My story "After the First Comes the Last" is up at Daily Science Fiction today.
Read it here.
This piece was written in a flash fiction class by the queen of flash, Kathy Fish. I really would suggest anyone wanting to generate some new flash to take one of her online classes, which sell out very fast. (ba-dum-cha.) When I wrote this piece, I was playing with the prompt of "firsts and lasts". Somehow, that got to be the question of "What if a witch only had a limited amount of spells in her lifetime? How would she use them?" It's a personal story for me. Someone in the DSF Facebook page has already called it a #MeToo story, but I think if we think in terms of that it limits how we view the world. This isn't just a today story.
When I wrote it, I was thinking of Haruka Weiser, a freshman at UT who was raped, strangled, and killed, her body left in Waller Creek. I went to UT back in 2003-2007. The campus holds a very special place to me. It was one of the few places I felt safe and comfortable. I felt like the trees were my friends and that the other students were people I could talk to and relate to. I'd never had that experience in a school before. Waller Creek, for those of you that don't know, is a beautiful creek that runs below campus (Most of the paths are built above it.) For my Victorian lit class, we went down to Waller and looked at the footprints of dinosaurs that are preserved there, and wrote while sitting on the rocks. It's like a hidden world. So I was devastated to learn of a student's death and assault in that sacred place. I was even more devastated to learn that the person arrested was a homeless man with mental illness. There are no easy solutions to these problems. When I went to UT, the homeless population was everywhere. I never would have thought to be afraid, but I never walked the campus at night because I lived off-campus. Every so often when parent's weekend came, the police would round up the homeless population and get them off the streets for a while, for show. But they never seemed to care about finding a solution that worked in a human, caring way.
For me, we can make big choices and try to change things on a larger scale, but it all starts small. With tiny choices. Tiny actions that reverberate. We are humans living in this place together. How we help each other can mean more sometimes than the stalled work of congress. I really believe that by helping one person you can make a big difference.
Anywho, I've gotten off topic, but I hope you read my story and enjoy it.
Save the date! I'm celebrating the launch of my book Glimmerglass Girl in Houston at Writespace on October 19! And, because I love this community of writers, it's also an open mic for other women who want to come read their work. I can't wait to hear all the amazing writers who I know will be in attendance. This is not an event you'll want to miss!
RSVP or Share on Facebook!
I've got a new post for subscribers up at Curious Fictions on how art can be an entry point for writing. Curious Fictions is a platform similar to Patreon where you can subscribe to receive updates from me including reprinted short stories and writing-related exclusive posts, previews of upcoming projects and early releases!
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Glimmerglass Girl was reviewed by Stefani Cox and here's what she had to say about it:
"There are meditations on heart and soul, with a tender probing of loneliness underneath. Many of the poems have a mirrored and echoing quality—they seem to come from the borderlands of the psyche, where who we know we are meets the subconscious and mysterious currents below."
Read the whole review . . .
Glimmerglass Girl was reviewed at The Coil Magazine. Here's what reviewer Laura McKenzie had to say about it:
"The notion of the “instapoet” is one that looms over the work of any contemporary female poet, and parodies of poems by writers such as Rupi Kaur often have a punchline that frames poetry as nonsense that teenaged girls scrawl in diaries. But Walrath’s collection suggests an intelligence that retaliates through showing the beauty, complexity, and tragedy of modern womanhood — a butterfly that can haul 40 times its own weight seems an apt metaphor for the unifying strength and delicacy of femininity we still struggle with. As visceral and violent as certain moments are, Walrath’s poetic voice is never dwindling. Glimmerglass Girl flitters seamlessly between the abstract and the digital age, undeniably placed in 2018 while feeling timeless. She gives into the “act of self-interrogation” not in her reflection but in her selfies, asking “is this what I look like to him.” Of course, anyone could tell you that no selfie is an accurate portrait, but then, does that stop any of us from trying?"
Read the full review here . . .
Today I am featured on the NetGalley Insights blog, where I was interviewed about #GlimmerglassGirl being a top-requested book in poetry. I love getting to share some behind the scenes info on how I market my book for new poets who might be looking for tips and tricks. And of course, I'm blown away by the response to my book and the kindness of reviewers on Goodreads and NetGalley!
Read the whole interview...
I was interviewed at South Florida Poetry Journal in their "Interview with a Poet" series about my favorite books on writing, what I'm reading right now, and whether poems have ever made me cry.
"One of my favorite books is Edward Hirsch’s How to Read a Poem. Hirsch says “These poems have come from a great distance to find you.” He talks about how poems are a message in a bottle. As a writer, I send out my work into the world because I want the one person who needs it to find it. The distance between the poet and the reader is a great gulf, crashing in the darkness, and I get to shine a light into the crevices and weird places of the world with my words. This is why my work is so often speculative in nature—because it’s the undiscovered country that excites me."
Read the full interview here...
I have two new poems up at Isacoustic - "When Darkness Leaves" (after Mark Strand) and "Diary Outside of April" (after Sylvia Plath). These are both poems which reference other poets and if you can pay attention closely you might be able to figure out where the inspiration comes from! They are what I call "mirror" poems where I replace each word from another poet's work with an opposite word, eventually compiling my own poem.
Read them here...
I was interviewed at Freethinking Ahead, a blog about science fiction, feminism, and free thought, as part of their Speculative Poets in Conversation series.
It was fun to get to talk about my new book, Glimmerglass Girl, in the context of feminism and resistance, as well as dip into my history as a Texas author and what that means for me as a woman.
Read the full interview here...
My chapbook of speculative feminist poems was reviewed by Christina Rosso over at Rag Queen Periodical:
"The language in Glimmerglass Girl is seductive, soft to the touch, yet stabbing. You feel like a knife is twisting in your gut as your read through each poem. Walrath uses the collection to explore her experience as a woman, shedding light on the insecurity, desire, and self-love she has faced. The collection looks at the business of disappearing, of splintering one’s female self, while also showing a woman’s desire to be noticed, to be seen as beautiful. In the poem “In Rejoice of Kindred Grief,” she writes, “for anyone to truly / see her drunken starlight as female beauty / for a body that’s not a four-letter word / for one true kiss.”
Read the full review...
I have three new poems up at Nice Cage journal, as part of their "Climate Change And/Or Die" issue: "Boll Heart," "And Farther Death Goes," and "A Deep Enough Abyss"
Read the poems here...
I have a review up today at Up the Staircase journal of Melissa Jenning's self-published book Dear Judas. It's a fantastic collection of poetry using the metaphor of the Judas story to detail a complicated and problematic relationship. I can't wait to see what else this author has in store for us.
Read the full review here...
Submitting your writing is hard and a little bit terrifying. But you don't need to go it alone! Over at Trish Hopkinson's blog, I wrote a guest post on the different resources you can use to submit your work, including submission trackers, query trackers, manuscript wish lists, submission stats, and places to find calls for submissions.
Read it here...
What what! I'm giving away 10 signed, limited edition copies of #GlimmerglassGirl on Goodreads!
While details are still being finalized, my publisher is planning on printing gorgeous hardcover versions of my chapbook, Glimmerglass Girl. If these are available in time, I'll be signing 10 copies for Goodreads readers!
Enter to win!
If you just can't wait, be sure to download a free ARC version from NetGalley.
I was interviewed by the kind editors over at Literary Orphans about my new book of speculative poems, Glimmerglass Girl, which is due out in August! Scott Waldyn has been nice enough to publish two of my pieces in the past, In the Dark World, a tiny microfiction about adolescence, and Peony Red, a poem which appears in my book and is about living a childfree existence as a woman.
Read the whole interview here...
I have a new poem up at Really System today called "Orbital Debris," about one of my favorite subjects - Space junk!
Read it here
I've started doing reviews of poetry books, mainly because I wanted to read more contemporary poetry and I, being a writer, need a deadline. Here's one I wrote for a fellow Finishing Line Press writer, Tyler Robert Sheldon, on his new chapbook Consolation Prize.
"Reading Consolation Prize by Tyler Sheldon was a bit like that, waking from a dream in an empty house and not being able to remember what happened exactly, but knowing that something terrible was there in your consciousness and that thing reached out and touched you."
Continue Reading at Entropy Magazine. . .
I was interviewed by Charles Christian, editor of Grievous Angels who has been kind enough to publish my work in the past, about Glimmerglass Girl, witches, ghosts, and other weird things! Weird Tales Radio Show is available on iTunes and other podcast apps and also streams as an internet radio webcast on the Paranormal UK Radio Network Thursdays fortnightly.
I'm delighted that this year I'll be paneling at Readercon in Boston July 12-15!
Here are the panels where you can come see me (Please say Hi if you do! I love meeting other writers and making new friends!):
Friday, July 13, 12:00pm - C
Holly Walrath will present an alternative worldbuilding method called worldconjuring. Drawing on inspiration from fairy tales and ancient myths, worldconjuring creates liminal space or gaps in the world that the reader may fill in with their own imagination. Participants will explore contemporary authors who are using this method in short fiction and novels to create immersive worlds without the use of complex worldbuilding such as language creation or magic mechanics, and will get started worldconjuring with some creative prompts.
In Memoriam: Ursula K. Le Guin
Friday, July 13, 1:00pm - 6
Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018) was a powerhouse in American literature for over 50 years. She won countless awards, including the SFWA Grand Master Award and World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her Hainish sequence, Earthsea novels, and Orsinia stories remain benchmarks of speculative fiction. Her feminist and utopian visions influenced generations, as did her essays, criticism, and educational writing. We were thrilled to make her a guest of honor at Readercon 7. Join us in celebrating her life and work.
Speculative Poetry Deathmatch!
Friday, July 13, 4:00pm - A
This entertaining and interactive panel on science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry will teach attendees a little about speculative poetry. Poets will read some of their works and then participate in a lyrical death match in which audience members decide which poet walks away with a tin foil crown and bragging rights.
Glimmerglass Girl was reviewed by Nancy Stohlman of Flash Fiction Retreats. I'll be a member of the flash fiction retreat in Breckenridge this August and I CANNOT wait to join the amazing writers who are in attendance!
"This dichotomy of delicate and strong, girl and woman, power and power distorted comes through beautifully in this debut chapbook of illustrated poems."
Thanks to Nancy Stohlman and Kathy Fish for their continued support of the writing community and for this lovely review.
Artist Lidia Tomashevskya approached me last month about doing another art collaboration and I could not resist her offer! So I've added a new story to my website for your reading and listening pleasure:
Confessions of a Tree Nymph
This story first appeared in 365 Tomorrows in June 2015. I hope you enjoy listening! Please let me know if you liked the audio version and remember that all my audio stories are available on Soundcloud, which has a lovely listening app for your car ride! I've been debating expanding to a podcast, but in the meantime it's fun making audio for you.
If you like what I'm doing and want to support more of my content, leave me a tip at Curious Fictions!
Glimmerglass Girl was featured on That Bookshelf Bitch, a blog by a lovely writer who is doing the hard work of supporting women writers through reviews! I am beyond honored to be listed among the names of Rupi Kaur and one of my favorite books of 2018, Women of Resistance.
I have an article up at Cotton Xenomorph today which lists the six elements of flash fiction for me.
Writing advice is tricky. I struggled approaching this article because some part of me was adverse to the idea of the word "Manifesto." It seems so apart from what I understand flash fiction to be. So let me just say that this is just how I read and write flash fiction and not some grand set of rigid rules.
We are all humans and we write in our own ways. I know this especially from working as a freelancer. I work with authors and I have to come into their space of writing gently because everyone is different. Some writers wake early in the morning to write before taking their three kids to school. Some stay up late chatting with friends online while revising. We fit writing into our lives, but we rarely sit down and think: What am I really doing here? How does this fulfill me and how can I nurture that feeling? For me, this list is how I nurture my writing of flash fiction and how I understand the genre. But it's just my own experience and understanding.
The most important rule on this list to me is #1: Empathy. I think this also applies to our own work. I see so many emerging writers, marginalized writers, women writers, who are afraid to put their work out into the world. I wish I could say to all of you, your voice matters. Because putting your own vulnerabilities on the page creates empathy. We are humans who need to live in a shared world of experience.
My poem "Sea Fog" appears in UNDEAD: A Poetry Anthology of Ghosts, Ghouls, and More from Apex Book Company! Don't miss this creepy little piece.
Pre-order your copy!
I have a little short story in this anthology from Flame Tree Publishing! My story "Stardust" is about a sexbot with a heart of fire who finds her way out of a complicated relationship with a cop . . . all set in the future and with a 20s nostalgia feel.
Pre-order your copy from Amazon or from Flame Tree! Books ship in September/November.
Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and author of poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath
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Holly Walrath's books on Goodreads
ratings: 19 (avg rating 4.21)
Our Space: Shorts & Poetry from the Houston Community
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)
In Medias Res: Stories from the In-Between
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.50)
The 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry Association
ratings: 16 (avg rating 4.31)
ratings: 9 (avg rating 4.67)