Tag: speculative fiction

  • Modernists Vs. Zombies, the Rematch

    “J’accuse!” shouted our daughter last night. No, not really, but she did hold us sternly to account for misleading her. Our dinner table conversations had given her the impression that science fiction and fantasy were high-prestige literary modes. Now, in her junior year AP course, the most seriously literary English class of her life, she […]

  • Poetry as speculative fiction; or, being naive

    I don’t share in ritual contempt for literary criticism as an enterprise—how could I and still bear to live with myself?—but having spent too much of the summer engaged in a massive review of several critical fields, I feel annoyed about the whole endeavor. English Departments are full of brilliant, passionate people but most of […]

  • Chimeras in the poetry zoo, or speculative verse novels

    Knock me over with a griffin feather: even though I published one, I did not understand that the contemporary speculative verse novel for adults was a thing. Much less a thing that gets published by Norton and Knopf.* So I’ve been roaming the field, discovering weird beasts lurking around the poetryscape. Preliminary conclusion: the stories […]

  • In which the modernism scholar attends her first con

    Three weeks out: What do these panel/ event names mean? “Queers Dig Time Lords and Outer Alliance TARDIS Party”? “Is Feminism Magic? The My Little Pony Panel!”? “None of Us Are Goats”? One week out: Why aren’t my co-panelists answering the let’s-get-prepped email the conscientious WisCon organizers prompted me to send? Do they hate me […]

  • Poets do it for free

      You thought I meant poetry readings, I’m sure, and yes, we will talk dirty to you in bookstores, classrooms, cafés, and other marginal spaces, for little or no compensation. But at the moment I’m referring to another kind of freebie. The wheel of the year has turned and it’s time to get Feral for National Poetry […]

  • I write my way out of it

    One of my talisman poems is section 6 from H.D.’s “The Walls Do Not Fall.” The poet imagines herself as a worm, emblem of lowly persistence, among mist-jeweled grass blades. Her mantra: “I profit/ by every calamity;/ I eat my way out of it.” The calamity for H.D. was living in London during the Blitz. […]

  • Searching for habitable planets

    Otherworldly poetry is an adaptable traveler—it can thrive in many climates and habitats—but the new science fiction-themed issue of the New Yorker does not, apparently, possess a life-sustaining atmosphere. My favorite reading bandwidth is slipstream, new fabulism, whatever you call it: that place on the dial where so-called literary values of complexity, moral ambiguity, and […]