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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Top 16 poems from this year's Rhysling anthology.

Image result for rhysling anthology
These, for my money, are the top 10% (approximately) of the poems included in the Rhysling Anthology. They are alphabetized.

There are other poems not listed here with good passages, lines, clever concepts and executions. I was quick to whittle because of all the poems—a novel’s worth, or about four books of poetry worth. I almost missed a few good ones when I reread, so it’s possible I missed others. I was torn about several and the arbitrariness of cutting my selection at 16.

Behind each poem I list what made the poem stand out. I only read the poems and the names showed up after I read them. I looked at where they were published at the end, and only Star*Line showed up twice in my list (its editor once). Eye to the Telescope also showed up twice, but it rotates editors. By chance—being no factor in my selection—the women were favored but maybe women out numbered the men in the anthology as well.

I still haven’t decided on my favorites among these yet. Good luck.

Where possible, I included links.

  1. Bergmann, F. J. 3-Minute  Future Unlikely Stories Volume V [Well done repetition and moving if a bit long—strong contender]
  2. Blythe, Andrea, & Laura Madeline Wiseman Pouring  the Pennyroyal Priestess & Hierophant 5: Darkness and Light [Lovely language]
  3. Boston, Bruce Lost Memories The Literary Hatchet 19 [Potent frame]
  4. Buchanan, Rebecca “If you would seek a Seeress” Star*Line 41.1 [I like this one, the authorial recipe yet almost demanding and spooky voice—good selling points]
  5. Clink, David  Planktivorous Fish and the Structure of Pelagic Plankton Juniper 2:2 [well done but for the clunky title, shoehorned in but kind of clever]
  6. Cook, William Commemoration of the Divine Passion Eye to the Telescope 30 [dark, foreboding close that doesn’t go where you think it will from the title; language and syntax of high dark fantasy slips into a few minor infelicities]
  7. El-Mohtar,Amal Thunderstorm  in Glasgow, July 25 2013 Fireside Fiction broadside  [Lovely language]
  8. Gardner, Adele In the Vaults Pedestal Magazine  82 [Lovely and metered—I wouldn’t be surprised if it won, but I was hoping for it to be a wee bit more moving]
  9. Gotera, Vince Son of Aswang The Philippines Graphic, October  [Well done repetition, sets up a resounding rhythm]
  10. Huerta, August Concerning   President  Carter  and the  UFO  Sighting Strange Horizons 3/19/18  [Lovely opening and close]
  11. Jones, Russell “Thats one small step for (a) man... Dark Matters (Tapsalteerie Press)  [Awfully damned clever]
  12. Kopaska-Merkel, David C., & Ann K. Schwader Misstep Star*Line 41.4 [Feels like a compressed novel, suggestive—cool. I’ll be looking at this one to study]
  13. Shultz, David F. five sigils Eye to the Telescope 27 [I was rather taken by the form, which despite being prose poem is incantatory, magical, suggestive of a buried narrative—I’m less sure about the haiku but I like the hybrid blending]
  14. Simon, Marge “The Southern Lady” War (Crystal Lake Publishing) [Good lines, at times moving]
  15. Spires, D. A. Xiaolin “atomic  numbers” Analog Science Fiction  and Fact, January/ February [Not many poets here attempted a natural voice—admirable for this and the moving personal story behind the elements]
  16. Trotta, Ali Lorelei Uncanny 22 [Lovely with dark wisdom—despite being a bit long, final lines are stunning]

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