While I have been busy in other realms in cyberspace (we are behind the scenes building two websites plus) I just found out that Altars and Oubliettes was named a Best Poetry Collection of 2020 by Tor’s Nightfire. Did I expect this? Not at all. I have barely even mentioned the book since I released it last October. Am I in shock? Why yes, yes I am.

Altars and Oubliettes was the poetry collection that I started two years ago and then trashed when I realized I didn’t like much of it. Marge Simon was my mentor during that time. I knew I didn’t like it but I couldn’t tell if I was being overly critical or if it was mostly crap.

I asked Marge her thoughts. She kindly critiqued it for me and super nicely confirmed my worst fears: it was mostly crap. Consequently, she became one of my very good friends that I turn to often for input. I’m honored she has given me a foreword for Altars. If you have a professional friend that will be honest with you about your work, you have found gold. Marge Simon is gold.

Which is why I’m so excited to see Mary Turzillo and Marge Simon’s collection also on that list! I’ve read Satan’s Sweethearts and I loved it. The voices of female serial killers slide off the page to lodge in your mind. You won’t soon shake off their delicate and deadly influence. One of my pet peeves is that no one much mentions the female serial killers. I suspect there aren’t as many reported because women don’t tend to get caught. Perhaps it’s poets rather than police that should be after them. Marge and Mary did an excellent job of capturing these killers.

There are other names on the list I’m familiar with and consider friends. Ashley Dioses, K. A. Opperman, Michael Bailey and Christina Sng are all poets whose work I’ve read and recommend. I’m ordering many of these books off Tor’s list after I recover from the shock of being included.

On a side note… in the first paragraph I mention that we are working on two websites. Very soon we will be showing off a new Space and Time website that has some crazy amazing new opportunities. We’ve been working hard back here (by we I mean Kyra Starr, web genius). The other website will remain a mystery for a little longer.

And speaking of Kyra Starr, we will be releasing a poetry book together this April to celebrate National Poetry Month. Called Kraken Fever, here’s the blurb:

Two poets, trapped in the suffocating depths of 2020. From them came poetry, bubbling to the surface, seeking the light. Two drowning voices, an ocean between them, buried their fears in the monsters they created together. Kraken Fever is the golem they built from ink, paper and a sea of tears. But more on that later as well.

For now, here’s the write up Aigner Loren Wilson did for her “Best of” list. The complete list is definitely worth checking out here. All I can say to conclude is wow… thank you Aigner Loren Wilson for noticing my little collection. And speaking of poetry… there’s one more day left to get a line in this month’s Exquisite Corpse over at (the old) SpaceandTime.net.

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Shimanchu-American and award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years of experience as a professional writer in nonfiction. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), producer of the Exercise Your Writes YouTube podcast, two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020, find her at angelaysmith.com.

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