June 22nd, 2008

ozarque figure

BookNote; The 2008 Rhysling Anthology...

Yesterday, my snailmail included a copy of The 2008 Rhysling Anthology: The Best SF, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2007, edited by Drew Morse and published by the Science Fiction Poetry Association in cooperation with Prime Books; ISBN 978-0-8095-7349-3. [A photograph of the cover, a link to the Table of Contents, and a link for ordering copies are at http://www.sfpoetry.com/rhysling.html .]

I remember when the Rhysling Anthology was an 8 1/2 x 11 Xerox thing stapled in the upper lefthand corner, "produced" by me. Things have changed, and the annual anthologies are now beautifully-produced handsome trade paperbacks. They still serve the same useful purpose, however; they let the entire membership of the SFPA read every one of the poems nominated for the year before they cast their votes for the Rhysling Awards. You can't get any more peer-reviewed than that.

This year's poems are an impressive collection, and I was pleased to find quite a few that focus on language, linguistics, or both.

There's Mikal Trimm's breathtaking "The Envoy," on pp. 58-60, which includes this stanza:

"when lights shine
how to make you hatenot fearnot fightnot
is hardly so hardly
to goodspeak
my sorry my sorry
is all so much from my sorry"

There's Alice Oswald's spectacular "Dunt: a poem for a nearly dried up river," on pp. 129-131, about a Roman Waternymph who is the last known speaker of her native language and is trying "to summon a river out of limestone." Like this...

"Little distant sound of dry grass. Try again."

And like this...

"Little whispering fidgeting of a shutaway congregation
wondering who to pray to.
Little patter of eyes closing. Try again."

There are poems by Deborah P. Kolodji and Sonya Taafe and Leah Bobet and Theodora Goss and JoSelle Vanderhooft and Bruce Boston ... and many more. [Including, to my surprise, Margaret Atwood.]

Recommended. For sure.