The Paper Boy: new poem in STRANGE HORIZONS

/ Monday, February 24th, 2014 / No Comments »

Strange Horizons today released an all-poetry issue, complete with an extensive two part podcast, and I’m honored that my new poem “The Paper Boy” — the only new poem I produced last year — gets to be part of it. (You can read it here.)
Prompted by my buddy Dominik Parisien, this is a poem distilled from years covering the crime beat. I’ll share a secret: the epigraph is my own invention, and it has connections to a short story I’ve written that’s yet to be published and a new novel I’ve started. You can hear me read the poem in part two of the podcast.
The issue also contains a review of Mythic Delirium 30, the final bow of my zine in its old school print format. (The new school electronic version has been up and running for almost a year now.) It’s not a flattering review, though a few of the poems, especially those by Sonya Taaffe, Amal El-Mohtar and Jennifer Crow, receive high praise.
Obviously, I’m disappointed to see our joyful retrospective met with a sour note. (Anita’s response: “Phhtthb! We rock!” And we do.) However, there’s a really important, perhaps too-easily-missed silver lining to this that I want to shine a little light on (paraphrasing my own Facebook comment):

One of the biggest problems the speculative poetry field has is a dearth of real feedback. Either reviewers just ignore poems, or the reviews that appear, usually written by poets, are soft underhand pitches, because everybody knows everyone else. I’ve said more than once that sf poetry needs a Lois Tilton; someone willing to open fire with a critic’s full force. Well, here’s an example of what that would look like — and Strange Horizons thought Mythic Delirium‘s final bow worthy of that level of scrutiny. So if a step in the right direction means taking one for the team, then I can live with it.


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