When we think of contemporary poetry
, what comes to mind is difficult footnotes
, scorching confessions
, bardic combat
, or maybe a new translation of a classic
. Look to the land of children and you spy the sidewalk's end
or a pack of Thneeds
. Somewhere between the gravid and the childlike is the realm of speculative poetry
Speculative poetry has little in the way of defined form, though the SciFaiku
has its adherents, but it focuses on speculative subject matter: fantasy, horror, science fiction. How is it? Sort of like all poetry: some great, some horrible, and much in between. Rhyme and meter seem a bit more common than in poetry generally these days, but not universal. Many speculative poets belong to the Science Fiction Poetry Association
, as well as an annual award
. If you want an idea of who writes this stuff, click that last link, and you may see names of SF writers you know.
Who else writes this stuff?
Well, did you know Robert E. Howard
, and rather a lot of it? Conan's creator wrote many volumes of weird, wonderful verse, all worth hunting down.
One of Howard's contemporaries, Clark Ashton Smith
, was a prominent poet in the earlier part of the 20th century who lived a typically poetic life of penury, wrote many volumes, was well reviewed, and is today best known for association with matters tentacular
Joseph Payne Brennan
came along a bit later, but was likewise prolific. Many SF aficionados remember his stories, but I've always preferred his verse to his fiction. Sadly,
a few minutes poking around on Google
an exhaustive search revealed none of it online. Get thee to a library if you care about fantastic and subtly disturbing poetry.
The audience for speculative poetry is, as you might guess, not humongous. The web has allowed for much flowering and greater publicity, however, from online publications to online symposia
. Poets give interviews
about their work, and there's help out there for those who want to learn how to write it
Finally, where do you go to read more of it? Check the online symposia links in the previous paragraphs: lots of links in there. Also, check the Wikipedia entry for speculative fiction
for online venues for speculative poetry.