Speculative poetry is a micro sensory experience. Poetry is about profound themes, carefully crafted lines, and beautiful words that enrich the reader. Most speculative poems have a small story element attached to their stanzas. Like speculative stories, the fantasy elements are more literal, but they still maintain the haze of literary convention. You could find speculative poetry in any genre, in any literary magazine, because it fits all categories.
Speculative poetry is something that our editor’s were relatively unfamiliar with until last year. Before, poems were the tasty dessert in a literary magazine’s buffet. Usually we were so stuffed on entrees that we forgot to savour the last part of the meal. We made a cognitive shift to take poetry more seriously, with Editor Amy guiding us. Below are some of our favorite poems from late 2017 to present.
I’m particularly fond of Found Discarded: A Love Poem, Questionably Addressed by Cassandra Khaw (Uncanny Issue Twenty-One, March/April 2018). Khaw’s precise language flows exceptionally well and packs a punch at exactly the right moments. “A heart is gorgeously unpredictable,/precariously and phenomenally unstoppable.” Read it!
The main reason I love well written poetry is the concisity of language. This poem Enthusiasts of Ruin by Margaret Wack (Liminality Poetry, Winter 2017/2018) is a prime example of a fully fleshed out character and story painted on just one page of well-chosen words. I am right there, in this world she’s created. It’s terrifyingly well done.
I loved Dead Names by Evelyn Deshane (Strange Horizons, January 29, 2018). The language is beautiful and takes a literal interpretation of the term ‘dead names’. Every time I read “I say, your transgender/child self isn’t a ghost, but you insist.” I get the chills.
Rootwork by Constance Collier-Mercado appeared in FIYAH: A Magazine of Speculative Black Fiction in late 2017. Collier-Mercado’s writing is sensory and powerful, and her poem was my favorite piece in Issue #4. And if you haven’t checked out FIYAH yet, do it now!
Featured image by Thought Catalog.