Assorted News, with Long Shadow

I have assorted news to report today, including one of epic nature.

My curse poem “Beastwoman’s Snarled Rune,” aka the Monsterpoem (first published in Bull Spec 4, 2010), will be reprinted in Angels of the Meanwhile, an anthology to benefit PopeLizbet.

My essay “On the pitfalls of merit,” published on this blog last year, will be reprinted in SpecFic 2014: The Best Online Reviews, Essays, and Commentary edited by Renay and Shaun Duke.

My slightly edited essay “Encouraging Diversity: An Editor’s Perspective” has been reprinted in today’s issue of Strange Horizons.

Finally, “Long Shadow” has also gone live in today’s issue of Strange Horizons. “Long Shadow” is an epic poem in the Journeymaker Cycle, in which we return to the world of the Journeymaker and her lover, Keddar. Perhaps most well-known of my published Cycle poems is “In the Third Cycle”  (also in Strange Horizons), which took first place in the Rannu Competition as well as in the SH Readers’ Poll, and was nominated for the Rhysling award in the long category. “Long Shadow” features some of the same characters, but you don’t need to know anything about the Cycle in order to read it.

This poem is set in the marsh, where the Journeymaker attempts to figure out what to do about Long Shadow, a ghostly child born of buried wars, and the children Long Shadow steals. There are no easy answers here. It is, however, my personal meditation to some of the pervasive tropes we see around, most immediately the narrative beautification of warfare. When prettily told wars are done, children – people – continue to suffer.

…How will you go
about this help? To keep it warm,
whose children will you choose, and spill their blood
to feed Long Shadow?

          There must be another way.

What way do you envision
while battles suffocate below,
yet are still living? All those hatreds that have grown
like poison ivy through the hearts of city dwellers
and village folk—where do you think they come from?

This poem is one of my major poetic accomplishments. I hope you give it a read. There will be a podcast later in the month, in which I read this poem in five voices. I’ll let you know when it goes up.

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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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