Four old women crane their necks
staring at the moon
rising blood-red from the sea
into the setting sun.
This is what it does
every fifty years or so
at summer solstice.
Last time they were young.

Sue Bard

Reasons to love poetry

March 5, 2020

One of the reasons people love poetry is that they find in a poem something which resonates with their own experience, whether that is in Ferlenghetti writing in the 1980s about the erosion of freedom or Alan Spence, who can pinpoint in the few haiku syllables a moment which is both unique and entirely recognisable.

Susan Mansfield
Poetry review StAnza 2019

My whole life has been spent trying to bring together ‘real life’ and the world of fantasy, in particular by finding new and interesting ways of expressing a sense of the magical in my writing. Ever since I was five years old, hunting down fairies in the back alley behind my parents’ house, a sense of more to life than meets the eye has been part of who I am. When I was a child, life was one big fairy tale. That was how I felt. But how to get into that fairy tale? How to make that fairy tale my life, and make it real and be a part of it?

It was through stories that I found the way. I couldn’t write when I was five years old, but I could make up stories and that was what I did, standing at the garden fence, telling them out loud to the big children in the house next door, lined up on their side of the fence asking, ‘What happened next?’ But those stories, made up off the top of my head, were ephemeral. They were fly-by-nights, whereas words on paper had a strange new durability which I discovered when I learnt to write. Describing Winnie the Pooh hunting honey made me part of the story. Adventuring with the Famous Five turned them into a Famous Six. I made those things my own, and I made them real – and simply by writing about them.

Pauline Fisk
Wild Edric (and me)

A hand on my thigh. That is what I’m thinking about, most of the time. A hand slipping under my dress, the other holding the steering wheel, and me, upright in the passenger’s seat. Fearless. Always fearless in love, like I’ve had practice. Look, I know you’re sick of hearing about the skin of it all, but I’m not done being shameless with where I want to be touched. A hand pressed lightly against my neck. Lips grazing the apple of my bottom lip. Your name like a tongue over the ridges of my teeth. Your body like a downpour with me dancing underneath it.

Caitlyn Siehl
Most of the Time

When asked to “define the difference between fantasy and science fiction,” I mouth and mumble and always end up talking about the spectrum, that very useful spectrum, along which one thing shades into another. Definitions are for grammar, not literature, I say, and boxes are for bones. But of course fantasy and science fiction are different, just as red and blue are different; they have different frequencies; if you mix them (on paper — I work on paper) you get purple, something else again.

Ursula K. Le Guin
The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction

man’s evil prying

March 5, 2020

There are horrors beyond life’s edge that we do not suspect, and once in a while man’s evil prying calls them just within our range.

H.P. Lovecraft
The Thing on the Doorstep