|Volume 36, Issue
© 2012 Dina Djabieva
Wyrms & Wormholes
How to Spread the Infection to Humans
First, a heads-up: the editorial e-mail address was incorrect in the last few issues of Star*Line; it’s email@example.com (no asterisk)! If you have submitted and received no response, my deepest apologies, and please resend.
Everybody can use some help with their writing from time to time. I participate in several critique groups, two of which are fleshly, live-action wetware-in-meatspace. Not only is this invaluable in my own work, but I am slowly corrupting my fellow crit poets. Six of them (so far!) have appeared in Star*Line—and two in Strange Horizons—who ne’er dreamt before our ill-augur’d meeting that I would Bring Them Over To The Dark Side; that is to say, they had never before considered writing speculative poetry. They’re still reeling in shock at getting paid.
Not only are poets and readers who don’t consider themselves genre fans far more enthusiastic when brought face to face with speculative poetry than we (or they) realize, but those of us who are speculative poets have as much to gain from interacting with them as they do from being exposed to our work. Any decent poet, genre or not, can tell us when our syntax or spelling is flawed or when our meaning is unclear, and as they grow to appreciate our work, they tend to develop an interest in attempting speculative poetry themselves—I speak from experience.
Much of the speculative poetry community is self-isolating; the rationale seems to be that non-genre poets Don’t Understand spec po or are not receptive to it. Some speculative poets even take pride in being part of what they envision as a small, exclusive clique. These attitudes are not constructive and do not benefit us as individuals, as an organization, or as a genre. No human group thrives as a closed biome—and it’s hard to get by on taking in each other’s laundry.
I’m very proud of the quality of poetry and artwork I’ve been able to acquire for Star*Line. Even so, I would love to have more submissions—and a much larger readership! To that end, I work at distributing each issue. Several bookstores in my area now carry Star*Line, and I make a point of selling copies at conferences, readings, and open mikes. If all member poets promoted SFPA publications (including the free pamphlets offered on the Promos page) at SF cons, bookstores, and readings, we’d gain many more readers and members.
Demonstrably, the general populace is currently fascinated with SF, fantasy, and horror, and has been for some time. As Denise Dumars’ Stealth columns have proven, many “mainstream” poets are using genre tropes and writing frankly speculative poetry. And this receptivity is not confined to poets alone: a significant number of nominees for the Rhysling, Dwarf Stars, and Elgin awards came from non-genre publications or presses. Those editors too, it seems, are falling under the spell of our deviant doctrine.
Reach out to the larger poetry community in your area. Prod them with the metaphorical trident whose prongs are SF, Fantasy, and Horror. I believe that you will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of feedback and camaraderie you encounter. And if you draw these poets into our sphere, SFPA can only benefit from increased membership and … fresh blood.
Yours, under a waning Supermoon,
Buy this issue of Star*Line for $5.00 plus $2 U.S./$3 international shipping, or the .pdf issue for only $2.50. See the main Star*Line page for subscription info.
To order, send a check made out to the SFPA to:
or pay SFPATreasurer@gmail.com via PayPal. Credit-card payments are accepted through PayPal.Better yet, become a member and never miss an issue!
Table of Contents