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I've been meaning to point people toward the Speculative Poetry Symposium over at Strange Horizons. It's a discussion of SF poetry led by Matt Cheney, with Theodora Goss, Alan DeNiro, and Mike Allen (who represent three pretty interesting and diverse viewpoints on the subject).

I've always been somewhat ambivalent about the whole notion of SF poetry. As an author, I don't make any distinction between SF poetry and other poetry when I'm writing. I often utilize fantastic imagery/tropes/ideas in my work, but not always, and my upcoming collection If There Were Wolves has some poems with speculative elements and some without. Basically, the only time I give any thought to the presence of SFnal content in my poetry is when it comes to marketing -- if a given poem has a speculative element, I send it to Asimov's or SH, if not, I send it to a literary journal. (I'm writing less and less poetry these days, so I'm not sending much out period, but that's a separate issue.)

Of course, even that's not always the case, as I've published poems with fantasy/mythic elements in literary journals, and I've published at least one poem with no speculative content at all in Asimov's (it made reference to a mythological figure, which was enough, it seems). I like some poems with cyborgs and selkies and ghosts in them, and I like some poems without -- but the presence or lack of speculative elements has no bearing on whether I like a poem or not. Other factors do: playfulness of language, force of voice, interesting syntax, format, rhythm, clarity, music, beauty, and so on.

The nice thing about editing poetry at Flytrap is I can choose poems without worrying about whether they're speculative or not, which I couldn't do at Star*Line. I like Star*Line, and the fact that they limit their subject matter to SF poetry doesn't rankle me, anymore than a haiku journal limiting itself to haiku would. But as an editor, I'm pleased to have more freedom.

Anyway, there's lots to think about in the Symposium, good ideas from people who have much clearer thoughts about the whole subject than I do, so if you're interested in poetry, go give it a read.

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