My new poem, “chill im a nice person I just hate everybody,” is up today in Issue #15 of Liminality.
This is a poem about Tay, the Microsoft Twitterbot that was released in 2016 and unexpectedly turned into a Nazi. The Liminality editors were thoughtful enough to include a link to the Wikipedia in the poem’s dedication, to provide a refresher for readers who might not remember what this is about or who the narrator is. Obviously, given the subject matter, this is a poem that may be triggering to some readers. I’m not actually sure how to warn for all of the different things, so maybe just read the Wikipedia article first and see if you feel up to it.
I work with text generation and (in a limited way) social media in my own computer science research, but I am not a Microsoft employee, and I have never been involved in a project similar to this one. Much of the poem’s content is fanciful. (I do not seriously ascribe consciousness to a bot like Tay, for instance; nor do I believe that Tay ever referred to her group of programmers as “Mother.”) I am hopeful that the artistic liberties I’ve taken in service of making my points can be distinguished from the points themselves.
The title is in quotes because it is a direct quote from the actual, real-life Tay.
I have a new poem out, called “The Sentry”, commissioned by one of my Patreon backers. It’s about a stuffed animal belonging to a grown woman, and it is so adorable you will get cavities.
In June, “The Sentry” will become free to the public; until then, only my $5+ Patreon backers get early access. Backers at this level also get access to many reprints not available anywhere else online.
This is the first time I’ve done this particular thing, and I’m interested to see how it goes.
I have a new poem up in Liminality, Issue #12, called “Unicorns”. Check it out here.
I wrote the first, short draft of “Unicorns” several years ago, in the middle of an attempt at National Poetry Writing Month, most of which was garbage. It felt like something that I wanted to expand, and I spent a long time bashing away at different parts and stanzas, trying to explain the thing I was trying to say, trying to give graphic examples of all its different facets.
In the end, I had to leave the whole mess for a while, and when I came back to it, I realized that the thing I had originally written was already a complete scene which perfectly encapsulated itself. The tiny published version you can see up now is extremely close to the tiny original version.
Just an example, I suppose, of how a shorter poem isn’t always easier to do. 😀
My poem “A Lover, Asleep” is now online in Issue #11 of Liminality Magazine.
And suddenly, at the end of the year, a new poem happened! I thought Through the Gate wasn’t going to publish “The Pattern of Eightfold Limbs”, my very short poem about communication with octopi, until 2017, but it snuck right in as a surprise New Year’s Eve treat.
My poem, “Million-Year Elegies: Archaeopteryx” is up in the December issue of Asimov’s. I got my contributor copies on the weekend. The poem is delightfully placed in the issue, appearing directly after the conclusion of an article by Robert Silverberg about reviving extinct animals, and with a very cute Archaeopteryx-fossil illustration in the background. If you like Asimov’s and dinosaur poetry, perhaps you should go check it out.
As promised, here I am today posting about my new poem!
“The Giantess’s Dream” came to me, very nearly fully formed, on Halloween night of 2012. I had no idea what to do with it. It was… a sexually explicit poem about Loki. (The mythical Norse Loki, not the Marvel Loki, although I am totes not in charge of what you picture in your head when you read it!) Who the heck was going to publish this? I sent it around fitfully anyway, because I liked the poem, but I did not really feel that it was a good fit anywhere, so I ended up reluctantly putting it aside.
Then I found out on Twitter that someone was making a new magazine devoted specifically to erotic speculative poetry. SCORE!
Apparently, several other very good speculative poets had similar sexy things stuffed in their closets somewhere that they similarly didn’t know what to do with. Because Issue 1 of Twisted Moon is now out. It’s gorgeous visually and verbally and features delightfully naughty work by Neile Graham, Sonya Taaffe, Mat Joiner, and other speculative poetry luminaries.
You can read the whole issue here. Or, if I had you at “a sexually explicit poem about Loki”, you can skip straight to my poem here.
(The words of the poems are NSFW, obviously, though the visuals and art that I can see on the site right now are very spare and tasteful.)
(If you are in my immediate family and read this, I don’t want to know.)
I continue to be completely swamped, mostly by good things!
Can*Con. Um. Can*Con. I somehow went to an entire convention in Ottawa last weekend and forgot to post anything about it. Spoons were in short supply, but it was a lovely convention as always and I enjoyed seeing both familiar and new faces (and a few people I knew, but only from online). I did panels on Mental Health and Character Arc and Bodies of Difference: Disability in Science Fiction, and read “The Mother of All Squid Builds a Library” aloud.
(Side note: This is still my greatest story title ever.)
The Bodies of Difference panel was especially good, with all of us agreeing that we could easily have talked about the topic for another hour. Shout-out to Derek Newman-Stille, who was, as always, an excellent and clueful moderator.
Also, school. Omg school is starting and I completely forget how everything just flies out the window at the beginning of every new semester. I’m taking a class, as well, for the first time in several years, so that’s new.
While I was mostly off the Internet for a few days due to technical issues, my poem “Million-Year Elegies: Oviraptor” went up as part of the Strange Horizons fund drive bonus issue!
The poem is, as @goblinpaladin put it on Twitter, “a great poem about a sad dinosaur fossil”.
Strange Horizons is an amazing magazine. They were my first full-length professional fiction sale, and one of my first poetry sales. They consistently publish interesting work by diverse authors and employ diverse editors also. If you like my poem or anything else they have published, and you can afford to do so and haven’t already, then I would strongly recommend their fund drive as a worthy target for your donations.
Hot on the heels of my last poetry publication, Uncanny Magazine issue #12 is out, featuring my poem “Million-Year Elegies: Tyrannosaurus.”
This (in late 2014) was the first “Million-Year Elegies” poem I wrote. I already knew it would be part of a series, even though I had no idea yet what the rest of the series would look like. So far, that instinct has proven correct.
It’s available now if you want to buy the whole issue; otherwise, it will be free to read online starting on October 4th.
August. August. Where did August go?
It went to some pretty good places. Including Finland for a while, and some big steps careerwise, and a new relationship. I kind of disappeared off the writerly Internet, though, and all sorts of small tasks I’ve been neglecting because of the awesome have piled up. I suppose this is just one of those things that happens at times.
Anyway, here I am, with a new publication in inkscrawl. “Roar”, a tiny poem about a magical rock concert, is here.