t let that deter you! Think of it as a celebration of language!
I've included 5 new recordings of poetry from the collection as well as linked to recordings of other poetry of David's that I've recorded. I hope you'll head over there and read and listen and enjoy!

My next post in this space will be something non-science-fiction, I promise!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Amazing Stories: Review - Mythic Delirium No. 30 - a Transition

Hi there!

I'm back with another article on Amazing Stories. Read it here. Here's a little excerpt:
This time around I’m doing something different and reviewing a single poetry journal. But this isn’t just any magazine. This is Mythic Delirium edited by Mike and Anita Allen, a print magazine, which has been published for 15 years - a good long time – and which will cease to be a print journal and transition fully to an online ‘Zine, with this, its 30th issue.

They have put together a retrospective celebration of sorts. Mike says in his editorial that Anita did the choosing and it couldn’t be a “best of” sort of issue – there were just too many poems to choose from – and too many good ones - but rather, her choices are meant to show the breadth and depth of poetry that has been presented in its pages since the beginning.

There are also 4 poems that I recorded especially for this review and a couple of other links as well. I also included some of the poet's thoughts on their poem in this issue and how they feel about Mythic Delirium transitioning to a digital only journal. I wanted it to be a sort of celebration of a wonderful print run for genre poetry!


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