Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Rhyslings Should Recognize Whole Books

As a quick background: In the field of poetry, the respected Science Fiction Poetry Association coordinates the Rhyslings, two awards for "Best Long Poem" (50+ lines) and one for "Best Short Poem" (1-49 lines), and are presently the highest awards in speculative poetry one can receive.

(Speculative poetry broadly includes science fiction, fantasy, horror and other genre poetry.)

Anyway: I'm dismayed the association doesn't have an award for best full-length book of speculative poetry for any given year.

Over recent years, there's been a steady increase in books that easily qualify in my opinion.

Just off the top of my head, besides my own, I would cite:

Shanxing Wang's Mad Science In Imperial City (2005).

Cathy Park Hong's Dance Dance Revolution. (2007)

Jay Snodgrass' Monster Zero (2002).

Toby Barlow's Sharp Teeth (2007/2008)

I would even cite Sun Yung Shin's Skirt Full Of Black (2007) for containing enough poems of a speculative nature to at least merit review for consideration. And what should one do when one runs into a work like Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf?

I understand: the current setup for the Rhyslings allows for individual poems to rise forward and to be included in the Rhysling anthology.

But more than enough interesting things are happening in publishing that's bringing forward truly interesting, full-length books of speculative poetry the Rhyslings can recognize, and I hope some serious discussion will emerge on this!

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