Thursday, February 05, 2015

Suzette Haden Elgin - RIP (Amazing Stories) and remembering other mentors

My latest article on Amazing Stories is a tribute to Suzette Haden Elgin, the author (Native Tongue among many others), linguist and founder of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, who died recently (27 January 2015) at the age of 78. I also review and discuss "The Science Fiction Poetry Handbook", which she published in 2004. Her works are not only of interest for Science Fiction or Poetry readers. She also wrote many non-fiction books on variations of her most famous work "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense". One day I hope to read and appreciate her "The Grandmother Principles", the skills of which she says are disappearing. She was a mentor that I wish I'd had. She withdrew from the (writing/online) world in 2009 when advancing Alzheimer's made writing impossible.

Speaking of mentors, my beloved singing teacher, Cornelius L. Reid, died 7 years ago on February 3, 2008. He would've been 105 on Feb. 7, 2015. I miss him and wish I had known him longer (earlier), because he had so much knowledge and expertise to offer and I only gleaned a small fraction of it from him. At least I did get to experience his work first hand and I have his books, so I'm still learning from him in a sense.

I also learned recently that another college professor passed away: Samuel Jones, my Diction for Singers prof. I disliked him intensely, but for some reason he like me, so I did not suffer too much at his hands (like others). He was extremely knowledgeable and demanded the best and I did learn a lot from him. Here's the obituary.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Poetry Planet No. 15, Amazing Stories Poetry Reviews and Narration!

OK, guys, this is going to be an info filled post. First the "show notes" for Poetry Planet. Then I forgot to post here about last week's review on Amazing Stories and today the next one went up. Then last week also put a story narration of mine out into the ether. So, I'll try to keep the blather to a minimum!

Poetry Planet
I've finally finished Poetry Planet No. 15 - The 2014 Elgin Award Showcase Part 2! This time you'll hear some examples of poetry from the 3 placing chapbooks in the award:

1st place: The Sex Lives of Monsters, by Helen Marshall
Kelp Queen Press, 2014. Available from Blurb.com - $9.99 (paperback)

2nd Place: The Edible Zoo, by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Alban Lake Publishing, 2013. $8.00

3rd Place: Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse, by Joshua Gage
The Poet's Haven, 2013. $6.00

If you only want to listen to Poetry Planet (but why would you? There's some great content in this episode!) it starts at the 1:03.45 mark. Enjoy!

Amazing Stories Magazine
Poetry Review: The Rings of Ganymede by Kendall Evans. This review includes an audio excerpt by me and poetry reciter extraordinaire Robert Neufeld.

Poetry Review: The Endless Machine by Max Ingram. This review also includes 2 poems in audio form (read by me).

StarShipSofa
Story narration: Silence in Florence by Ian Creasey. This is a story I narrated for StarShipSofa at least 4 years ago, maybe 5! But now it is finally floating in the ether for your listening enjoyment!

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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Amazing Stories - Roundup and Recap 2014 and Holiday Account

I just spent 2 weeks in Italy over the holidays, so I wasn't able to write about my final Speculative Poetry Roundup on Amazing Stories:

Quite by accident I seemed to be following a new poet around the internet. John Reinhart had poetry appearing in all 3 of the webZine's that I showcased - Interfictions, Silver Blade and Songs of Eretz. There's lots of other great poetry, which I take a closer look at, as well as a couple of sf poetry-centric blogs by David C. Kopaska-Merkel and Bryan Hall (aka Kurt MacPherson). I hope you'll go have a look. You can also hear my rendition of a poem by Kopaska-Merkel on Silver Blade if you follow the link.

Also, my first post of the year was published today on Amazing Stories. (The link takes you to the front page of Amazing Stories, you'll have to find it from there) In it I recapitulate my year with speculative poetry. If you think you might have missed anything that's the best place to go for all the linky-links.

It's always nice to go to Italy and spend time with the family and eat way too much Christmas food. However, this year was fraught with illness. For once, not mine. My husband has been suffering from a herniated disc and so all the heavy lifting and bending fell to me. My mother-in-law had been sick on antibiotics so she wasn't 100% either. My son fell ill with the flu (even though he was vaccinated - but in France!) and developed a hefty cough and a low-grade fever every afternoon for a couple of hours. Worst though, was that my 2-week-old nephew caught whatever it was that his sister had (from whom D got it too, I surmise) and ended up spending a week in the hospital on a respirator. He's doing better and better now, though.

At any rate, I'm glad to be back home only having to take care of two boys. I mean 2 people.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Poetry Planet No. 14 - Elgin Award Showcase 2014 Part 1

This week on StarShipSofa No. 367 you'll hear the next Poetry Planet. In it I showcase the winning and placing poetry collections of the Elgin Award 2014. I read at least one poem from each collection and talk a little about the collection itself and the poet. Below you'll find links to the collections and poets as well as the reviews I've done of the collections on Amazing Stories, which contain more audio examples.

Winner:
Demonstra, by Bryan Thao Worra.

2nd place:
Unexplained Fevers, by Jeannine Hall Gailey. Review on Amazing Stories (with more audio).

3rd place:
Dark Roads - Selected Long Poems, by Bruce Boston. Interview (Part 2) on Amazing Stories (with more audio from Dark Roads). Do check out Part 1 as well!

I'll follow up with the chapbook winners and honorees in a few weeks! Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cinderella Jump Rope Rhymes on Amazing Stories and other news

So, after taking last week off, I'm back with a post about an anthology of poems based on the familiar Cinderella Jump Rope Rhyme, a production of Cabinet des Fées and published by Papaveria Press. If you ever jumped rope in a schoolyard in the USA, at least through the '80's you'll know this rhyme. Some talented poets have lent their twisted minds to creating some new verses. They are fun! And the proceeds go to a good cause. Have a look and a listen - I recorded excerpts. The artwork for this, by Adam Oehlers,  is great. Go there just for that, if nothing else!

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In other news, I finally finished a long-ish story narration, complete with faux-gregorian chant! "Trial By Fire," by Matthew Iden is part of a shared-world anthology - Walk the Fire 2 - May the Ferryman Take You - created and edited by John Mierau. I backed this anthology when the editors ran a Kickstarter to fund it. They didn't reach the stretch goal to make the audiobook available for free to all backers, but I'm expecting as a co-creator I'll get a copy anyway! :-) The book and the audiobook will come out later this month (I believe) and I will let you know when it does.

So that's 2 things (sort of) down from the list I created in the last post. Yay!

Remember, if you would like to listen to anything that I've recorded, be it music or narrations you can go to my website (shiny, shiny) and follow the link "Recording" there. Most everything is available for free. I've only done a few things that you would have to buy to listen to, but that's clear on the website. 

Not so interested in Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror literature or poetry? I haven't done much that isn't, to tell you the truth, but you may be interested in one particular story, especially if you are a musician or music buff or just interested in a good story. Kim Stanley Robinson wrote the wonderful "The Timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic, 1942" which ran on StarShipSofa No. 249, despite not being an SF story at all. If you like Beethoven's 9th symphony, go check it out.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Amazing Stories - Poetry Review: Mourning Jewelry, by Stephanie M. Wytovich

So, I don't have multiple items for you this week, just one article published on Amazing Stories Magazine: Poetry Review - Mourning Jewelry by Stephanie Wytovich.

This is the first mostly negative review I've published. It's not that it's bad poetry per se (although it's not excellent either), it's just a little over the top for me. Death, death and more death. And then death again. BUT if this is your thing, then you'll probably enjoy this collection and perhaps even the review. Feel free to let me know in the comments there, if you have a different opinion and can tell me why.

And now, because I have a dearth of things to announce, how about I list the items on my To Do List?


  • Narrate Trial by Fire by Matthew Iden from the shared world anthology Walk the Fire 2
  • Record and put together the next Poetry Planet(s) - Elgin Award Showcase, Animals & Creatures, SFPA Poetry Contest, Rhysling Award Showcase (because by the time I get the Elgin Award one finished they'll have announced the Rhysling Award...)
  • Record Cthulhu Haiku II and other Mythos Madness (OMG this has been on my plate for so long, but it's not my fault, really!)
  • Narrate The Potter's Daughter by Martha Wells (!) for Far-fetched Fables (podcast)
  • Update website to list the poetry recorded (got my website updated - yay!)
  • Write the next Amazing Stories post (and the next and the next!)
That's enough to keep me busy well into next year!

Diane

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Various and Sundry - Poetry Planet: Dwarf Stars, and Fearworms

Last week was almost another week of vacation for the adults of this family. Dante went to school, except for Tuesday, because it was a holiday here in France, and so my husband took Monday off as well because why not?!? The organization he works for was moving its offices on Friday so he was home from work then as well.

We went to see Interstellar on Monday morning (at 9:30 am)! We weren't the only couples with that idea - the theater was almost full! I really liked it, although there are the requisite problems that arise from thinking too much about the flow of time. I had one BIG problem with the movie and I've read a total of 2 reviews of the film and both mentioned the same thing: the music was mixed too loudly. There were times when I couldn't understand the dialogue for the booming music. That said, the music was amazing. Quite effective, except when I was thrown out of the narrative conscious of the loudness of it. Sigh. And on top of it, Matthew McConaughey, really has turned into quite a fine actor.

Tuesday we did the Eiffel Tower. Finally. Magnus and I visited about 8 years ago, pre-Dante, but we hadn't been up with Dante since we moved to within spitting distance. It was wonderful. Dante really enjoyed the excursion.

Friday, Magnus and I went out to a fancy restaurant for lunch. Quinzième, Rue Chautry, 70015 Paris - chef Cyril Lignac. The food was wonderful, traditional, but quite interesting French cuisine. The chef came out to greet us. Check out this amazing dessert:



Today, I have 2 items of interest if you are a poetry lover:

First, a new edition of Poetry Planet (No. 14)! It's been awhile, and this is not the one (Animals & Creatures) that's been in the works for over a year, but rather "The Dwarf Stars Awards Showcase 2014". It's a short and sweet one, due to the nature of the short short poetry. You can find it on StarShipSofa Episode No. 363 - together with a story by Megan Lindholm aka Robin Hobb! I swoon.

The next Poetry Planet will be the Elgin Award Showcase for 2014. Last year, I put the two awards together in one podcast, but it was taking me to long to get it together, so I decided to split them up, especially, since I thought it might run way too long if I did it all in one. After that, I'd like to slip the Animals & Creatures one in before tackling the SFPA Contest 2014 and The Rhysling Award Showcase editions.

Second, a review of an upcoming poetry collection by Robert Payne Cabeen, Fearworms - Selected Poems went up on Amazing Stories today. I've recorded 2 of the 12 poems collected and linked to the audio of two more, so I hope you'll go read and listen.

Enjoy!