26 February 2013

The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry - Call for Submissions

They're heeeere! Cross-posted from my co-editor's blog, here are the full submission guidelines for forthcoming anthology The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry. Australians, and expatriate Australians, are welcome to submit up to three poems for the anthology. The closing date for submissions is 4 June 2013. Make sure to read the full guidelines before you submit, and have fun out there!


The Stars Like Sand is a planned anthology of Australian speculative poetry. Speculative poetry is poetry in the science fiction, fantasy, horror and related genres. (Please see below for a fuller definition.) It is intended that the anthology will include both new and previously-published poetry, and include a historical survey of the field. The anthology is intended for publication in 2014.

The anthology will be published by IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd) of Brisbane, a leading Australian poetry publisher. IP previously published Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand in 2009 (see http://www.ipoz.biz/Titles/Voy.htm). Further information about IP is below.

The editors are New Zealand poet Tim Jones, who co-edited Voyagers, and Australian poet P. S. Cottier. Please see the editor bios below.


Please note: Submissions do that not follow the guidelines below are unlikely be successful. In particular, attachments will not be read.

1) Submissions are now open. Please submit your poem(s) by midnight on 4 June 2013. Any submissions received after the editors check their email the following morning will not be considered.

Submission format

2) Send no more than three (3) poems in an email message to starslikesand@gmail.com with the subject line "Submission to The Stars Like Sand".

If you submit more than three poems, whether in one message or in separate messages, we will read only the first three you submit. You are welcome to send fewer than three poems.

3) Include your poem(s) in the body of your email message. Do not send attachments. Attachments will be not be read.

If your poem has special formatting requirements which cannot be reproduced in the body of an email, please send it anyway within the body of your email, but include a note about the formatting requirements. If necessary, we will get back to you to request a copy in the correct format.

4) Due to space limitations, we prefer to be sent poems of 50 lines or less. While we will still read longer submissions, they will have to be exceptional to be included. There is no lower limit on lines, so you are welcome to send haiku and other short forms, provided you send no more than three poems in total.

5) You are welcome to submit both unpublished and previously-published poems:
a) Unpublished poems: Unpublished poems selected for inclusion will be eligible for the Rhysling Awards: see http://www.sfpoetry.com/rhysling.html
b) Previously-published poems: Please supply full details of previous publication, including online, magazine and book publication. If permission is required from a publisher for your poem to be reprinted, we will ask you for the publisher's contact details, and for your help with securing permission to reprint the poem in "The Stars Like Sand" should your poem be selected for inclusion.

6) If you are unsure what speculative poetry is, please see the notes below. If you are still not sure whether your poem fits, please send it anyway - we would rather read some poems that don't fit than miss out on good but "borderline" poems.

7) After your poem(s), please include a biography of no more than 100 words in the body of your email message. Your biography may be edited for reasons of space.

Responding to submissions

8) We will respond to all submissions as quickly as possible. However, the time taken to respond depends on the volume of submissions received. Please be aware that, due to size limitations on the anthology, many submitted poems of merit will, unfortunately, have to be rejected.

9) Previous experience suggests that we are unlikely to be able to include all the previously-published poems we initially select for inclusion, due to difficulties obtaining reprint permissions. Should this occur, we may return to some poems that we were unable to include in our initial selection and ask the poets whether we can now include these poems in the anthology. We will do this only as and when necessary, so please do not resubmit poems which were initially rejected, or submit new poems, unless we ask you to.


10) All poets included, or their estates in the case of deceased poets, will receive a free copy of the anthology. There will no monetary payment for included poems.

Who can submit?

11) Residents of Australia, and Australians not currently resident in Australia, are eligible to submit. If you are unsure whether you are eligible to submit, please include a note in your email submission letting us know your situation.


Speculative poetry is poetry that falls within the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, plus some related genres such as magic realism, metafiction, and fabulation. It is not easy to give precise  definitions, partly because many of these genres are framed in term of fiction rather than poetry.

A good starting point is ""About Science Fiction Poetry" by Suzette Haden Elgin, the founder of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, which you can read here: http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin/SFPoetry.html

Despite its title, this article is applicable to all forms of speculative poetry.


Tim Jones

Tim Jones is a New Zealand poet and author of both literary fiction and science fiction who was awarded the New Zealand Society of Authors Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010.

Among his recent books are fantasy novel Anarya’s Secret (RedBrick, 2007), short story collectionTransported (Vintage, 2008), and poetry anthology Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand(Interactive Press, 2009), co-edited with Mark Pirie. Voyagers won the “Best Collected Work” category in the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Tim's third poetry collection, Men Briefly Explained, was published by Interactive Press in late 2011.

Tim's poem "The Translator" appeared in Best New Zealand Poems 2004, and his short fiction has appeared in, among many other venues, Best New Zealand Fiction 4 (2007), and The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (2009). His short story “The New Neighbours” was included inThe Apex Book of World SF, Volume 2 (2012).

In 2011, Tim edited a special issue of the Science Fiction Poetry Association's online journal Eye to the Telescope, devoted to speculative poetry by Australian and New Zealand poets – see http://eyetothetelescope.com/

P. S. Cottier

P.S. Cottier's third poetry collection is the suite of poems "Selection Criteria for Death", published inTriptych Poets Issue Three, Blemish Books in 2012.  She has shared the David Campbell Award, given for the best unpublished poem by an ACT region writer.  Her prose poem "Pod, cast", originally awarded first place in a US science fiction competition in 2008, was included in The Indigo Book of Australian Prose Poems (2011).  Penelope has had many fantasy and science fiction poems published in non-genre journals and newspapers, such as The Canberra Times and Eureka Street.

Penelope is also widely published in speculative journals in Australia and elsewhere, such as Star*Line(US) and Chiaroscuro: Treatments of Light and Shade in words (Canada).  Her poem "Fingernails" was recently nominated for the Rhysling Awards, and her magic realist poem "Eight things you may not know about Vladimir Putin's dog" was included in the inaugural Australian Poetry members' anthology.

She wrote her PhD in literature at the Australian National University.


Interactive Publications Pty Ltd has been in business since 1994 and has been growing steadily since then. IP currently publishes 35+ titles per year, and is the second largest publisher of literary titles in Queensland.

Interactive Press is one of four imprints of IP. Interactive Press is one of the leading poetry imprints in Australia, publishing up to eight titles each year. Interactive Press titles are generally released via conventional print, as well as in print on demand (POD) and various eBook formats for outlets such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Overdrive, eBooks Corp and Wheelers, making them accessible to audiences world-wide.

IP's publisher is Dr David Reiter, himself a prize-winning poet and author.

19 February 2013

Tuesday Poem: Dogs, by John Horrocks

I have three dogs:

Top- fast and lean. Half Labrador, he sidles around like a furtive waiter,
hoping for the tip he never earned.

Jack – he’s clever but too old. When a bitch is on heat he wanders away
and looks for food.

Boy – good-natured, though he eats chooks. My favourite.
A good worker if not tired from chasing rabbits.

Hats are back! I was surprised to see a dog
in a chic little place in Willis Street.
I was sipping caffe latte and taking in
the ambience - those rimu floorboards,
a real fire in the hearth, crazy
hats with flowers and jewels
hanging from wires.

Tongues spoke from a painting
of melting heads with a German
message ... about Zeit?
and there was a cool young poet
reading of places like St Peter’s, Paris, Pamplona.

Time indeed for reverie, a step back,
lost in that audience where mulled
glowed in slender hands,
the world and all its destinations
swirling in the whirligig of words.

I wanted to hold the moment,
say, “Wait, this is beautiful.”
Banal maybe, but i did feel something
more than merely satisfying.

Then in that moment of completeness
this scruffy devil of a dog appeared.
It went straight to me,
ignored every poetaster
and beautiful person,
then sniffed at each of my shoes
as if to say,

“What are you doing here – you
interesting person?
Where are your dogs?”

Credit note: "Dogs" is from John Horrocks' collection Raw Places (Steele Roberts, 2005), and is reproduced by kind permission of the author. This version has some minor variations from the version that appears in "Dogs".

Tim says: John and I met last year when we read together at a poetry event at the Greytown Arts Festival organised by the rather wonderful Madeleine Marie Slavick. Afterwards, there was lots of swapping of poetry collections among the nine poets who took part, and I thereby obtained a copy of John's collection Raw Places. John is a farmer as well as a poet, and many of the poems are about his farm in the Wairarapa - but as a country boy trying to make good in the big city myself (cue banjo music), "Dogs" especially resonated with me. John tells me the poem is based on an actual event that happened to him at a Jenny Bornholdt reading.

An unrelated note: I attended the first New Zealand Poetry Society Wellington meeting of the year last night, where there were two guest poets: Andrew Nancea recent graduate of the Iowa Creative Writing programme, who is currently teaching at the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington, and Colin Patterson from Leeston: "Colin is a retired farmer and unlikely poet, who entered his writing career late but with gusto. He is well-known around the South Island for his hearty performances."

It would be almost impossible to imagine two more contrasting male poets in genre, style and presentation - the witty, sophisticated, drawling American with his retinue of poetry students in summer frocks, followed by Colin Patterson's archetypal (and beautifully-performed) bush poetry - but I enjoyed them both. It was a great way to kick off the Poetry Society's year. 

The Tuesday Poem: Features the strong devoted.

15 February 2013

Please fill in this survey by Wednesday for a student research project

A couple of months ago, I helped out student Shannon Patraj with the first part of a research project on blogging. Now Shannon would like the help of readers of this blog with the next part of this research - by filling in this short five-question survey. The questions in it are especially applicable to writers:


The deadline for responses is Wednesday 20 February,* so it's close - sorry for the short notice!

Shannon has provided the following context for the survey:

"I am studying Creative Media Production at the Higher National Diploma level, and one of the current units I am doing is Contextual Studies. The first assignment done on your blog, was to identify and demonstrate an understanding of the institutional context which impacts on its production.

There is a follow up assignment that has be built on the same media production as the first. Understanding of the product should be deepened by conducting various primary and secondary research methodologies. The research is to explore how consumers of the media product receive the chosen product using theoretical approaches.

This essay will be accompanied by a power point presentation in class to demonstrate a thorough understanding of what was written."

I hope you'll be able to fill in the survey and help Shannon out.

*The deadline was originally Sunday 16 February, but Shannon was subsequently able to get an extension.

05 February 2013

Tuesday Poem: Dante And Isaac Asimov

Dante and Isaac Asimov
agree to divide up the world.
"You can have the facts, Isaac,"
says Dante, waving his bagel,
"and the fiction. Just leave me the poem, O.K?"

Isaac thinks about that. He's
unsure of this underfed stranger.
"The poem?" "Inferno and so forth. It's
all the fame I need." "That's fair," says Isaac.

Dante spreads his hands and smiles.
"Write all you like, my friend.
They'll still remember me
when you are long forgotten.
Don't you agree?"

Isaac shrugs. "You're too
concerned about such things.
Ten books a year and I'm happy-
it doesn't matter much what on."

He sees that his plate is clean,
shoves back his chair. "Excuse me, please.
My typewriter calls. Perhaps
we'll meet again?"
"Perhaps. Enjoy your work, my friend."

Isaac is swallowed by the wind.
The poet lingers, looking at faces
swirling by his window.
"Always hurrying," he says.

Credit note: "Dante and Isaac Asimov" is from my first collection, Boat People (HeadworX, 2001).

Tim says: Isaac Asimov was a famously prolific writer on a wide range of topics besides the science fiction novels he is best known for. Dante was not so prolific (as far as we know - though some scholars believe he wrote most of John Grisham's legal thrillers under the assumed name "William Shakespeare".)

The Tuesday Poem: Marches on with measured tread.