2024 Valentines Day Poetry Reading

curated by Akua Lezli Hope photo of Akua Lezli Hope

shimAkua Lezli Hope, a creator and wisdom seeker, has been in print since 1974 with over 450 poems published. She wrote her first speculative poems in the sixth grade and was a member of the SFPA in the ’80s, appearing in Star*Line and Asimov’s back then. A SFPA Grand Master of Fantastic Poetry, her collections include Embouchure: Poems on Jazz and Other Musics (Writer’s Digest book award winner), Them Gone (The Word Works, 2018), Otherwheres: Speculative Poetry (2021 Elgin Award winner), and Stratospherics (micro-chapbook of scifaiku @Quarantine Public Library). A Cave Canem fellow, her honors include the National Endowment for the Arts, two New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships, SFPA awards, & multiple Rhysling & Pushcart Prize nominations. She won a 2022 New York State Council on the Arts grant to create Afrofuturist, speculative, pastoral poetry.

She created Speculative Sundays, an online poetry reading series. She edited the record-breaking sea-themed issue of Eye To The Telescope #42 (www.eyetothetelescope.com) & NOMBONO: An Anthology of Speculative Poetry by BIPOC Creators, the history-making first of its kind (www.sundresspublications.com/e-anthologies/nombono Sundress Publications, 2021). Her work has also been published in numerous literary magazines and national anthologies, including: Africa Risen (Tor, 2022), Black Fire This Time (2022), The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, The 100 Best African American Poems; Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora; Asimov’s Science Fiction; Gyroscope Review, Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality & the Arts, Strange Horizons, Star*Line, SciFaikuest, Eye to the Telescope, The New Verse News, Breath & Shadow, The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop, The Cossack Review, Silver Blade Magazine, Stone Canoe, Panoply, Penumbra, About Place and Three Coyotes, among many others.

Her websites are www.speculativepoetry.com and http://www.akualezlihope.com/

"Escher Lovers"

by Marge Simon

read by Akua Lezli Hope

Marge Simon is a writer/poet/illustrator living in Ocala, FL, USA. A multiple Stoker winner, HWA Lifetime Achievement awardee and Grand Master of SFPA, her works appear in Asimov’s, Daily Science Fiction, JoCCA, Silver Blade, Magazine of F&SF, and more, as well as anthologies such as Chiral Mad, Qualia Nous, Birthing Monsters, and What Remains (Firbolg Publishing). Instagram: margesimonwrites.


"Hercules Galaxy Cluster"


"Dancing with Galaxies"

by John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone has poems in Windhover, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. He won a Dwarf Stars Award (2020); was awarded an HWA Scholarship (2017), a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature; and served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His full-length collections are Disabled Monsters (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015), Flux Lines (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2022), Song of the Mountains (Middle Creek Publishing, 2023), and Sacred Flute (Iris Press, 2024). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a professor of physics teaching mathematics in Tennessee. His website is http://jcmannone.wordpress.com/

Music from "Respite" by Simon Folwar, used freely under the conditions of the Uppbeat license.

Image courtesy of ESO/INAF-VST/OmegaCAM, used a CC-BY license.

"The Octopus"

by H. Russell Smith

H. Russell Smith is...available. He's looking for the perfect girl who doesn't mind hanging out with friendly space visitors, participating in mad science experiments, and building time machines in the basement. Must love wrenches, quirky-but-harmless evil robots, and Golden Retrievers. Apply with 7th dimensional email only. This poem was read by Fabra, the famous NYC Latin teacher, and will self destruct in infinite minutes. Timer code found below. Maybe.


"Grey Elephant"

by Rudy Kirchner

"The Blind Elephants of Io"

by Karen Menzel née Bovenmyer

Karen Menzel (née Bovenmyer) earned an MFA in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches, mentors, and writes fiction and poetry at Iowa State University.

First published in Shortest Day, Longest Night (December 2016), and the 2017 Rhysling Anthology.



by Marge Simon

"Flirting with the Dragon"

by Linda D. Addison

Linda D. Addison is the author of five award-winning collections, including The Place of Broken Things, written with Alessandro Manzetti, and How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend. She is the recipient of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award® and an SFPA Grand Master of Fantastic Poetry. Her site is www.LindaAddisonWriter.com.

Marge Simon is a writer/poet/illustrator living in Ocala, FL, USA. A multiple Stoker winner, HWA Lifetime Achievement awardee and Grand Master of SFPA, her works appear in Asimov’s, Daily Science Fiction, JoCCA, Silver Blade, Magazine of F&SF, and more, as well as anthologies such as Chiral Mad, Qualia Nous, Birthing Monsters, and What Remains (Firbolg Publishing). Instagram: margesimonwrites.

"Flirting with the Dragon" First appeared in “Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes” (2001).

"Suite Hearts" (Fond Reflections of a Loving Ghost)

by E.F. Schraeder

E.F. Schraeder is the author of The Price of a Small Hot Fire (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2023), What Happened Was Impossible (Ghoulish Books, 2023), and several other works. A believer in ghosts, magic, love, and dogs, Schraeder has never morphed into a clawed monster to consume anyone’s eyeballs. Not once.

a tree with graffiti carved into its trunk

"Graffiti Tree"

by Mary A. Turzillo

"Graffiti Tree"

by Mary A. Turzillo

After a career as a professor of English at Kent State University, Dr. Mary A. Turzillo is now a full-time writer. In 2000, her story "Mars Is No Place for Children" won SFWA's Nebula award for best novelette. Her novel An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl (2004) was serialized in Analog. These two works have been selected as recreational reading on the ISS. Her book Lovers & Killers won the Elgin Award (2013) as did Sweet Poison (2017), a collaboration with Marge Simon. Her novel Mars Girls came out in 2017. Her two latest books are Cast from Darkness (2023) with Marge Simon, and Cosmic Cats and Fantastic Furballs (2022). She lives in Berea, Ohio, with Geoff Landis, the love of her life, plus two orange cats.


"Love in the Stars: A Sonnet"

by RK Rugg

"Love in the Stars: A Sonnet"

by RK Rugg

RK Rugg (he/him) is a Jewish cowboy from the Rez and a proud product of the intermountain West. His speculative poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and shortlisted for the Dwarf Star awards and the Asimov’s Readers’ Favorites awards. He currently writes and teaches--and practices dark academia--in a New England mill town near the heart of the infamous Bridgewater Triangle. www.raymondkrugg.com.

a person looks up at a dove with an open mouth

"To Hear You Speak"

by Adele Gardner

"To Hear You Speak"

by Adele Gardner

Adele Gardner (they/them, Mx., gardnercastle.com) is a full/active member of SFWA and HWA and an award-winning poet with a poetry collection, Halloween Hearts, released by Jackanapes Press. Gardner has had over 500 stories, poems, illustrations, and articles published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, PodCastle, Daily Science Fiction, and more. A graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, Adele coedited Dwarf Stars 2022 with Greer Woodward, guest-edited the Arthuriana issue of Eye to the Telescope (Iss. 27, Jan. 2018), and serves as literary executor for father, namesake, and mentor Delbert R. Gardner.

"To Heart You Speak" was previously published in Halloween Hearts by Adele Gardner (Jackanapes Press, 2022).

"One Bright Moment"

by Kate Boyes

Kate Boyes is a speculative nature writer who focuses on the near-future environments of Earth, Mars, and several choice exoplanets. Her poetry is included in Climbing Lightly Through Forests (honoring the poetry of Ursula K. Le Guin), Bark & Bone, and the 2023 Horror Writers Association’s Poetry Showcase X. Her debut novel, Trapped in the R.A.W., was published by Aqueduct Press. Kate’s latest writing project is GRUB: The Misadventures of a Miscreant and His Associates on Alt-Earth, a collection of political horror poetry.


"A Hunger Nearly Quenced"

by Ann Cates

"A Hunger Nearly Quenched"

by Anna Cates

Dr. Anna Cates teaches college writing and literature and graduate education online. She has published a variety of books (poetry, fiction, and drama) through www.cyberwit.net, prolificpress.com, redmoonpress.com, and wipfandstock.com. Her full-length poetry collection, Love in the Time of Covid, won an Illumination Book Award. She resides in Wilmington, Ohio with her two beautiful kitties.


"Your Dark Angel"

by Robert Frazier

"Your Dark Angel"

by Robert Frazier

Robert Frazier lives on Nantucket Island and works as Artistic Director for the Artists Association of Nantucket, with a 45-year career as an oil painter. SFPA founding member. Editor/associate editor Star*Line, Issues 4/1 - 14/1 and early Rhysling Anthologies. Edited the speculative anthology, Burning With a Vision, 1984; and art history book, Born from a Hurricane, 2020. Nine poetry collections; 3 Rhysling Awards (2 short, 1 long); SFPA Grandmaster, 2005; Nebula Awards nominee for short fiction. Interests: science poetry, fine art printmaking, beachcombing, art history, birding, geology, en plein air painting.

"Your Dark Angels" appeared in Silver Blade, May 2014.

"Heart of Stone"

by Neile Graham

Neile Graham is Canadian by birth and inclination, but lives in Seattle, USA, where she attended Clarion West then helped run the summer workshop from 2001 through 2019. In 2017 she won a World Fantasy Award for that work. Neile’s poetry has been published in the U.S, the U.K., Canada, and now all over the internet. She has four full-length poetry collections, most recently The Walk She Takes and a spoken word CD, She Says: Poems Selected and New. She was surprised how few of her love poems were both speculative and recorded. For more poems, see neilegraham.com.

"Heart of Stone" was previously published in Seven Robins (1983) by Neile Graham

"How to Fall for Io"

by Mary Soon Lee

Mary Soon Lee is a Grand Master of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association and a three-time winner of both the AnLab Readers’ Award and the Rhysling Award. Her latest book is How to Navigate Our Universe, a collection of astronomy poetry. Her website, cryptically named, is marysoonlee.com.

"How to Fall for Io" was previously published in How to Navigate Our Universe (2023) by Mary Soon Lee.

"Valentine's Jukebox"

by Brian U. Garrison

Brian U. Garrison (he/him) listens to music with his sweetheart in Portland, OR. Find him online at www.bugthewriter.com.


by Angela Acosta

Angela Acosta (she/her) is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies at Davidson College. She is a 2022 Dream Foundry Contest for Emerging Writers Finalist, 2022 Somos en Escrito Extra-Fiction Contest Honorable Mention, and Rhysling finalist. Her poems have appeared in Shoreline of Infinity, Apparition Lit, Radon Journal, and Space & Time. She is author of Summoning Space Travelers (Hiraeth Publishing, 2022) and A Belief in Cosmic Dailiness: Poems of a Fabled Universe (Red Ogre Review, 2023).

"Planetfall" was previously published in Prismatica: LGBTQ Speculative Fiction Magazine in Fall 2023

"When Will We Make Up?"

by Herb Kauderer

Herb Kaudere walks the waterfront of Lake Erie stealing poetry ideas from seagulls only to lose them in the wind.

"all for love"

John Reinhart

John Reinhart is an unapologetic romantic with an anti-gravity heart. John Reinhart is an unapologetic romantic with an anti-gravity heart.

"all for love" was previously published in the Spring 2018 issue of Popshot Quarterly.

a person holds up a small glass orb showing a pair of people silhouetted on a beach

"The Orb"

by Karen A. Romanko

"The Lovers"

by Karen A. Romanko

Karen A. Romanko has been a published author for over 35 years, with books, articles, poems, and short stories among her many credits. Her most recent book is Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television (McFarland, 2019), and she has another on the way, if she ever finishes it.

"The Lovers" was first published in Aoife's Kiss, December 2003.

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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