March 1st, 2007


The Nature of Speculative Poetry

I find it amazing that some science fiction writers are resistant to speculative poetry. It's one thing to have the "literary poets" stick up their noses, but another thing altogether to have it come from within your own community.

Some people do not see a purpose for a Science Fiction Poetry Association or even a need to classify speculative poetry as a separate type of poetry.

On the recent tomsdisch blog discussion about the Rhysling, mouseworks makes the comment:

"You don't need "speculative" poetry as a separate category as poetry never close itself off from speculation."

She also states that "20th Century poetry was basically always connected with the sciences."

While I agree it isn't necessary to pick up a speculative poetry journal to find speculative poetry, there's certainly a great deal of poetry being published which has nothing at all to do with the sciences or speculation. There's love poetry, slam poetry, political poetry, urban poetry, nature poetry, haiku, religious poetry, historical-based poetry, and regional poetry dealing with local issues, customs, landmarks, and lives. And this is just for starters. Basically, we're still writing about all the things poets always wrote about, which also even includes speculative poetry. I consider Homer, for example, a speculative poet, so speculative poetry is hardly unique to the 20th and 21st Centuries.

I've been told that the label "science fiction poetry" is offensive to some. So, I've been tossing about the labels "speculative" and "poetry of the fantastic" to test the waters and truthfully, there seems to be the very same prejudices, although sometimes from different sources.

On a separate but related note, today I found out that my presentation proposal for Haiku North America on scifaiku was declined. There was something about the wording in the e-mail that makes me wonder if that same prejudice reared its ugly head in the decision-making process. At the moment, I don't know whether to be upset or relieved that I don't have to figure out how to fund a trip to North Carolina in August. I may still go, but now I don't HAVE to go if things aren't optimal at work and with the budget.

Oh and if you feel the urge to contribute to the Rhysling discussion on tomsdisch's blog - don't bother. He'll probably delete it. He's made it clear he'd like the discussion to continue elsewhere than on his blog. So, drew_morse and stillnotbored are continuing the discussion on their blogs.