2020 Halloween Poetry Reading
curated by Lee Garratt

shimLee Garratt is a middle-aged high school English teacher living in Derby, England. Brought up via the science fiction and fantasy section of the Rochdale library, Lancashire, so enjoyed a childhood heavily influenced by Wyndham, Aldiss, Clarke and Le Guin. He has since had the odd poem and short story published here and there.

SFPA's Halloween Poetry Reading shares our enjoyment of speculative poetry with a broader audience, increases awareness of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, and promotes the individual poets who take part. All SFPA members are welcome to submit one audio file per person of themselves reading one of their spooky, haunting, ghoulish, or humorous Halloween or horror poems. See the 2019 Halloween Poetry Reading or earlier years for examples. If you are uncomfortable reading aloud or are unable to make the audio recording yourself, contact Adele or ask someone else to read your poem for you and provide the name of the reader. We also want Halloween-themed artwork! See guidelines below. Please feel free to include a brief explanation of your poems or images if desired (not a requirement).

“Angel's Call”
by Colleen Anderson
Colleen Anderson has a BFA in writing and is a Canada Council and BC Arts Council recipient. Her work has been published and/or performed in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Colleen co-edited Playground of Lost Toys (Aurora nominated) and Tesseracts 17, and a solo anthology Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland. Her short fiction collection A Body of Work (Black Shuck Books, UK) is available online. Her work appears in such places as HWA Poetry Showcase, Polu Texni and Dreams and Nightmares. Colleen’s poetry collection I Dreamed a World will be published in early 2021. colleenanderson.wordpress.com
“The Good Father”
by Vince Gotera
Vince Gotera teaches at the University of Northern Iowa, where he served as Editor of the North American Review (2000–2016). He is also former Editor of Star*Line, the print journal of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (2017–2020). His poetry collections include Dragonfly, Ghost Wars, Fighting Kite, The Coolest Month, and the upcoming Pacific Crossing. Recent poems appeared in Altered Reality, Crab Orchard Review, Dreams and Nightmares, The Ekphrastic Review, Philippines Graphic (Philippines), Rosebud, The Wild Word (Germany) and the anthologies Multiverse (UK), Dear America, and Hay(na)ku 15. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar.
Pyromantic by Vince Gotera
Vince Gotera
“Devil Inside”
by Jean-Paul L. Garnier
Jean-Paul L. Garnier lives and writes in Joshua Tree, CA, where he is the owner of Space Cowboy Books, an SF bookstore, independent publisher, and producer of Simultaneous Times podcast. In 2020 his first novella Garbage In, Gospel Out was released, and in 2018 Traveling Shoes Press released Echo of Creation, a collection of his science fiction short stories. He has also released several collections of poetry: In Iudicio, Future Anthropology, and Odes to Scientists. He is a two-time Elgin Nominee and also appeared in the 2020 Dwarf Stars anthology. He is also a regular contributor for Canada’s Warp Speed Odyssey blog. jplgarnier.blogspot.com/
“Die Alone, the Demon Said”
by Adele Gardner
Cat-loving cataloging librarian Adele Gardner (gardnercastle.com) is an active/full member of HWA & SFWA and a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop with 50 stories and over 325 poems in Strange Horizons, Flash Fiction Online, PodCastle, Daily Science Fiction, two Flame Tree Publishing anthologies, and more. Nine poems won or placed in the Rhysling Award, Balticon Poetry Contest, and Poetry Society of Virginia Awards. Adele is literary executor for father, mentor, & namesake Delbert R. Gardner.

“Die Alone, the Demon Said” was first published in Tales of the Talisman 9:3, Winter 2013/14.
Double Moon by Frank Coffman
Double Moon
Frank Coffman
“Halloween 2020”
by Frank Coffman
Frank Coffman is a retired professor of English, Creative Writing, and Journalism. He has published speculative poetry and short fiction in a variety of journals, magazines, and anthologies. His current collection of poems, Black Flames & Gleaming Shadows, is available from Bold Venture Press and Amazon.
by Akua Lezli Hope
Akua Lezli Hope is a creator and wisdom seeker who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, metal, and wire to create poems, patterns, stories, music, sculpture, adornments, and peace. She’s been in print every year since 1974. A third-generation New Yorker, her honors include the NEA, two NYFAs, a SFPA award, Rhysling and Pushcart Prize nominations. She has twice won Rattle’s Poets Respond. Her collection, Embouchure, Poems on Jazz and Other Musics, won the Writer’s Digest book award. A Cave Canem fellow, her collection, Them Gone, was published in 2018. She’s launched Speculative Sundays Poetry Reading Series. She sings songs from her favorite anime in Japanese, exhibits her artwork regularly, practices her soprano saxophone, cajoles her black cat, runs a paratransit nonprofit, and prays for the cessation of suffering for all sentience.
Luno - Akua Lezli Hope
Akua Lezli Hope
Black Cat - Cynthia Cozette Black Cat
Cynthia Cozette
“Visit to Poe's House”
by Cynthia Cozette
Cynthia Cozette (a.k.a. Cynthia Cozette Lee) is an aspiring poet of Christian fantasy and science fiction poetry and stories. Her book of inspiring poems, The Forgotten Schoolhouse: Original Poems and Stories on Faith, Love, Nature and Wonder, speaks about the moral goodness of life. Cozette is also an award-winning classical music composer. Her poetry was published in the Moonstone Arts Center 21st and 22nd Anthology Chapbook Edition of Poetry Ink. cynthiacozettelee.com
“Monster Apparent”
by Angela Yuriko Smith
performed by Ryan Aussie Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher, and author with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. The voice reading her work is Ryan Aussie Smith, author, publisher, and voice actor. You can find more details on both of them at SpaceandTime.net

This poem was inspired by a real event where a woman chose to drive herself home from a nightclub while intoxicated. She hit and killed a cyclist on the way, and then drove away. Autopsy reports later determined he could have survived the impact if he'd gotten medical help. In court, she played the victim, terrified at the thought of going to jail. The lack of remorse was truly monstrous. She was sentenced 20 years. The 63-year-old man she killed was biking to an Easter sunrise service. This poem is the revenge I wish he could have gotten.
Monster Apparent - Angela Yuriko Smith Monster Apparent
Angela Yuriko Smith
Blue Moon - F. J. Bergmann Blue Moon
F. J. Bergmann
“Season of Fear”
by F. J. Bergmann
music by Fred W. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmannn is all locked down and loaded, metaphorically speaking, in Wisconsin, which is behaving badly. She has already voted. Here's hoping that future Halloweens are less horrific.

The image is an altered composite of the following Creative Commons photos: Super Full Moon by Imahinasyon Photography, pumpkin patch by Muffet, Forest by Kamil Porembiński

“Wabash Banner Blue”
by Bill Ratner
A Poets & Writers Readings & Workshops Grant recipient, Bill’s forthcoming poetry chapbook is being published by Finishing Line Press in May, 2021. Performances featured on National Public Radio’s Good Food, The Business, and KCRW’s Strangers. A 9-time winner of The Moth Story Slams, his poems, essays, and stories are published in Chiron Review, Baltimore Review, Pleiades, Nixes Mate, Missouri Review Audio, and other journals. He is the author of Familius Books’ Parenting for the Digital Age: The Truth Behind Media's Effect on Children. As a voice actor he is heard on movie trailers, cartoons, and computer games. billratner.com/author • @billratner
Halloween - Richaundra Thursday
R. Thursday
“Halloween Entry”
by R.Thursday
R. Thursday (they/she) is an educator, writer, gamer, and all around nerd. When not subverting middle school Language Arts/Social Studies curriculum for the purposes of empowering radically empathic citizens, they can be found reading, playing video games, cooking the spiciest version of any given dish, or writing poems about gender, anxiety, vampires, superheroes or all of the above. Their work has been featured in The Poet's Haven, Eye to the Telescope, Luna Station Quarterly, Star*Line, Vulture Bones Magazine, and The First Line, among other fine publications.They live in South King County, Washington.
“Footprints in the Snow”
by LindaAnn LoSchiavo
performed by Dylan Dagenais

first appeared in Panoplyzine
Native New Yorker LindaAnn LoSchiavo, recently PoetrySuperHighway’s Poet of the Week, is a member of SFPA and The Dramatists Guild. Her poetry collections Conflicted Excitement (Red Wolf Editions, 2018), Concupiscent Consumption (Red Ferret Press, 2020), and Elgin Award nominee A Route Obscure and Lonely (Wapshott Press, 2019) along with a contribution in Anti-Italianism: Essays on a Prejudice (Macmillan USA, Aracne Editions Italy)  are her latest titles. Visit her spec-poetry YouTube channel:
Happy Halloween - Akua Lezli Hope
Happy Halloween
Akua Lezli Hope
“The Bride's Aria in D Minor (for coloratura soprano)”
by FJ Doucet
FJ Doucet’s poetry has appeared in Andromeda Spaceways MagazineYolk, and Literary Mama, among others, and is forthcoming in Eye to the Telescope and New Tales of the Round Table. Her work in Prometheus Dreaming magazine was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she won second place in the long-form poem category for the SFPA's 2020 contest. FJ currently serves as the president and blog editor of the Brooklin Poetry Society, just outside of Toronto, Canada.   
“Luna's Midnight Escape”
by Hazel Ann Lee
Hazel Ann Lee is a Black American author of poems, short stories, novels and nonfiction. She is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and now makes her home in Philadelphia. The themes of her writing relate to science, education and science fiction. She recently published a book of original science poems and science fiction short stories titled The Astronaut’s Window: Collection of Poems and Short Stories Celebrating Nature. She is also an award-winning songwriter. Two of her poems, “Colors” and “The Martyr” were set to music and won awards in national music composition contests.
Pumpkin photo by Hazel Ann Lee
Hazel Ann Lee
Tombstone - Sandra J. Lindow photo
Sandra J. Lindow
“The Cartoon Graveyard”
by Sandra J. Lindow
Sandra J. Lindow grew up across a gravel road from a graveyard and spent considerable time amongst the stones. Now she lurks above a watershed in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Her most recent collection of poetry in The Island of Amazonned Women, 2019.
“The dead king of midnight”
by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
David C. Kopaska-Merkel assumed human form in the ’50s. As a cover, he edited Star*Line in the late ’90s, and won the Rhysling award (long poem) in 2006 for “The Tin Men” (a collaboration with Kendall Evans). His poetry has been published in venues including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Polu Texni, Primate Cuisine & Night Cry. He has written 31 books, and edits Dreams and Nightmares magazine; @DavidKM on Twitter.
Jackly Trio - RK Rugg
Jackly Trio
RK Rugg
“They say at this time of year”
by RK Rugg
RK Rugg is a transplant from the American West to New England, where he sells office technology by day and writes genre fiction and non-fiction by night.
“Escape from the Zombies”
by John C. Mannone
John C. Mannone, winner of the 2020 Dwarf Stars Award, has poems accepted by North Dakota Quarterly, the 2020 Antarctic Poetry Exhibition, Foreign Literary Review, Le Menteur, Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, Space & Time, and others. He won the Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest in poetry (2020). He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. A retired physics professor, John lives near Knoxville, Tennessee. jcmannone.wordpress.com
Escape from the Zombies - John C. Mannone
Escape from the Zombies
John C. Mannone

Zombie Mommy - Juan M. Perez
Zombie Mommy
Juan M. Perez
“Is Your Mommy a Zombie”
by Juan M. Perez
Juan Manuel Perez, a Mexican-American poet of indigenous descent and the current Poet Laureate for Corpus Christi, Texas (2019–2020), is the author of several books of poetry including a new book, Screw the Wall and other Brown People Poems (FlowerSong Books, 2020). The award-winning poet, history teacher, and Pushcart Nominee, is a founding committee member of the People’s Poetry Festival. He is also a member of the Horror Writers Association, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, and the Military Writers Society of America. Juan worships his Creator and chases chupacabras in the South Texas Coastal Bend Area.

Previous Halloween Readings


All publication rights revert to poet.
Submissions are now open.


  • Submissions are open to current SFPA members only. (Not a member? It's quick, easy, and inexpensive to join).

  • Send up to 5 audio poems in mp3 format and/or 5 images in 300-pixel-wide .jpeg or .png format, with a 100-word-max bio, to Lee at leegarrattnumber1@yahoo.co.uk with the subject line: "SFPA 2020 Halloween: [Creator's name]." No more than one poem per poet will be accepted. Preference will be given to artwork submitted by poets to complement their poems.

  • Reprints are allowed. Please provide the name of the publication and date of first appearance (If your work is available online, please include the link).

    No payment.  SFPA acquires one-time electronic rights for audio and images. (Please note that for the purposes of Rhysling Award nominations, posting on the SFPA poetry page counts as publication.)

  • DEADLINE: Submissions open September 1. Please send all material by October 26. Accepted work will be added throughout the month of October.

  • Please keep in mind when selecting a poem to record that Halloween is a popular children's holiday. If we feel that there is a problem with using a specific piece, either because of the content of the poem or the quality of the recording, the editor will contact the poet about it directly.

  • QUESTIONS? Email Lee Garratt regarding submissions or the Halloween page at leegarrattnumber1@yahoo.co.uk with the subject line "SFPA 2020 Halloween."

Thanks to the SFPA members who have contributed their poetry and art to this page. All recordings and images are copyrighted by their respective authors and used by permission.

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