A year and a few months ago, my father died. Today, I signed a contract for a small poetry book on grief and dealing with my father’s death that is going to be translated into Italian and published in Italy. The world spins in weird ways, I guess.
Before my father died, I always looked on books about the death of a loved one in, I’ll admit, a pretty messed up and slightly dismissive way. I hated cancer memoirs, books that dived headfirst into the nitty-gritty details of death: bodies and hospitals and medicine and the grotesque humanity of grief. Also, there was a connotation with these books. When they were written by women about caring for loved ones, they often got lumped into women’s fiction, whereas a man writing about grief was somehow reinventing the wheel.
Read the full article on Medium . . .
Confessions of a Supermassive Black Hole
You can’t escape my body.
I deform spacetime, invisible.
I collapse, even as everything surrounds me.
I am the center of you, of your galaxy.
I sieve particles, radiation, light,
searching for the ghost of my former self.
My gravity is also my weakness.
New post for Curious Fiction Subscribers: Handmade Rebellion: Dispatches from Zine Fest Houston and Women’s Radicalism
I have a new early reveal post for subscribers at Curious Fictions. Last month I participated in Zinefest Houston — one of my favorite local events. In this event, local paper artists create zines to sell — small, hand-made, individual books, pamphlets, and other paper ephemera. I’ve participated twice and I always enjoy this well-crafted event (ba-dum cha). What I like about Zinefest is the audience. It’s mostly young people who are interested in meeting other writers and artists. It’s also one of the most diverse and well-attended events I go to every year. I always end up meeting some lovely folks!
Read the entire post here . . .
This month I have a guest post up at the Horror Writer's Association on the theme of dark poetry called "Darkness and Light." if you're a HWA member, be sure to check it out! If you're not a member, you can read it on Curious Fictions for $1 or by subscribing to my feed.
I'm stoked to once again be paneling at Readercon in Boston July 11-14! Here is a list of the panels I'll be on and where you can find me. Oh, and this year, I managed to convince my spousal unit to come along. If you see us around at the con, please come say Hi! I love meeting new writer friends.
Writing Craft and Mentoring Programs
Friday, 12pm - Salon 4
Panelists: Jack Dann, Theodora Goss (mod), Kate Maruyama, Kenneth Schneyer, Holly Walrath
Those who want to learn the craft of writing popular genre fiction have more options then ever. MFA programs and workshops of excellent repute are popping up all over the U.S., from Stonecoast in Maine to Clarion in California, as well as in other parts of the world. With so many options, how does one choose? Panelists who have participated in these programs as mentors or mentees will discuss their experiences.
Amazon, Goodreads, NetGalley, and Edelweiss, Oh My!
Friday, 7pm - Salon B
There are a variety of valuable resources for independent authors out there, but how does one choose among them, and how can an indie book stand out among the crowd? Holly Lyn Walrath will explain how to navigate the available options for self-publishing and explore how books can reach more readers via the growing field of reviewer markets.
Rainbow Open Mic
Saturday, 6pm - Sylvanus Thayer Room
Celebrate the voices of LGBTQIA2P writers! Read your work out loud among a group of welcoming peers. Hear new work by established authors and meet new writers! If your identity is anywhere on or under the rainbow, you're welcome to read your work; allies are invited to attend and listen. Sign up at the information desk.
Hybrid poetry forms can be a powerful form of resistance. From Jerrod Schwarz’s erasure of Trump’s inaugural speech to Niina Pollari’s black outs of the N-400 citizenship form, contemporary poets are engaging with the world through text, creating new and challenging works of art. Heralded by the rise of the “Instapoet,” visual works are a way to take poetry one step further by crafting new forms and structures that often transcend the page.
In July, I'll be teaching a 4-week course online at the Poetry Barn on this very topic! We’ll study the forms of poetry that draw from outside sources and texts, learning how artists are reshaping the narrative of resistance and how to draw from news, media, canonical works, and other found texts to create our own work in conversation with the current world.
Click here to sign up for online workshop . . .
I have a new post today at Medium on Switching Genres: How to move from writing “realism” to “speculative” genres. I love this topic because I love fighting back against the idea that a genre has to be one thing or the other. I hope these tips are helpful to writers who are looking to break out of a writing rut and try something new!
Read the full article at Medium . . .
I'm stoked to once again be a panelist at Comicpalooza this year in Houston, Texas. Comicpalooza has grown to be a massive comic con with cosplay, celebrities, and of course literature panels! This year we host the mother of dragons, Emilia Clarke, and I for one will be waiting in line for her panel.
If you see me around at the con, come say Hi!
Panels for Comicpalooza 2019:
Art & Writing Crossovers, from Comics to Artist Collaborations
Friday May 10, 2019 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Art and literature have always inspired each other. How do visual art and writing inspire and reveal a creative process? What can emerge when one form is refracted through another? Has there been a different emergence of the combination in a reality that seems more visualized and surreal? Join us for a lively discussion of the mediums' crossover and influences.
Speculative Poetry Deathmatch!
Saturday May 11, 2019 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Join us for an entertaining and interactive panel on science fiction, fantasy and horror poetry. Learn a little about speculative poetry, hear poets read some of their works, and then participate in a lyrical death-match in which you, the audience, decide which poet walks away with a tinfoil crown and bragging rights.
No Right Way to Write: Techniques for New Writers
Sunday May 12, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm
There is no one correct way to write. One of the challenges of new writers is to find the way that works best for them. Some people require strict outlines. Others require just bullet points. And still others require nothing more than an idea and a few notes on a napkin. This panel is on writing techniques, from outline usage to writing organically, allowing your information to come out in a smooth fashion. Learn the way to write that is right for you!
Beyond Earthsea: Ursula K. Le Guin's Writing Legacy
Sunday May 12, 2019 3:00pm - 4:00pm
As one of the greatest science fiction writers, Ursula K. Le Guin explored politics, the environment, myth, gender, and their intersection with our reality. She was an advocate for social justice and women writers. Join us for a discussion celebrating and paying tribute to Le Guin's work and influence.
I am on the radio today reading poetry! If you're in Houston you can catch my segment in the 2019 edition of Voices and Verses on Houston Public Media. Click above to listen!
In this sound portrait, Walrath describes how she fell in love with poetry in high school, her love of the weird and her inspirations. She reads her poem, “Blue Cadillac.”
Oh, the way you sat in
the drive, taking it all up.
I climbed into your cool interior, sliding
across the widest, darkest navy seats
spread beyond me, beyond my vision.
They seemed to expand and dissolve
into a bright light on the driver’s side.
We drove, through endless lanes
of white picket fences, long green,
green lawns, the Texas sun staccato
in the trees, and it may be that I wore
an Easter Sunday dress, all laced in white,
and bows on my tights, or white slumping socks
above black buckle shoes shining with polish.
And in the heat of a Texas summer,
how you could swallow me up
in your blue dusty smell, that
sweet sweet tobacco tucked
into the glove compartment
beside a lady’s silver lighter.
For the sun merely seemed
to enclose you, a line of gold
light above the leather dash.
But the very roundness of you, round seats
and silver knobs and panels like porthole
windows into another time, but mostly
the round, stitched-leather steering wheel
which was surely made for white driving gloves.
And somehow in this memory of you,
your massive lines like some primordial
behemoth long since dead and buried in
ice, the very blueness of you, I may have
remembered myself, another classic beauty.
This poem was published in my chapbook, Glimmerglass Girl.
I have a new poem up today at Mirror Dance called Farewell Dead Men. I also talk about why fantasy is a genre I love:
While science fiction is based in science, mystery is based in the pursuit of a question, and horror is based in evoking an emotion of fear, I believe that fantasy is the only genre which is purely pulled from the author’s deepest dreams and imaginings. The ability to dream up fantastical beasts and worlds seems to me to be a peculiarity of the human condition—one that even the most mundane of minds can learn to cultivate. Where did the idea for a dragon first come from or the hero myth? They are deeply ingrained paths that we continue to walk, following our ancestors through the mists of imagination.
Read my poem "Farewell Dead Men" here . . .
I have a reprint up at Flash Fiction Online this month of my little boney, witchy story "knick knack, knick knack." This little story has seen a lot of love since it first appeared in Fireside last February 2018! It also appeared as part of a local art exhibit, Color:Story. The above artwork is the piece that Houston artist Marlo Saucedo made after reading this story.
What I love about this story is that so many people have different interpretations of it. I first wrote it inspired by the kodama in Japanese film Princess Mononoke, and also the idea of wanting to tell a mother/daughter story about aging. Marlo interpreted the story as following the tradition of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. The idea of skull spirits is not central to one culture, but many. We put a lot of weight in the dead as humans, and I've always been fascinated by the different myths we create about the spirits who guide us. So I'm grateful that people continue to enjoy this little flash story.
Read the story at Flash Fiction Online . . .
I posted a reprint essay over at Curious Fictions for my subscribers -- "Defining Art."
I wrote this essay several years back when I first started writing. It's about what Art is and how we make our legacies as creative people. As a writer, I often wonder what lasting effect my work will have when I am no longer here. I'm fascinated by artists who only became popular after their deaths.
If you want to read more essays and stories by me, you can subscribe over at Curious Fictions to receive exclusive content! Curious Fictions is a website similar to Patreon but with a science fiction/fantasy focus. Discover cool stories from new writers and help support my writing by joining!
I have a new poem up today at Kaleidotrope - "All the Glory of Her Earthly Shell." Big thanks to Fred for publishing this one. It's very personal to me, so I'm glad it found a home at Kaleidotrope.
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)