Monday, September 30, 2013

Markets: Alban Lake Publishing

You know those market books that every writer is supposed to have? Writer's  Market, Poet's Market, those guys? Well, sadly, my most recent market book is a Poet's Market from 2010. Since I don't have enough money to buy the new book and my local library certainly won't have it, I decided to check out some of the old markets that had an online presence.

I made a list. The first one's site is now something in Japanese. My next two were a couple located at, The Fifth Di... (SF & F fiction and poetry) and Scifaikuest (SF & F haiku & similar). Alas, I got to the site and found the guy who started it had passed away (eternal rest grant unto him...).

I googled Scifaikuest and found out it is still around at a new web site,  They are a small press and do books as well as periodicals.

Their magazines:

1. Scifaikuest: Scifaikuest publishes original scifaiku, haibun, senryu, tanka, and horrorku and other minimalist forms, and articles about these forms. In their guidelines, they even mention sijo, a poetic form I am abnormally fond of. The online edition of their magazine (very short) is here: Scifaikuest August 2013.

2. Illumen: Speculative poetry is one result of the application of imagination to reality. In speculative poetry, one’s “vision” often is taken from a different angle, from another perspective, perhaps even from another time and place. Speculative poetry is usually tinged with one or more of the genres. Thus, in speculative poetry you find hints of science fiction, fantasy, folklore, myth, the surreal…and yes, even horror. Good speculative poetry will awaken a sense of adventure in the reader. That’s what we’re looking for: good, original speculative poetry.

3. Outposts: Outposts of Beyond publishes original science fiction and fantasy short stories, poems, art, articles, reviews, and interviews. Preferred are adventure stories, space opera, and magic opera [like space opera, but fantasy]. Also preferred are stories that take place on other worlds. Stories must have the following: characters the reader cares about, plots and subplots, and settings that draw the reader into them. Must have. Outposts of Beyond considers stories between 3,000 and 8,000 words long. Outposts of Beyond considers poems between 12 and 100 lines long.

And more. You'll have to check out the rest on their site. It does seem though that there is more than one that I might consider submitting to. If only I had the money for the print versions of these zines! I'd buy myself one as a birthday present but I already bought a brand new used copy of You Can Write Poetry by Jeff Mock (after 20 years of being a mad, self-taught autistic savant poet, I'm entitled to start learning how it's really done.)

Since they do accept e-submissions--- all I can afford, mad autistic poeting doesn't pay well--- I'm going to submit a few after I've read through their online editions. I'm particularly considering Scifaikuest, even though I don't write haiku. Yet. Maybe they would be open to some scifi-sijo instead of scifaiku for a change. ;)

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Poem: nuclear sainthood profits/Writing Poetry Benefits Prose Writers

 nuclear sainthood profits

wages after the labour, we beseech you, o limited nuclear war
a son is given to us, testing increasingly smaller warheads
if this limit is overshot, ground zero will accumulate debris
o mary conceived without sin, detonate a nuclear weapon
in the presence of mine enemies

behold, a virgin shall declare war on the soviet union and china
the market price of our pope, our bishop, and all true believers
included mutual assured destruction when wages and prices are high
and large numbers of intercontinental ballistic missiles
now and at the hour of our death

(c) 1990 Nissa Annakindt

OK, thing one. This is not one of those dreary anti-nuclear poems with a Very Important Message. It doesn't have a message. There is also no intent to be disrespectful of the Catholic faith, since such disrespect is also too dreary for words.

I used the juxtaposition method, using an angsty book about nuclear war, a Catholic prayer book, and something dull by Karl Marx as the source of the words and phrases. I like it. It amuses me. It makes me think strange thoughts. Which is all I ask of it. There is also no intent to be disrespectful of the Catholic faith, since such disrespect is also too dreary for words.

Shared at: Poetry Pantry #169

Writing Poetry Benefits Prose Writers

I read once about some sci-fi writer who warmed up for his writing sessions by reading poetry. It helped him appreciate beautiful and/or powerful language or something.

Writing poetry is also of benefit. It helps young/new writers get started producing writing, it helps writers whose work is not winning the attention of editors and the public, and it helps experienced writers who feel they have gone stale.

Poetry is about powerful and memorable words. Because bland poetry fades away into nothing before the reader's eye is finished with it. The skills used in writing poetry can help to avoid writing dull prose.

Poetry is a way to get into the groove of producing writing regularly. It helps build confidence in the neophyte and jump-starts a writer who is getting blocked or bored with writing.

Because poetry is not appreciated in our society in any financial way, there are no high stakes to intimidate you. Suppose you write a poem, and you learn something in the writing. If the poem sucks, probably no one will publish it and they certainly won't pay you money. If the poem is utterly brilliant, probably no one will publish it and they certainly won't pay you money. It kind of takes the pressure off.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Class in Writing Poetry for New Fiction Writers

Cheney the Election Day cat
 I've decided to teach a class in poetry writing. Since there is not a lot of enthusiasm for poetry out there, I've decided to aim it at young/new fiction writers who want to learn the craft through writing poetry. I think poetry writing, done write, is a cure for the bland boring prose so many churn out at first. And writing poems is less of a time commitment than, say, writing epic novels.

It's going to be an odd class. You see, I never officially learned how to write poetry. I'm more of a mad, self-taught autistic savant poet which I think is a great qualification for teaching a poetry class. Better than being one of those English majors who knows all about how to dissect dead poems but nothing about how to make poems live.

The class will be free. That's what I know at this point. I'm not quite sure how other people do online classes--- do you know or have experience in this? Please tell me!

If you might be interested in the class, make a comment, here or on my Facebook page (link below). Do you have questions? Ask them.

UPDATE: I'm still planning to do this. Soon. As soon as I finish turning this blog into a poetry e-zine. I also need to buy a couple of poetry books in the Dover Thrift Edition line, to use as textbooks.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Poem: The Steam Cranes/Why Novelists Read Poetry


the steam cranes

a sijo

a team of steam cranes, hydraulically
lifting brownish-gray metaphors
quarreling over work methods
and over who has a bigger engine shaft

but what good are industrial efforts
in the days of nuclear rains?

(c) Nissa Annakindt 2012

Shared on Poetry Pantry #168

This is a sijo--- a Korean poetry form. The topic was chosen by opening one of my encyclopedias at random. This poem is NOT included in my poetry book, Where the Opium Cactus Grows, which is available on

Why Novelists Read Poetry

Some time I read about the working habits of well-known writers. One writer, whose name I do not remember, started each writing session by reading poetry. It helped him use sharper and more meaningful language in his novels.

Poetry is not much appreciated these days, and 'therapeutic' poetry which consists in someone's prose whines arranged as if it were free verse is considered of equal worth with the greatest poems ever written.

I don't claim to be expert in knowing the literary value of a poem, like the experts who think Nikki Giovanni's poem about 'n-gg-r can you kill a honkey' is the work of one of the greatest poets of our age. But I do feel I have a grasp on what poems are 'strong' and thus useful for the novelist reading to improve his prose. It's the language--- vivid images, strong and meaningful words, combinations of ideas which are unexpected, and strong attention to the sound of the words--- and, yes, that can include rhyme and alliteration even in modern times.

A novelist's reading list of poetry will include the great poets of the past like Robert Burns and Friedrich Schiller, and it will include something modern. In the case of modern poets it is perfectly acceptable to reject vast numbers of poets and schools of poets that don't speak to the reader. The verdict of literary history has not yet been passed on these works.

I would also include poems in translation. In college I read poems translated from Russian and Chinese and quite enjoyed them--- even though my experience in reading German poems in the original and then in translation made me aware that poems, like everything else, cannot really be translating without losing something.

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