Cover reveal and ToC for Climbing Lightly Through Forests

Lisa M. Bradley and I are happy to announce the lineup and cover of Climbing Lightly Through Forests, a poetry anthology honoring Ursula K. Le Guin. Forests includes our introduction, work by many wonderful poets, and a retrospective of Le Guin’s poetry. The anthology is forthcoming from Aqueduct Press in January 2021. It was an absolute honor to work on this project. Congratulations to all the poets! This is going to be beautiful.

Table of Contents

NOT AN INTRODUCTION, by Lisa M. Bradley and R.B. Lemberg

POETRY

1. Wind and Water
“Dear Ursula” by Edmond Y. Chang
“Where Are You?” by Jo Walton
“Wind Writes the Water” by Roger Dutcher
“Distance, Interval” by MJ Cunniff
“In Latin, foris” by Christopher Phelps
“The Forester’s Stratagem” by Neile Graham
“Redwood Houses” by Amelia Gorman
“Galloping Hooves” by Tricia Knoll
“Kudzu” by Stephanie Burt
“Pacifica/evergreen” by Hal Y. Zhang
“The Other Lives” by Sonya Taaffe
“Of Winter and Other Seasons” by Kiya Nicoll
“Might as well say I’m the words she read” by Betsy Aoki
Poet Stumbles upon the Ten Thousand Things” by Brandon O’Brien

2. Rebellions
“Speculative Fiction” by Linden McMahon
“Sound Science” by Hal Y. Zhang
“Upwards Toward the Light (a found poem)” by Rachel Swirsky
“Physics” by Ursula Whitcher
“Dream Logic” by Ada Hoffmann
“The Trees Are Waiting” by Gita Ralleigh
“We Dream the Future in Our Songs” by Eva Papasoulioti
“Atmospheric Inversion” by Kim Goldberg
“The Keystone Out of Your Arch” by Sonya Taaffe
“Tolk” by So Mayer
“On the Long Road Back” by Aimee Ogden
“The Day before the Revolution” by Izzy Wasserstein

3. Bodies and Boundaries
“Icarus” by Thoraiya Dyer
“From the Ansible, a Voice” by Charles Payseur
“The Topography of Ambition” by Wendy Howe
“Frost Ascending” by Kendra Preston Leonard
“Ossify” by Jennifer Mace
“Keepsake” by A.J. Odasso
“Gebbeth” by A.Z. Louise
“A Headful of Hair” by Leah Bobet
“Evening (terza rima)” by Susannah Mandel
“And So if You Go Down, You Go Down Whole” by Jeanelle D’Isa
“ode to illness” by Gwynne Garfinkle
“The Place Where We Don’t Touch (To Therem Harth rem ir Estravan, from Theirs to Thine)” by Xian Mao
“An idea of boundary” by Shweta Narayan
“Concern (a found poem)” by Brandon O’Brien
“The Brown Thing” by Sofia Samatar

4. Kin and Kind
“Subjunctivitis (or: a Stratagem of Mortality)” by Margarita Tenser
“The Scent of Green” by Sandra J. Lindow
“Dancing at the Edge” by Margaret Wack
“Until the Ships Came” by Nicole Field
“Song of the Guardians of the Rainbow” by Ana Tapia, translation by Lawrence Schimel
“The Humanist Chaplain Watches her Daughter Walking through the Herb Garden” by T.D. Walker
“Couch Burning” by Tania Pryputniewicz
“My 1980” by Stephanie Burt
“On Reading Le Guin” by Mary Soon Lee
“Earthsea” by Bernard Horn
“Time Is Being and Being Time” Eva Papasoulioti
“Lessons from Mother” by Lynne Sargent
“A Metaphor of Sparrows” by Erin K. Wagner

5. The Farthest Shore
“Journey” by Lyta Gold
“Dragon Haiku” by Mary Vlooswyk
“The Ineffable” by Valeria Rodríguez
“Cat’s Canticle” by David Sklar
“Reincarnate” by Kate Boyes
“Spring” by Nisi Shawl
“Note To Ursula K. Le Guin” by JT Stewart
“Oregon: Local News” by Tricia Knoll
“There Must Be Darkness” by Catherine Rockwood

ESSAY
“The Poetry of Ursula K. Le Guin: A Retrospective” by R.B. Lemberg

Birdverse website, new poem, Le Guin

Dear readers – I have made a new website for Birdverse, located at birdverse.net. I have replaced the previous Birdverse page on this website with a link to the new website, which has a lot more info and is, hopefully, well-organized!

I will post information relevant to the Birdverse over at birdverse.net, and I will cross-post or link to Birdverse news on this blog.

The first post over at the Birdverse website has news about The Four Profound Weaves blog tour, appearances, and essays. You can read it there!

Poetry news: my poem “Stone Listening,” inspired by the character in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Always Coming Home, is up on Strange Horizons.

I will be posting the cover to Climbing Lightly through Forests, as well as the complete table of contents, in a few days.

Take care-

RB

The Four Profound Weaves pre-Launch Happenings

Just a few days left before the official launch of The Four Profound Weaves on September 1st, 2020. It’s an exciting time!

Here is a short list of everything going on right now:

Charles Payseur asked me some amazing questions about Birdverse! I was very excited about these questions.

Goodreads is offering two physical copies of The Four Profound Weaves. Beneath Ceaseless Skies is also offering two copies :))

The Raven is running a Crowdcast.io launch event with me and Kate Elliott on September 3, 7pm CDT – please pre-register! (I am very excited).

There will be a Reddit AMA on r/books on September 4th 🙂 – I will post more details next week!

I recorded a podcast with Worldshapers, which should go live by Mid-September. There will be other cool things happening in the next few weeks – I will post them as soon as the details are finalized.

Upcoming events: NASFiC and The Raven

I have two upcoming events which I would like to share with you. First, spouseperson Bogi Takács and myself will be doing a reading at NASFiC this Sunday, August 23, 2020. The reading will be held at 2:30PM-2:50PM EDT via Zoom – please see the NASFiC website for details. We will be reading from our recent and upcoming work in honor of Corey Alexander.

Second, as a part of the events for the launch of THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES, there will be a conversation between myself and the inimitable Kate Elliott hosted at the Raven Bookstore via Crowdcast.

The event will be held on Thursday, September 3rd, at 7pm CDT/8PM EDT. You can register for free at www.crowdcast.io/e/rblemberg/register

You can also order a signed copy via The Raven at www.ravenbookstore.com

The Four Profound Weaves is going to be an audiobook!

I am very pleased to announce that my new agent, Mary C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron, has sold audio rights to my Birdverse debut, the Four Profound Weaves, to Tantor Media. I’m so happy there’s going to be an audiobook!

TWO starred reviews for the Four Profound Weaves

My upcoming Birdverse debut The Four Profound Weaves has received not one, but two starred reviews from trade journals: The Publishers Weekly, and the Library Journal. I couldn’t be happier.

Publishers Weekly (for full review, please click the link):

Lemberg’s outstanding debut novel expands on the short stories of the Birdverse that they have been publishing for about a decade […] Uiziya and nen-sasaïr’s journey is enthralling and frequently moving, as along the way they are repeatedly faced with the choice “to care or not, as all people do.” Lemberg writes deeply considered, evocative portraits of their characters, handling sexuality and gender especially well. This diverse, folkloric fantasy world is a delight to visit.

The Library Journal review (for full review please click the link):

Nebula-nominated Lemberg’s first novella, set in their deeply queer “Birdverse” universe, presents a beautiful, heartfelt story of change, family, identity, and courage. Centering two older transgender protagonists in the midst of emotional and physical journeys highlights the deep, meaningful prose that Lemberg always brings to their stories.

The book will be published on September 4th; meanwhile, you can preorder it from Tachyon or from a variety of other book retailers, and/or put it on your Goodreads list.

Reddit AMA at r/Fantasy Today!

Some fine folks invited me to do a Reddit AMA on r/fantasy – I have been answering questions about Birdverse, my upcoming novella The Four Profound Weaves, worldbuilding, linguistics, recipes, and critters! I hope you will swing by and ask me more questions throughout the day of May 11, 2020.

The AMA link:  https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/ghqa6s/im_rb_lemberg_author_of_birdverse_stories_and/

Hope to see you there!

“To Balance the Weight of Khalem” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

I have a new story for you – it is a fantasy novelette unconnected to Birdverse (for a change), titled “To Balance the Weight of Khalem“. You can read it for free online, and if you are so inclined, you can support BCS Magazine on Patreon. I love this magazine so much.

The new story is about a magical onion, migrations, hunger and food insecurity, and found families, and long travel. The main character is trans (they are still figuring out their identity), and there’s a queer romance with a were-ray love interest. This story is ownvoices on multiple aspects – the onion in particular comes from my life.

The story already received some wonderful reviews. Charles Payseur at Quick Sip Reviews writes:

It’s a complex story of balance and of connection, people reaching people through food and fragrance, through moments of shared grief, through the ways their hurts contradict and the ways their hurts bind together, links in a chain crossing borders. […]It’s a beautiful story, stunningly built and intimately rendered. 

Maria Haskins highlights it at Curious Fictions:

A novelette about a magical onion, about war and immigration and loved, about the memories we carry with us, and the memories we’ve lost along the way. Reading Lemberg’s prose is like opening a treasure chest — it’s gorgeously rich and gleaming and there is a spellbinding, quiet power in the words. This is also very much, a story about food– about the scent and taste and nourishment and comfort food can bring us.

I hope you give this story a read, and, if you are so inclined, let me know what you think.

My ConFusion schedule

As you might have seen, Bogi is the Fan GoH at ConFusion this year (hurray!), so all three of us are going to ConFusion as a family. Mati is also coming.

If you are at ConFusion, please come say hi!! 🙂

Some details about that: I am often disoriented at cons (they are noisy/full of people/stress) even if I do not appear disoriented. I also have issues with face recognition and can really struggle with recognizing people I have not seen for a while (I am fine recognizing people whom I have seen recently). So please, please do not take it personally if I seem confused – please just remind me. I would love to talk to you!

Without further ado, the schedule:

Reading: Bogi Takács and R.B. Lemberg

Friday 2:00PM Saugatuck

Join Bogi Takács and R.B. Lemberg for a reading session

Bogi Takács, R.B. Lemberg

Avoiding Muddled Messes in World-Building
Friday 6:00PM Isle Royale
World-building is one of the most important, and also most daunting, aspects of sff writing. Here we’ll examine some of the pitfalls of world-building, from cardboard cultures to “planet of hats” races and beyond. In an effort to get beyond fantasy couched in vague European-ness, and science fiction built entirely of jumpsuits and holodecks, we ask: “What can we do to create better, richer, more interesting, and more thoughtful worlds?”
Sarah E Gibbons (m), Tracy Townsend, J. Zachary Pike, R.B. Lemberg

Emotional Non-Violence In Fiction
Saturday 11:00AM Petoskey

A discussion on what it looks like and what it means to integrate themes of emotional non-violence in fiction – also is emotionally non-violent fiction important? Going beyond higher level issues of emotional abuse to more subtle topics such as consent, misidentification, and personal questions.

E.D.E. Bell (m), Jason Sanford, R.B. Lemberg, Brandon O’Brien

Masculinity and Trauma Recovery in Genre Fiction

Saturday 2:00PM Isle Royale

Science Fiction and Fantasy are full of tough manly heroes (and anti-heroes) with trauma in their backgrounds, from murdered families to witnessed war crimes. More often than not, these traumatic backstories serve as a justification for sarcasm, alcohol, and violence. In a world where men are significantly less likely to get professional help to heal from their trauma, how can science fiction and fantasy help to create positive examples of heroes who face their demons constructively?

Brandon O’Brien (m), dave ring, John Wiswell, R.B. Lemberg

Inventing Mythos

Saturday 6:00PM Charlevoix

Okay, so your secondary-world fantasy has totally awesome gravity-defying dragons, but how do people think they got there? What stories do they tell about the Space Emperor Undying? What do the fables of our speculative universes say about the morals taught to children, and how did The Boy Who Lived become anything more than an urban legend to the wizarding world?

K.A. Doore (m), Stacey Filak, Izzy Wasserstein, R.B. Lemberg

Announcing: The Four Profound Weaves

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg

My novella The Four Profound Weaves is forthcoming from Tachyon Press in September 1, 2020. It is a story of two trans elders who must learn to weave from death to defeat a sinister ruler who murders rebellious women and hoards their bones and souls. It is set in Birdverse, my award-winning LGBTQIA+ focused secondary world.

Ann Leckie says: “This is one of R’s Birdverse stories, which I’ve recommended before. Their writing is lovely, their worldbuilding wonderful, their characters real and resonant.” Thank you, Ann!!

Tachyon designer Elizabeth Story did a wonderful job with the cover. Thank you, Elizabeth!! There are also gorgeous internal illustrations in this book, also by Elizabeth. And many thanks to my editor Jaymee Goh, and the managing editor Jill Roberts, who were terrific to work with. And of course, it was a pleasure to work with Jacob Weisman at Tachyon.

You can already preorder the book from Amazon, or directly from my publisher, Tachyon Press. The first 50 people to preorder directly from Tachyon will also get a small linocut of the cover, printed on the letterpress, all done by me. It’s going to be gorgeous!

The book also has a Goodreads page 🙂

Some early praise for The Four Profound Weaves:

“THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES is a balm and a call to arms. R.B. Lemberg reassures us that there’s still time to find yourself, no matter how old you are; and they stir our a revolutionary urges to defeat murderous dictators. But this novella is also a finely-drawn, realistic character study of people who love their communities but never quite feel at home in them. And the magical system is a sheer delight. Thoughtful and deeply moving, THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES is the anti-authoritarian, queer-mystical fairy tale we need right now.”– Annalee Newitz

“R. B. Lemberg’s The Four Profound Weaves tells the journey of a pair of aged and appealing wanderers searching for magic, art, identity, and peace. Thought-challenging points-of-view weave together stark violence, intricate powers, and the musings of long and complicated lives. The Four Profound Weaves contains imagery that glows on the page.” –Patricia McKillip

“I am staggered by the richness and intricacy of R B Lemberg’s imagination. The Four Profound Weaves is an intense and emotional story of a journey of change, growth, and courage.” –Kate Elliott

“R.B. Lemberg writes with a luminous pen, spraying light all around their words and ideas.  They create a universe where carpets and cloaks bear history and the future. A perilous chase, with assassins and gods in pursuit, reveals the fluidity of life by following the threads—both bright and dark—that weave together to create a complex and mystical journey toward friendship, family, and love.” –Jewelle Gomez

 Reading the first pages of The Four Profound Weaves feels like being invited into the home of a beautiful stranger. As you sit with these characters and come to know them, you too will feel know. In reading this story about recognition and transformation, I felt recognized and transformed. It’s a fantastic alchemy on Lemberg’s part, and their love and labor shines off the page. I don’t know any writer that could so skillfully take me apart with a story, or put me back together with such care. This was a story I didn’t know I desperately needed.”  –Nino Cipri

“Over the years, R.B. Lemberg, in their prose and poetry alike, has built a world of serpents, deserts, stars, and bones, where transformation is omnipresent and restlessness rewarded. The Four Profound Weaves is a jewel-bright tile in their ongoing mosaic. To read it is to experience apotheosis: but instead of toward heaven, we ascend toward a more total humanity. Weaves is a patient work, at times compellingly kind, at other times merciless. Always, subtly woven. Like the Nameless One in its pages, this book does not—perhaps cannot—pretend to be anything other than what it proclaims for itself: the four profound weaves—change, wanderlust, hope, death. But these aren’t chronological; they’re a pattern, a randomized one—and death is only the middle.” –C. S. E. Cooney

“Lemberg weaves a gripping tale of community, identity, betrayal, and hope. From the sweeping expanse of the desert to the confined splendor of a sinister palace, every page contains wonder. I flew through the story, breathless, needing to see what would come next, and I was rewarded with every twist in the narrative. The Birdverse is lush and gorgeous, even when painful, and The Four Profound Weaves takes the reader on a wild ride through some of the deepest and richest pockets of it.” –Julia Rios

“Nobody in fantasy is doing what R.B. Lemberg is doing. Their work is generous, insightful, and focused on people — older, damaged, queer — whose stories most writers would keep in the background. This is a book about people walking into traps to find themselves, about fumbling out of stagnation and into adventure. Let this be your introduction to R.B.’s world of song carpets, deepnames, and deserts full of roving lovers.”–Isaac Fellman

“Hope is the song, and it’s woven of R.B. Lemberg’s words.” –Scott H. Andrews

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About

R.B. Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their work has appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Uncanny, and other venues, and has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, and other awards.

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