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 - $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).

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.

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!


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!


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.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"The Dritty Doesen -

Today I bring you something different - my friend and fellow Sofanaut (someone who does regular pieces for, Matthew Sanborn Smith has published his first collection of short stories. It's called the Dritty Doesen. I'm posting the "title" story in full below. I hope you'll take a few minutes and read it and then go and check out the rest of the collection here at Amazon. Matt tells me "Dritty Does" is a pretty surreal story, but perhaps it would appeal to the poetry types who read my blog. The whole collection is a wonderfully bizarre set of stories as only Matt can tell them. But first, a little introduction by the author himself:

Thank you, Diane, for sharing my story! The Dritty Doesen is my first collection, full of my least reasonable stories. As you might imagine I named it in honor of the following story, because Dritty Does is the least reasonable of them all. The collection contains eleven more stories (most of which are easier to understand than this one), and behind the scenes looks at how each of them came into being. If that wasn't enough, you get a gorgeous cover by the great Galen Dara! Enjoy!
And as an aside, if you don't know Matt's podcast "Beware the Hairy Mango" and love a good manically weird story that will only take 5 minutes to listen to, this is the podcast for you! 

Now on to the story!

Cover art copyright © 2014 Galen Dara


Dritty heaved and drew heaven-long strings of lights in from across the nocturnal sea. The ocean-wide song of them rocking in the water sang itself, played itself out as it poured off the world stage. It didn’t need to be done. Nothing needed to be done but in Dritty’s mind. He who put old batteries in all of the stars so they might flicker overhead in the formerly dead night when comets and meteors tired of their running, panted tongue-sweaty and drank the waters just beneath the horizon. And he who swept those same slackers in his mastodon nets to haul them in and swing them back up into play. They hated him for it and would have plotted his destruction had they more than a jackal’s sense and distractions.

I myself for extended years smothered, too tied up in the Kepla fires to overly concern myself with any of it. Over time they burned black sigils into both of my souls, scarring me with forever regrets and excuse enough for a free responsibility ride my whole crawling slow life. I did revel in Dritty’s water music, however. Its turquoise spray cooled my skin, made my flames pop. His tropical winds washed the ash from my body. I rolled and I lolled and before I knew it, I forgot the bindings and they burned themselves through. I fell free again and damned myself to no avail. Terrifying scary. I ran to find the next prison so I could curse and cry and scream at injustice once more. So I could feel safe again.

In time I came to hate Dritty, though I couldn’t point to why. The troubles into which I sank myself never seemed deep enough, the drink never drunk enough. I cried chilling in sweat-soaked beds, I scratched at my father’s eyes, felt the acupuncture thirst and still I starved. Maybe down in my intestines where I never saw, only felt, I held some Dritty-shaped lump of blame in there. I didn’t like to think of him.

I always thought of him.

When the Dread locked down the weevils, they fled scamper-shot into their wholes and all talk of Revolution became all talk. Dritty cranked the World on its axis with a creaking and groan of that old wooden wheel that made the savage thunder meep in comparison. There lived villages out there, I tell you, villages that knew what went on and flew their kites high into the black sky beyond the blue to catch the super orbital photon winds which came only one time in a Dritty mood. In all the little worlds of frying eggs and falling loves and the sweet taste of coconut, each and every thing of us made a little world in each and only event. We all ran worlds, just a question of their scale. Dritty made the big world happen.

In my grey wanderings I fled from my own void up the skystep to find the old Dritty cotton-candying the winds. I felt the weight of everything there in his red barn lair. His single rooster, a Rhode Island Magnetite Red, perched permanently overhead, bowed and dizzy. Straw floors gritted and stabbed my bare feet. A googly-eyed froggy magnet pinned one single paper to a vast rippling expanse of refrigerator door that doubled propping up the Moon. The paper, done on the Indonesian Postal Service in fat orange crayon, sported a B-minus in red ink and a smiley sticker above the words “Good Try!” This, of all of his accomplishments merited the door. My eyes ran. So sweet. Simple.

Watching him there I contemplated the even bigger world, the climb of magnitude up that made ones like us look out and wonder. Well, I just felt the weight of even everythinger. I nearly fell faint with the crushingest pressure that the universe knows as Anxiety. But I saved me by a glance of Dritty’s mighty oaken limbs, muscles bulging from muscles, hewn from the iron cores of stony worlds and they worked. They worked our corner of cosmos like the watch-spring whipping tensions of spiral galaxies, forces of nature, natures of force, and habanero pepper seeds. And there came no fatigue in those old bones. Lactic acids splashed off of him, beaded up and rolled from his Armor-All D.A., impenetrable!

Power and potential never occurred to him. He just felt the need to work those big machines and he galumphed off, from one to another, spinning plates on their poles while gamma radiation bursts played the circus music behind him. Beneath his fingertips, life tasted lemon sharp and ran pug wild and Dritty never even knew it. He just lived. Just lived. His lungs drew hard and his hot blood forced itself through supple, long arteries, roaring rivers pounding dams to dust. He bellowed from Hindenburg lungs to rock the space-time foundations until a little blip in the vast infinity/eternity saw dinosaurs riding cowboys in Tokyo Bay. One wonder-spitting child, racing from thing to glorious thing as if his life could never fit it all.

Only when I took in the absolute of him, that entire life captured in his body, the oppressive wholeness spilled off of me like it never soaked into him. I went to him, rubbed his vast Volkswagen shoulders and I thanked The Allness for him, for that great Paul Bunyan chest, for the magma heart that burned white within it. He was too busy working worlds to shrink before their masses, more alive than that whole damned writhingeatingfuckingshitting biosphere.

In that next instant he turned to me. His large, calloused hand cupped my face. I smelled the ozone on his breath till my pee hole burned and hot liquid ran down my inner thighs. So unknown, Dritty’s attention on me! Why?

He looked in me. I stood bare for the most intimate of all physical exams. My liver, my kidneys, my brains, all saw sunshine for the first time in their lives. All of us needed to cringe in his eyelight. None of us could, exquisite and painful.

Your beautiful fires,” he said, “They have become unkindled.” He held me, wrapped those tree trunk arms around me gentle as a kitten, scritchily licked the salt from my body. He healed my wounds, the runes on my skin and the ruins deep below its surface. I took him into me, me, long toes, long breasts and he wide and weighty. We disturbed the silk of caterpillar nest which held the heavens in place. Worlds shook with our exertions and gravity boiled.

When he moved on to the next piece of existence, I sat on the skystep and found myself for the first time devoid of have-tos. My former addictions, every niggling one, from morphine to blinking, scattered on the winds like dandelion seeds. Directions shot out of me like rays of laser, but I would sit here for a while and catch my breath. I stretched my corneas and watched my baby at play, five thousand miles away.

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