I get a blog vacation today thank to Marge Simon, my friend and guest poster today. I never knew this but she was the first president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. I’m also a recent member. If you are passionate about speculative poetry as a reader, writer or both, this is a good organization to be involved with.
She is an American artist and fellow writer of speculative poetry and fiction. Her poems, short fiction, and illustrations have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Amazing Stories, Nebula Awards 32, Strange Horizons, The Pedestal Magazine, Chizine, Niteblade, Vestal Review, and Daily Science Fiction.
I’d like to pretend I’m off somewhere exotic on my vacation, but I’m still in my closet, just off somewhere in Space and Time. Thank you Marge for the great post!
My Time with Star*Line by Marge Simon
We’re talking about the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. The SFPA’s founder was Suzette Hayden Elgin, a writer, poet and successful novelist and was considered an important figure in the field of science fiction constructed languages.
Thus, the Science Fiction Poetry Association began in 1978 to bring together poets and readers interested in speculative poetry. Members voted to rename the organization in 2017.
What is sf/f poetry? Everybody has a unique definition. To be sure, it is poetry (we’ll leave that definition to you), but it’s poetry with some element of speculation—usually science fiction, fantasy, or horror, though some include surrealism and some straight science.
I retired from editing Star*Line, the newsletter of the SF and Fantasy Poetry
Association in 2008. Why did I volunteer in the first place? Because I didn’t want to see
Star*Line and the SFPA fail.
Lord knows, we’ve had some narrow escapes — years when only two issues were published. Years when the editor or publisher fell behind, had other priorities, and/or couldn’t continue. Early in the ‘90’s, I stepped down from my role as president of the Small Press Writers/Artists Organization.
Summary of my history following: I took a year off, and felt I might be able to handle Star*Line, if needed. Too late, I realized that the then long time editor, Bob Frazier, had handed Star*Line over to a volunteer. Two issues came out and then nothing. So eventually I took it on myself. As one thing can lead to another, I was approved by our Founder, Suzette, to be the first official President of the SFPA.
We established and ratified a Constitution, and set things in place to maintain the SFPA with a democratic voting system. A few years later, I enlisted David C. Kopaska-Merkel,
editor of Dreams & Nightmares to edit and publish Star*Line, and he did a fine job for a
number of years.
Things have changed a lot with the advent of e-mail and the Internet. It makes it easier to review submissions and accept or reject them. Work that used to take weeks could be done in a day or even a few minutes.
Since its inception, Star*Line was the life-line of the SFPA– the umbilical cord that
provided news, articles and of course, hopefully the best sf/speculative poetry of the
times to its members. Today, it still does these things, but the sfpanet Yahoo group has
become the primary sounding board for member concerns. Someday, I hope that every
member can avail themselves of this discussion group. We still have a few who don’t
have internet access.
After I retired, Jeannie (F.J.) Bergmann took the helm for several years. Editorship then passed to Vince Gotera. Bergmann is now serving as Vice President. We are fortunate that such talented poets stepped forward to help keep our connections with members flourishing!
If you are interested in joining us –whether you are new to writing genre poetry or accomplished, please stop by our website: sfpoetry.com. There you’ll find a lot of interesting stuff –plus our free on line issue of ETTT (Eye Through the Telescope) which periodically changes themes thanks to members who volunteer to edit an issue.
Note: Star*Line newsletter is a paying print/PDF digest; ETTT is also a
paying market. You do not have to be a member to submit to either one. Oh, and I should
add — a list of markets for genre poetry is provided at our site: sfpoetry.com.
It’s all there, and more. Check us out!