On the Amazing Stories Blog, Paul Cook’s posted an entry titled Why Science Fiction Poetry is Embarrassingly Bad, which (predictably, given the title) fairly critical of Science Fiction poetry as a genre. There’s lot to be critical about much SF poetry*, certs, but what’s problematic about his essay is that, as he says, he’s looking at SF poetry in “the three main short fiction journals in the field: Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Analog.” He does go on to dissect one poem from Tor.com. SF Poetry, he says “is literal, realistic, and usually–unless it’s rhymed and metered–lacks any lyrical cadence within its delivery.”

The problem with his thesis, of course, is that the scope of the poetry he examines is vanishingly small. The three magazines he cites by no means comprise the face of SF poetry, and it’s a bit odd that anyone claiming knowledge of the field would think so.

I suspect from his response to some of the comments that Mr. Cook is not interested in having a conversation with anyone but the imaginary angry and defensive SF poets who “take themselves very seriously and would quail at the remarks I’ve just made” that live in his head.** I’m not pointing at the post to boost the kerfluffle-factor, but to mention that in the comments that people have offered a lot of links to and examples of SF poetry venues, as well as discussion of the nature of SF poetry (Mike Allen, Mari Ness, and Marie Brennan*** are especially smart here) that might be of interest to people curious about the field who do not think that reading three non-poetry journals makes them an expert.


*Many are bad! Some are mine!

**I may be wrong! I hope so!

***Not an SF poet ™