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 . . .
The hardest part about submitting your writing is battling imposter syndrome and self-rejection. It doesn’t matter how you track your submissions or how many submissions you make in a year. Every writer has a different process that works for them. But it does matter if you never try — and these two things can make you freeze up when it comes time to hit send on a submission. That's why I posted a new article over at Medium today on this very topic.
Read the whole post here . . .
I am beyond honored that my poem "Dead-Eye Girl" is nominated for the 2019 Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association Rhysling Award for best speculative poem of the previous year. This little poem first appeared in Liminality Magazine in 2018. Print copies are now available of the anthology on Amazon! Members of the SFPA can vote on which poem they want to win.
Buy a copy of the anthology here . . .
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 . . .
Today at Medium, I write about crafting a "mission statement" for your writing career and how it can help you meet your goals. Thinking about your writing as a brand helps to combat self-rejection and imposter syndrome. It puts a bit of distance between you and your work — and that can be a lifesaver in the future when you’re looking at hard decisions about where to publish and why.
Read the whole post here . . .
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 new post up at Medium that's a comprehensive guide to submitting literary short stories! Find out how to tier your submissions, keep track of them, what multiple and simultaneous submissions are, and more!
Read the full post 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 have a new article up on Medium today for writers of short fiction who want to submit their work to Science Fiction, Fantasy, and other Genre publications! This is meant to be an exhaustive, detailed, step-by-step guide for new writers.
By the way, I've published this for members on Medium, but if you're not a member and you'd like a copy, please let me know and I'll send you one. I'm also teaching an online workshop in May with Writespace about this very topic! Registration is open now at $190 until April 27.
Read the article here . . .
In February, I'm doing a poetry challenge where I write one tiny poem a day. Thank goodness for tiny post-its! I got this idea randomly and decided to roll with it over on my Instagram page.
But you can also follow along here if you don't have Instagram.
It's funny because you'd think that compressing a big concept into a tiny space would be really hard, but I've actually found it to be quite compelling. There's a reason haiku are so popular!
I'm starting a new series on Medium for new writers. My first article is on finding a critique group. It can be frustrating to find a critique group if you’re a new writer. Groups often don’t take new members or don’t advertise when they do. That’s why it’s usually easier to just start your own group. I recommend getting out in the community and meeting other writers, then finding those that truly get your voice and what you’re doing with your writing.
Read the full article here . . .
I have an essay up at Medium today, on the anniversary of Ursula K. Le Guin's death, about her famous short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." If you haven't read this powerful story, I suggest you get thee to a bookstore and pick up her short story collection, The Unreal and the Real. It will make you rethink your worldview.
Read the essay here...
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've got a new article over at Medium.com on working with a freelance editor. Over my four years of editing, I've come to learn that many writers don't understand what it means to work with a freelance editor. Working with an editor can be a big boost to your writing career, especially if you want to publish your work. I'm glad to share my experience, and if you have questions, please feel free to email me or leave them in the comments!
Over at Medium, I'm sharing five writing tips that I'm carrying into 2019. It's a bit of a "Here's what I learned" mixed with "Here's what I still need."
Y'all, writing is hard. It's constant work. It's a balancing act. You're never really done. I wanted to recap some things that I'm keeping with me for 2019, but I know I'm still learning.
What did you learn about your writing last year?
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.
I was delighted to get to do a fun and quirky interview over at Riddled with Arrows literary journal. Riddled with Arrows publishes metafiction/ars poetica, one of my favorite genres of writing.
When did you first meet poetry?
HLW: I was maybe fourteen, sitting outside the crappy pizza joint across from my high school, where I often went to wait for my mom to pick me up after school. I think I was scribbling in my journal, you know, the kind of dreams and chapstick-scented hopes at that age. Maybe I was in love, or maybe just as lonely as only a teenager can be, when poetry came up to me. She had this lopsided grin on her face and she was wearing a cloak made of stars. Her face was cracked and two-toned like a faded map you might find rolled up in a scroll, hidden under the porch stairs in a dusty box buried in the dirt . . .
Read the full interview here . . .
Greg Bem over at Yellow Rabbits has posted a review of Glimmerglass Girl. Thanks Greg for reading my work with such care!
"The chapbook Glimmerglass Girl, while a whorl of selected moments, contains a collective and collective energy that has the potential to awe and influence. It is a feminist work as much as it is a work of an independent, confident poet. There is a general outburst of energy here, one that indicates journey and trial and achievement. It is a landscape of learning and knowledge, wisdom even, attained through the process of living out womanhood. These are poems that, as a collection, field experiential memory and meditative spaces of raw emotion. The book, both narrative and lyrical, lends itself to a harmony of reflection and gracious internalization. The poems are short and brief, and ultimately find their strongest qualities through Holly Lyn Walrath’s overarching voice when the book has been read and the covers finally closed. . . "
Read the full review here . . .
Feature in the Houston Chronicle: Looking through Houston poet Holly Lyn Walrath’s ‘Glimmerglass Girl’
Sometimes being a writer can be a little surreal. Yesterday, I went out to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to take pictures with the butterflies, today I get to share with you this Houston Chronicle feature about my writing.
Poems have always been there for me. I've had a whirlwind of personal life stuff lately. Putting out a new chapbook. Moving to a new house. A death in the family. But I can always come back to poems.
Thanks to everyone who has come with me on this journey and to those who've always supported my writing. It's lovely to know all of you. I'm grateful to get to share my words with the world.
"Walrath’s “Glimmerglass Girl” is an intense collection of poetry that speaks out from the first page. Not for the faint of heart, it’s open, but sharp as Walrath doesn’t shy away from letting her readers see the blood, even if she lets it drip across flowers and suburban kitchen countertops.
The female experience is a large part of Walrath’s poetry. Much of the work does match her interest in the speculative. The spirits of nature and the wonder of fairytales are common themes across her verses. However, like fairytales there is something dark and primal underneath the resemblance to children’s literature."
Read more at the Houston Chronicle . . .
Fellow poet and SFPA member Matt Betts asked me to do a "poetry post-mortem" for his blog! This is basically a behind-the-scenes of one of my poems, how it came to me, what inspired it, and why I wrote it. I chose "Two Hundred Fifty-Seven," a poem from my new chapbook Glimmerglass Girl.
Read the poem and its post-mortem here . . .
I have a new prose poem up today at Terse Journal: What it Feels Like to Play Video Games as a Woman.
Read the full poem here . . .
My tarot-inspired story "Tarot of the Animal Lords" is now available on Amazon in the Shards Noblebright anthology by Spring Song Press. This story is about a woman trying to find her way out of a dystopian future where a mysterious illness has devastated the countryside. Along the way, she reconnects with her wild roots and the boyfriend she left behind.
Get your copy today:
I have a new poem, "Erasure" (after Ralph Waldo Emerson) - in ARTHouston Magazine Issue#7 (September 2018)
those souls / in the pictures /
breathe / memory /
in danger of forgetting /
that they had their origin /
in wax / and / paint / in the narrow lodging /
of a thought which pours itself /
color and form / barbaric pearl and gold /
I was to see / with eyes / pierced
/ with / salt water, to find that which was perfect /
in the chambers of / the earth
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)