Guest posts about poetry at Locus Online

/ May 9th, 2012 / No Comments »

Karen Burnham, who runs the Locus Roundtable at Locus Online, has rounded up a series of speculative poetry-related posts, podcasts and interviews for the month of May, and I got to be first out of the gate.

Here’s my guest blog post: “Let us go then, you and I: an introduction to speculative poetry

And here’s a podcast I did with Karen and Star*Line editor F.J. Bergmann.

In both I’ve taken the names in vain of a number of poets and poetry publications.

Reviews of “The Ivy-Smothered Palisade”

/ May 7th, 2012 / No Comments »

My new short story at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, “The Ivy-Smothered Palisade,” has garnered a couple of reviews I’m pleased to share.

First a review from Tangent Online by Chuck Rothman. He writes:

“The Ivy-Smothered Palisade” takes the form of a letter from Daeliya, a woman who has managed to escape her terrifying past and make a new life for herself. But she is forced to return, and to explain to her lover Eyan why and all the things he doesn’t know about her. What follows is a tale of fear and terror, and of her meeting with a man in a mysterious castle to whom she owes everything. Mike Allen creates a very convincing world and strong and memorable characters.

Elsewhere in the Internet wilderness, my story apparently found its ideal reader at the Sword and Sorcery blog. The writer states:

I loved this story. It brought to mind, in the best possible way, Brian McNaughton’s “Throne of Bones” or a less hashish suffused Clark Ashton Smith story. The roots of “The Ivy-Smothered Palisade”, like so much great S&S lie deeply in horror. I’m glad to encounter them in such an well told tale. reviews Mythic Delirium 26

/ April 30th, 2012 / No Comments »

As part of its National Poetry Month series, has posted a lovely review by Brit Mandelo of the latest issue of Mythic Delirium. Among the things she had to say:

Every poem in Mythic Delirium 26 has powerful imagery; capturing in words a startling scene or visual is something that speculative poetry lends itself to. The majority of the poets also have fun with syntax and diction in ways that produce interesting tensions. Another thing that is intriguing about this issue is something that Allen notes in his introduction: the sense of community among speculative poets in on display here. That closeness produces and inspires so much continuing work — poems for birthdays, poems for other poets’ recent work; the strands of influence and inspiration are an intricate spider’s web to trace across the readings in the issue.

The issue itself is organized in a thematic arc — it opens with science fictional poems and then shifts through fantastic genres, with poems grouped along the spectrum. That, in particular, is one reason I thought to include Mythic Delirium 26 in our Poetry Month discussions: it’s a good introduction to spec-poetry, thanks to the variety within.

Art by Tim Mullins

Congratulations to all the contributors, and special congratulations to G.O. Clark, S. Brackett Robertson, Rose Lemberg, Alexandra Seidel, Amal El-Mohtar, Sonya Taaffe, C.S.E. Cooney, and Virginia M. Mohlere, whose works were highlighted for further praise and scrutiny. (And of course, if you want to read them yourself, here’s how to get them.)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that this series also contains a review of Stone Telling 7, an appreciation of Goblin Fruit, and excellent poems by Catherynne M. Valente, Jo Walton and Roz Kaveney. To, the Poetry Guy doffs his hat in gratitude.

I’d also be remiss in not pointing out that tomorrow is the final day of the Mythic Delirium 27 submission window.

New issue of Goblin Fruit featuring Mythic Delirium artist Paula Friedlander

/ April 24th, 2012 / No Comments »

A new issue of Goblin Fruit is always a reason to celebrate. And I’m delighted that this issue’s guest artist is none other than longtime Mythic Delirium contributor Paula Friedlander.

Goblin Fruit co-editor Amal El-Mohtar is also a contributor to the latest issue of Mythic Delirium, and received her copy in time to pose the two newborn issues together. Note that by coincidence (or is it?) they are color coordinated.

The ReaderCon cup (also black and red on white) is not insignificant: ReaderCon is where we’ve held joint readings of our two venues and hope to hold a celebration of mythic poetry this year. Well done, Miss Amal.

New short story “The Ivy-Smothered Palisade” appears at Beneath Ceaseless Skies

/ April 19th, 2012 / No Comments »

My dark fantasy short story “The Ivy-Smothered Palisade” just appeared in the newest issue of literary fantasy adventure zine Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It was inspired by a nightmare I had while attending the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, OH in 2010 — though the scene that sparked the idea is not actually in the story. You’ll have to guess what it was.

I’m grateful to Scott Andrews for giving this piece such a prestigious home. The cover art by Zsofia Tuska, while not commissioned to illustrate my story, still matches it to eerie perfection, heh.

I hope to revisit this world in the not-too-distant future. returns? Stay away. (With illustration.)

/ April 11th, 2012 / 4 Comments »

I have been through many a cringe-inducing conversation in my life wherein someone identifies themselves to me as a fellow published poet, and then reveals that they were published by the National Library of Poetry, one of the most infamous scams in recent publishing history. It appears a company is using the old NLoP website,, to attempt to stage a comeback. Writer Beware has more details.

I feel the need to once again exhibit one of my prize possessions. I once sent in an obvious joke poem to this company just to prove that everyone became a “semi-finalist,” regardless of what they submitted, and were then asked to pay a steep price for the privilege of seeing their work in print. Here, once again, is the scan of the envelope I received after I submitted, with the poem all prettily typeset in the display window:


At one time, this poem was actually available on (even though I never responded to their offer) before someone apparently noticed my postings about it and removed it.

“Twa Sisters” (new short story) appears in Not One of Us

/ April 9th, 2012 / 5 Comments »

A sample from Alessandro Bavari 's "Sodom and Gomorrah"I’m very pleased to be able to announce the publication of my new short story “Twa Sisters.” It’s a highly experimental science fictional lark that came together from several different point of origin.

The most important threads in the weave come from two places. First, Patty Templeton pointed me at the collages of Italian artist Alessandro Bavari. Second, Nicole Kornher-Stace challenged me to try to write a story they way I write poems. She meant using the same language I use in poetry, but what actually happened was I wound up using the same visual trickery I sometimes experiment with in poems, such as parallel columns of text. I’ve written many poems inspired by artwork, and so I turned to Bavari’s work to draw inspiration for the story’s setting. The result piles strangeness on strangeness; it was a pleasant shock to have “Twa Sisters” find a home as quickly as it did, as it pushes limits in all directions as far as I’ve ever pushed them.

What follows is Not One of Us editor John Benson’s complete statement about the new issue, which looks pretty scrumptious overall.

Announcing Not One of Us 47

In this, our latest issue, things are not as they seem. We have walls with voices and zoos with mirrors, living dead and sex with ghosts, breasts with blue hair and beasts not quite unicorns, the dead as comfort in despair and angels as messengers of doom, health for the waiting and a secretly shared cortex.


The Glass Presence, by Daniel Kaysen
Classroom Wall, with Voice (poem), by Lucas Strough
The Living Dead (poem), by Amanda C. Davis
When the Blue Hairs Grow, by Patricia Russo
Reiselied (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
Here at the End of All Things, by Francesca Forrest
Twa Sisters, by Mike Allen
The Hero’s Journey (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
Universal Engines (for Christopher Morcom) (poem), by Jeannelle Ferreira
Dr. Crow (poem), by Jeff Jeppesen
The Waiting, by A.A. Garrison
Black Molly (poem), by Marigny Michel
Art: John Stanton

Not One of Us #47 will be available from Chris Drumm Books, or you can order a copy or subscription right now directly from me .

We’ll be mailing the contributors’ and subscribers’ copies this week.

“Kandinsky’s Galaxy” appears at Strange Horizons

/ April 9th, 2012 / 1 Comment »

Kandinsky's last large painting, "Reciprocal Accord." One of the pieces I reference obliquely in "Kandinsky's Galaxy."Kandinsky’s Galaxy,” the latest and for now last of the poems in my Disturbing Muses series, has just appeared in the new issue of Strange Horizons. You can read it here.

I owe Strange Horizons Poetry Editor Sonya Taaffe for the existence of both this one and its recent predecessor “Carrington’s Ferry” — both for buying the poems, and for inspiring me to write them to begin with; in the case of Carrington’s, by direct request, and in the case of Kandinsky’s, through sheer enthusiasm. Sonya has long been a champion of this sequence … since even before the original Disturbing Muses collection came out in ’05. (Heck, she had a big hand in that existing, too.) Thank you, milady!

“Kandinsky’s Galaxy” is directly inspired by a 2009 visit to the Guggenheim in Manhattan, wherein I walked up the spiral through the truly jaw-dropping exhibition of the Russian master’s paintings from the beginning to the end of his life. It took me a long time, though (plus some encouragement from Sonya) to express what that experience planted in my head in a manner I was satisfied with.

verse and voice: new things I have out

/ April 3rd, 2012 / No Comments »

As I continue to work on my Secret Second Novel, a number of cool things sort of accumulated all at once. I shall enumerate them here.

I have a new poem, “Surcease,” out in Issue 3 of the recently-revived Inkscrawl, edited by Samantha Henderson, published by Rose Lemberg. Inkscrawl specializes in poems of 10 lines or less. Lots of other good work in this one too, by Mari Ness, Alexa Seidel, Howard Hendrix, Kristine Ong Muslim, Ann K. Schwader and more.

My newest “Tour of the Abattoir” column has appeared in the latest Tales to Terrify podcast. This month, my friend Shalon Hurlbert and I dissect an obscure almost-gem, the bizarre J-horror flick Marebito, from Ju-On: The Grudge creator Takashi Shimizu.

Over at StarShipSofa, the sister podcast of TtT, Diane Severson’s latest edition of Poetry Planet features a Rhysling Award-nominated poem, “TimeFlood,” that I co-wrote with Ian Watson. Gardner Dozois bought it for Asimov’s not long before he retired from that editing post. The poem’s part of an ensemble focused on time travel.

Back to Rose Lemberg again, my tiny contribution to Issue 7 of her webzine Stone Telling, called the “Queer Issue” and dedicated to LGBT themes, involves playing the role of “Abe” in the audio recording of Lisa Bradley’s epic meta-horror poem “we come together we fall apart.” It’s a powerful issue overall, I’m flattered to have a bit part in it.

Not to be found online: I’ve just received my copy of the Danish sf fanzine Fandom Forever — it’s a seriously old-school DIY zine — which contains my poem “A Prayer,” as well as four reprinted poems: “Strange Cargo,” “Tithonus on the Shore of Ocean,” “Charon Finds a Woman on the Gridshore” and “retrovirus.” The issue also holds work by Tobias S. Buckell, Peter Payack, Bruce Boston and  Lavie Tidhar.

Extra bonus: There’s been a special illustrated poster made of Neil Gaiman’s poem “Conjunctions,” which I first published in Mythic Delirium issue 20 — and Neil autographed a copy for me and had it sent to me. And I got it today and am now basking in the glow. (The art you see along the left is an image of the poster.)

Mythic Delirium 26 cover art; Clockwork Phoenix 2 available at Weightless Books

/ March 22nd, 2012 / No Comments »

I’m pleased to be able to show off the cover artwork for Mythic Delirium 26. Not long now at all until it’s introduced into the postal system bloodstream. If you want to subscribe or need to renew, now is a good time, click here to do so. And let’s not forget that you can also purchase electronic subscriptions at Weightless Books.

Art by Tim Mullins

Clockwork Phoenix 2: Tales in EPUB and MOBI

Speaking of Weightless Books, you can now purchase there the e-book edition of Clockwork Phoenix 2: More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, should you not want to do so on Amazon (USA) (UK).

I’ve been asked about making the Clockwork Phoenix anthologies available on Smashwords or for Nook. As best as I can tell, that would require me to format the books much more simply than the versions I’ve currently created, which are meant to simulate the experience of reading the print books as closely as possible (with those last remaining pesky typos fixed and as well as some extra e-enhancements) and apparently, at least when viewed on Kindle or iPhone, my efforts have paid off. However, to make the books work for these other formats I’d have to strip a lot of my formatting out and essentially create a new version. I still may do that, but it probably won’t be until after the Kindle/Weightless version of Clockwork Phoenix 3 is alive and walking. I don’t know quite yet when that will be, but do stay tuned.

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