Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reading fiction at Wordbrew V!

Even though there's not a guarantee of BeerLao being available there, I have been talked into joining Wordbrew V for 2017! I'll be bringing something from the Southeast Asian horror side of things. Wordbrew V is October 22nd. A big thanks to Conrad Z-ro for the invitation!

This is the 5th year of local authors reading short sections of their fiction onstage. "Think of it as speed dating for fiction," I've been threate...informed. We convene at Kieran's Irish Pub at 85 6th St N, in Minneapolis!

After the readings, we all hang out, nosh, schmooze, and the authors are available to sell/sign their books. Genres range from Sci-fi to Horror to Fantasy and Beyond. It's a great opportunity for fiction fans to experience a variety of authors/genres all in one event.

 Hosted by the MinnSpec Writers Group. MC - Rob Callahan.  The doors open at noon, and readings start at 1. No cover!

Speculative Poetry Panel Ideas for 2018

This is a list that will be updated as more inspiration hits, but I know that many of our members are asking what kind of events they can propose in support of the SFPA Ruby Anniversary throughout 2018.

There’s no “Official” SFPA curriculum on speculative poetry as it stands, but our officers, ad hoc historians and others will certainly be happy to work with individual members to fine-tune various panel proposals or connect them with other members in the state or city for readings and events on these or similar subjects! 

Speculative Poetry Workshop (60 Minutes) It's the SFPA ruby anniversary and this year we’d like to see plenty of speculative poetry workshops filled with creative prompts and exercises in both short forms and longer forms to bring out your imaginative verse.

SFF Poetry Slam/Open Mic (60 to 120 Minutes)
Help getting the weekend off to an exciting start with a poetry slam, open mic for the convention. In some regions, members may prefer to do a round-robin approach, or both, if there’s particular support at the event for poetry readings. If you’re really daring, you can propose the Stately Thunderdome approach to SFF poetry readings. Themed readings are certainly encouraged. Do you want to do a reading of vampire or Godzilla-inspired poetry? Hard SFF poems? The sky’s the limit.

40 Years of the SFPA (60 Minutes)
A look at the origins of the SFPA, Suzette Haden Elgin, prior presidents, current membership and highlights and an introduction to the state of speculative poetry around the world today.

Rhysling Awards Retrospective (60 Minutes) The 40th anniversary Rhysling Awards will be revealed at Diversicon 26, but we encourage a look at Rhysling winners and nominees from previous years, including more thorough discussions of what trends we could see over the years among what the members preferred and didn’t. Alternate panel idea: Going Vogon: A challenge to make truly awful SFF Poems for consideration.

Grandmasters of Speculative Poetry (60 Minutes)
A look at the work of the SFPA Grand Masters. A discussion of the poetry work of David C. Kopaska Merkel, Marge Simon, Steve Sneyd, Jane Yolen, Ray Bradbury, Robert Frazier, and Bruce Boston and their contributions to the field of SFF Poetry.

Lady Poetesses From Hell and Other Midwestern Entities (60 Minutes)
A look at the Minnesota Speculative Poetry collective Lady Poetesses from Hell and other regional speculative poetry collectives and workshops of the Midwest.

SFPA Poetry Clinic (60+ Minutes or as time permits)
Volunteer poets, editors will meet with poets one on one or in small groups, depending on demand to look at 2-3 poems and provide feedback and critique on how to improve the poems for publication or performance.

Elgin Awards In Review (60 Minutes)
A look at the 2017 Elgin Award nominees and previous winners of the Elgin Awards and nominees of note that have been selected by our members from around the world.

Star*Lines, Dwarf Stars and Eyes to the Telescope, Oh My! (60 Minutes)
Past and present editors and contributors of the SFPA publications discuss the publications, editorial approach and what we're looking for in the years ahead.

Art of the SFPA (60 Minutes)
A look at the Star*Line, Rhysling and Dwarf Stars covers and interiors of the last 40 years, as well as other special projects of the organization over the decades.

SFPA Book-Off! (60 Minutes)
Shameless self-promotion time! SFPA members in town get 2 minutes to pitch us your newest or favorite book/anthology they've written that's available in the SFPA bookstore/table at the convention this year. No sample-reading, save it for the open-mics...

New Voices, New Verses (60 Minutes)
A look at the work of new first-time members of the SFPA from 2017-2018.

Speculative Verse, Pulitzer Prizes and Poet Laureates (60 Minutes)
A look at the work of Tracy K. Smith, US Poet Laureate, Pulitzer-prize winning author of the poetry collection Life On Mars.

Updating The ‘Verse (60 Minutes)
A Speculative Poetry News panel, with a special and a look at new and defunct Speculative Poetry Markets around the world

Among The Stars/In Memoriam (60 Minutes)
Memorial remarks on speculative poets who passed away in 2017 and 2018

Speculative Poetry Magnetic Poetry Board
Throughout the weekend, members and participants can have fun playing with a magnetic poetry board.

It's A Cookbook! It's A Cookbook!

Poems of recipes or cocktails inspired by or involving SFF or horror themes set up at the hospitality suites.

Coming to Arcana 47!

Arcana is a long-running horror convention that bills itself as "a convention of the dark fantastic." Arcana is held annually in St. Paul, Minnesota and typically features a famous author or artist from the dark fantasy genre as its guest of honor. Arcana programming includes a variety of panels, talks, and films. Other programming includes a book and art auction and an "open" reading. The presentation of the Minnesota Fantasy Award is a key feature of each year's convention.

On Saturday, I'll be presenting at 11:00-11:55 a.m., Mainstage. for the panel: Giants in Fact, Folklore, Fiction, and Film. For Arcana's annual “Monster of the Year” panel, this time we look at giant guys and gals, from dinosaurs to the Giant of the beanstalk to Bigfoot, King Kong, Godzilla, and on. Eric M. Heideman, mod.; Scott F. Wyatt and I will discuss with the audience. I'll be bringing in a particular conversation on giants in Southeast Asian myth and legend, naturally! Or unnaturally, as the case may be for this convention.

From 4:00-6:00 p.m., Mainstage is the Minn-Con Auction. The Minn-Con Auction keeps the Arcana parent organization afloat through a blend of books, magazines, DVDs/BluRays, artwork, and miscellaneous items. So much fun it’s scary! I'll be one of the auctioneers with Dwayne H. Olson!

I'll also be helping with the late-night Scary TV Party at Krushenko's: "That signpost up ahead…Do not touch your television set. " starting at 9:30PM until whenever the last person falls asleep! If they dare!

This year's guest of honor is William F. Nolan, who was born on March 6, 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He is a prolific writer and actor, particularly known for Logan's Run (1976), Trilogy of Terror (1975) and Burnt Offerings (1976).

From the speculative theater perspective, Roy C. Booth will be there, as will Cynthia Booth! Roy C. Booth hails from Bemidji, MN where he manages Roy's Comics & Games (est. 1992) with his wife and three sons. He is a published author, poet, journalist, essayist, gag writer, and optioned screenwriter with over 900 publication credits, and internationally awarded playwright with 57 stage plays published (Samuel French, Heuer, et al) with 825+ productions worldwide in 30 countries in ten languages. He is also known for collaborations with R Thomas Riley, Brian Keene, Eric M. Heideman, William F. Wu, Axel Kohagen, and others!

Cynthia Booth is a published poet, short story writer, and internationally awarded playwright presently also residing in Bemidji, Minnesota. They’ve been long-time talented friends and supporters of my work, and I’m excited to see them a part of this year’s Arcana to hear what’s new with them in their creative journeys!

I'll see you there!

2017 Elgin Award Winners Announced!

It was an honor and privilege to have Minneapolis-based poet Josh Brown as our Elgin Award Chair for the largest year of nominees in the history of the SFPA: Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. He recently shared his personal remarks on the process as chair at SPECPO.

Coordinating the 300+ members of our international organization to read through and consider 52 books is no small task. Especially when those books come from such diverse traditions as the Hmong, Anglo-Burmese, Filipina, South Asian, and Vietnamese Diaspora, classical science fiction, Christian and Islamic allegories, the early history of computing, haikus, experimental poetics, the work of SFF Poetry Grand Masters, and so much more. Some were by first-time authors, and some were by poet laureates of their cities. But so many of our members found space and time in their own busy schedules to consider all of them.

I thank Josh for his firm and steady hand on this, because rallying our membership to read and engage with so many diverse texts as these, across 19 nations and almost every time zone, especially with people who have a poet's temperament is truly no small task.

I applaud all of our members who boldly tolk on the challenge and helped Josh, I, and the executive committee of the SFPA come to a consensus on the matter. I look forward to all of the discussions that are yet ahead for these works, and the other nominees.

My personal and official congratulations, then, to Jeannine Hall Gailey, Neil Aitken, Jenna LĂȘ, Marge Simon, Sandy DeLuca, Margaret Rhee, Wendy Rathbone, and John C. Mannone in our 39th year of the SFPA as the recipients of the 5th-ever Elgin Awards for Speculative Poetry Books of the Year. 
May the times ahead be filled with even greater encouragement and inspiration and opportunity for them, and may the very best of their words always find their way to the stars they're meant for.

Full Length Category
 First: Field Guide to the End of the World • Jeannine Hall Gailey (Moon City Press, 2016)

Second (tie): A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora • Jenna Le (Anchor & Plume, 2016)

Second (tie): Small Spirits: Dark Dolls • Marge Simon (Midnight Town Media, 2016)

Third: Dead  Starships • Wendy Rathbone (Eye Scry Publications, 2016)

Chapbook Category
First Place: Leviathan • Neil Aitken (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2016)

Second Place: Radio Heart, or; How Robots Fall Out of Love • Margaret Rhee (Finishing Line Press, 2016)

Third Place: Apocalypse • John C. Mannone (Alban Lake, 2015)

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Moving Mountains on a budget

SEARAC recently posted a helpful video for folks interested in figuring out how to get to the Moving Mountains summit in October on a budget. I applaud this resource being made available to prospective attendees and find much of the information may be applicable for other organizations putting together their own evens in the future. The advantage is that for many of these ideas, they build vital skill sets that are practical and worthwhile outside of this event and issue alone. If you're going to apply these, I'd recommend getting a start on it now, and I would be concerned that the time is very short to fulfill the funding drives because transport tickets will only increase between now and October.

Friday, September 08, 2017

SFPA Dwarf Star Awards Announced

This year’s chair for the Dwarf Star Awards, Robin Mayhall gave us many fine works to consider. Our members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association voted, and here are the results:

First Place: “aster than the speed of lightf” by LeRoy Gorman 
Second Place: “Lover” by Holly Day
 Third Place: “Loss” by Sandi Leibowitz .

 Chair Robin Mayhall said “Congratulations to each of these winners. Your work is extraordinary—truly the best of the best short poems published in 2016! Many thanks to those who nominated poems and to all of the members who voted. If you haven’t yet read through your copy of the 2017 Dwarf Stars Anthology, please pick it up and read these wonderful works, as well as the many other surreal, funny, sad, spooky and beautiful poems therein.”

 For those who want a list of the 2017 candidates, please click here. This award is given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association to recognize the best speculative poem of 1–10 lines published in the previous year.

Mieng at the Museum in Philadelphia!

Our amazing friends at Laos In The House recently gave us the update on what’s happening throughout September in Philadelphia starting this weekend. If you’re in the area be sure to catch it!

Friday, September 8, 6-8PM Opening Reception: Hurry Up and Wait
Curated by Adriel Luis (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center), this new exhibition at the Asian Arts Initiative takes on art that explores the moments within in the complex process of migration. September 1 – December 15, 2017

Saturday, September 9, 10AM-8PM PHLA Kitchen Opens at Art Museum's Perelman Cafe -
A delicious new menu created for Philadelphia Assembled by twelve Philly culinary artists and storytellers. This month's dishes are inspired by survival, and will feature mieng! Come taste this Luang Prabang specialty available September 9 – October 8, open Tuesday through Sunday 10-2:30PM.

Thursday, September 14, 6-8PM Recipes For Change with Catzie Vilayphonh -
Join us at the Free Library of Philadelphia's Culinary Literacy Center for a special evening of food and storytelling. Presented in partnership with Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and The Philadelphia Commission for Women, as part of Welcoming Week, an annual series of events where communities bring together immigrants, refugees, and native-born residents to raise awareness on the benefits of welcoming everyone. Participants will make mieng and hear the story of a trickster who uses it to teach a lesson.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Ananya Dance Theater Presents: Shyamali/Dissent Sept. 15-16th

"Shyamali: Sprouting Words" is inspired by the courage of global women of color who speak up to sustain communities and whose dissent fuels life force. It celebrates women who refuse to be broken and invokes the resilience of grass, which springs up even when trod upon.

Ananya Chatterjea's choreography combines the metaphor and poetry of Contemporary Indian Dance in a movement practice anchored in social justice as it invokes the spirit of Dakini, traditionally embodied by destruction, chaos, and transformation.

Dakini lives in the possibilities of audiences' and performers' discomfort and insists that the role of women's rage and their spiritual ecstasy be seen in the arc towards equity. This tumult resolves through choreography that weaves ritualistic performance and dances of the gentle warrior.

Chatterjea's production team includes the dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre, collaborating director Marcus Young, composer Greg Schutte, scenic designer Joel Sass, media designer Darren Johnson, costume designer Annie Cady, and lighting designer Kevin A. Jones.

Be sure to catch it!

Monday, September 04, 2017

Thanks for joining us at DreamHaven!

Conrad Zero took some great footage of my reading at DreamHaven Books for the 10th anniversary of my first full-length book of poetry, On The Other Side Of The Eye on August 30th, 2017. We had a good showing and I appreciate everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to see me for my first reading since coming back to the Twin Cities, outside of the Science Fiction convention scene. 

I also appreciate Yuk Ki Lau coming out, because he was the one who designed the distinctive cover for On The Other Side Of The Eye. I also saw Mali Kouanchao, the award-winning Lao American artist and entrepreneur behind Cool Jerk, and Mike Davis of Burlesque North America who've been long-standing supporters of my work. We all had a chance to also celebrate the end of Lao-American Artist Heritage Month in Minnesota. Special thanks to Terry Faust, Kev Minh Allen, and Peuo Tatyana Tuy for their help documenting this event, as well as Tessa Johnstone Carlson for all of her help making this a great evening. I deeply appreciate the support DreamHaven gave us to hold this reading on short notice!

I'm looking forward to more readings with all of you in the very near future, so stay tuned for more details!