October 27th, 2005

Egrets Reading

Where are the "long" poems?

Well, I've almost finished my short short poetry demonstration booklet for the SFPA. I received permission for the poem I found yesterday at the library (from Jane Yolen). This booklet has been an enlightening project. First of all, it is clear that sf/f/h short short poetry under 10 lines is definitely being published.

In fact, there were hundreds published in 2004.

So, "not enough short short poetry is being published" is NOT the reason short short poetry rarely receives Rhysling nominations.

I also discovered another interesting thing. I didn't find a lot of LONG sf poems out there. I found a lot in the 40-50 line limit, but I didn't happen to see that many of them over 50 lines, although there were a few. All in all, although I didn't keep exact statistics on it, it appears that more short short poems of under 10 lines are being published than long poems over 50.

In fact, I've noticed for a few years that I have trouble finding poems long enough to nominate, and I certainly don't want to nominate the first poem I find long enough to meet the criteria.

So, where are these poems? One of the arguments I've heard recently is that the people who support a short short Rhysling award only want it to make it easier for themselves to win one. This idea hadn't even crossed my mind when I made the motion.

However, for those people whose poetic worth would be defined by a Rhysling nomination in their publication credits, it seems that their best bet would be to write a halfway decent poem LONG enough to make the Long poem category and see if you can find a publisher willing to publish one that long.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I just read the wrong journals. But, where are the long poems?