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. . .
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!
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.
So, lately I haven't been able to read as much because I've been so busy promoting my new chapbook, Glimmerglass Girl. But I was able to sneak in this little interview with local Houston author Patricia Flaherty Pagan on three books I love.
These are authors that I return to again and again because their work speaks to me. I highly suggest you start reading them if you like short fiction and experimental work!
Here's my schedule for Comicpalooza 2018!
The Uncanny Valley in Fiction: Writing the Nearly Human
Friday, May 25
3:30-4:30pm - 370D
Evoking the uncanny, as understood by Housman and Freud, is one of the most evocative ways to add a skin-crawling sense of horror to your fiction. This panel will focus on how the uncanny works, what its roots and motifs are, and how to use it. Examples will include works by Neil Gaiman, Salvador Dali, Susan Cooper and David Lynch.
Poetry of the Imagination: Offsite Reading
Friday, May 25
7:00-9:00pm - Kaboom Books
3116 Houston Avenue
Houston, TX 77009
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA). Join SFPA President Bryan Thao Worra, along with Houston residents Holly Walrath (author of Glimmerglass Girl), Saba Razvi (author of Of the Divining and the Dead), T. Haven Morse (Flooded By, Beam Me Up Yoda), Kate Pentecost (Elysium Girls), and Deborah L. Davitt (Ave, Caesarion), along with Dallas-area poets Michelle Muenzler (The Hills of Meat, the Forest of Bone) and Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Strange Monsters), and Iowa poet Karen Bovenmeyer (Swift for the Sun) for an evening of speculative poetry.
This event is FREE and open to the public!
Character Springboard Workshop
Saturday, May 26
1:30-3:00pm - 370E
Drawing from popular television, movies, and books, this workshop explores how to create in-depth characters in your novels and short fiction. Feel free to bring a piece you are working on, or start something new using exercises from the workshop.
Writing Violence in Speculative Fiction
Saturday, May 26
3:30-4:00pm - 370F
Good writing involves conflict, and conflict can involve violence. How do writers create violent scenes effectively without sacrificing world building and characterization? When is the hint of violence scarier, and more effective, than a fully realized attack or battle? Should violence be handled differently for different audiences (such as YA and senior citizens)? Does the current international political and military climate affect the way that writers shape violent scenes? Our panel will discuss these crucial questions for the genre writer.
Speculative Poetry Deathmatch!
Saturday, May 26
4:30-5:30pm - 370E
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.
Below is a list of events I'll be participating in this year! Hope to see you around. Please come say hi - I love meeting other writers.
Comicpalooza (Panelist and hosting the SFPA Poetry reading May 25th)
I'm the 2018 SFPA Contest chair. Submissions open June 1!
June 26, 6:30pm: Reading Fix Coffee Bar hosted by Mike Alexander
Flash Fiction Retreat Breckenridge
August 22nd-September 12: Writespace Writing Life 101 Workshop
August 25: Writespace Poetry of the Fantastic Workshop
September 29: Reading, Art & Words Show hosted by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
I just got back from the Texas Book Fest last weekend, where I was promoting Writefest, a new literary journal fair and writer’s workshop in Houston, Texas, hosted by Writespace, the local grassroots literary center I work with. I spent the weekend on a whirlwind meet and greet with a fellow writer friend, and I think we may never recover. We hung out with other writers, met remarkable authors, and got some serious Writefest inspiration.
Here’s a few highlights from the trip, as if you needed more proof that Austin is a city of magical unicorns.
1. We met Margaret Atwood. She was overwhelming, forcefully devoted to the craft, and it was like standing next to the literary equivalent of some kind of really sweet, tolerant norse god. Or something.
2. We met a slew of other new writers I hadn’t heard of but now am obsessed with, including Amelia Gray and Edward Carey, who both write wonderfully weird things that I now must go read. (And Edward Carey doodled in his signature. Who doesn’t love that?) By the way, Carey is reading at Brazos Bookstore Nov. 16th, so make sure you check him out.
3. We met Kelly Link, and took an uber with her, and saved her wallet. How does this even happen? Oh yeah, and her panel with Edward Carey was delightful.
5. We met Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, and told him we skipped a second beer at the bar (Did I mention Shiner Cheer is back out again? It’s enchanted, and I think it may have contributed to the magic of the weekend) just to come to his panel, which I think he was slightly bemused by, however, he is hilarious.
6. We met several people interested in Writefest, and got to share the good word about our mission to embolden new writers to submit submit submit! Austin – you are one rad city and I miss you always.
Now my TBR pile is a massive highland crag and I have to go read for a while to assure my husband I am not a crazy book hoarder. Oh let’s admit it, I am a crazy book hoarder.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (Austin, Texas) I was a secret poet. As an undergrad, I wrote piles of poems, most of which never got finished. Then I went out into the real world and had to survive, so I worked shitty jobs. I put my husband through grad school with those shitty jobs, so I can’t harp on them too much. But in the last few years, I finally got to dedicate myself to writing.
Now, I’m writing more and more short fiction. I started with flash, which seemed like an easy jump from poetry. My goal is to get published, to be able to make it with my writing. For now, editing pays the bills (and don’t get me wrong, I love it), but being a full-time writer is the end-game.
The first advice anyone offers a new writer on getting published is to read more. I’ve been following that advice, focusing on finding new journals and new (to me) authors. Here's my current TBR pile.
Comics & Arts:
Tales of Honor by Matt Hawkins: I picked this up at last year's Comicpalooza and have just now gotten a chance to check it out. I also got Wildfire, which is a very well thought-out sci-fi premise about plants taking over the world and made me wish I was a comic book writer! (Its pretty awesome that I got both signed too. Nice perk of attending cons.)
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan: I'm not sure where I picked this up, but the first few pages are a rough ride (The character is in the middle of giving birth in the first page)! Talk about starting in medias res. The artwork is pretty rad, too.
SubTerrain: I've got a new penchant for Canadian lit mags, which seem to have it all figured out. This one is beautiful, the inside pages read like a watercolor painting. I'd love to have my work in a journal like this.
I've been trying to read more lit journals with major circulation. I prefer small press and small lit mags, but you have to read what's popular, right? Or rather, what puts the quo in status quo. These are a good selection of different lit fiction/poetry journals - Ploughshares, Southern Poetry Review, Fields, New England Review, and Zoetrope. Fields is a new one - they are based out of my home town, Austin, and I picked it up over at Brazos. I like the design of the mag, but I wanted a bit more meat out of the creative writing. I give them props for including such distinctive local arts coverage.
Asimov's Science Fiction: Asimov's is a standard in the sci fi world. I was surprised by how accessible the work in this volume was. I also like the pocket-sized feel of it. It's a bit nostalgic.
Interzone: A UK-based mag with beautiful layout and visuals. I particularly enjoyed Chris Butler's "The Deep of Winter," (Gripping tale of an underground city changed forever by a time traveling researcher) and Catherine Tobler's "Silencer - Head Like a Hole Remix" (A unique take on school shootings that utilizes voice and POV in ways that make me wish I were a better writer.)
Fantasy & Science Fiction: Another standard. Can you believe I found all of these at my local Barnes & Noble? I was surprised to see that they had such a great literary journal selection.
This is only a selection of the poetry books I've been reading lately. I was always a poetry writer, but I found it hard to find poets I liked. I've found I prefer those that are most accessible. I enjoy playing with structure, and appreciate artists who can make it work, but I find it's often not done well.
Phyla of Joy by Karen An-Hwei Lee: Karen was my workshop leader at this year's Glen West Workshop. She's a delightful leader and lovely person, and her poetry reflects that. My favorites have to be poems about bees, which made me want to write my own bee poems.
Application for Release From the Dream by Tony Hoagland: If you like funny, irreverent poems, Tony's your man. A local Houston poet with an accessible voice.
Gulf Music by Robert Pinsky: If you're a poet, you should probably read the works by former Poet Laureates, right? Pinksy was in town recently but I missed the chance to see him read.
I'm off to the Texas Book Festival this weekend, so I'll bring back more to share! What literary journals have you added to your TBR pile lately?
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)