2012 Poetry Recommendations by Editors: Rose Lemberg

At the end of last year, I approached a few editors of speculative poetry to recommend five “Best of…” poems of 2012. I asked that the five recommended poems would be written, edited and published by other people, rather than the editors themselves. The various selections so far can be found at the poetry recommendations by editors tag.

Thank you very much to the editors who participated! We round out these series with my own recommendations.


Rose’s Recommendations

In no particular order,

I Understand Video Games Aren’t Real,” By Leslie Anderson (Strange Horizons, October 2012).
This poem speaks to our emotional connections to the digital realities we often inhabit. It’s simple and poignant, and it touched me.


The Pilgrimage of Mouths” by Kristiana Rae Colón, in PANK Magazine (January 2012).
I am partial to work about voice, and this is the kind of exuberant, surrealistic text that speaks to me on a visceral level, that slides off like music, almost beyond reach until it is played again and again.

a woman wearing green mascara and rabbit

fur, resisting nothing, delivering two naked bodies
into the other’s mouth, remember my mouth

was full of bullets I let dribble to my living
room hardwood one at a time, blackbirds falling
from the aviary of my jaws.

I love it.


On the question of Jonah, whales, and the weight of a woman” by by Cassie Premo Steele (Goblin Fruit, Summer 2012)

A triumphant, joyful fat acceptance poem. I want/need more of these.


The First Flute, Played in Enceladus’s Light: Five Voices,” by Michele Bannister (Jabberwocky 10).
I also have a weakness for work with multiple voices, and this one is my favorite this year.


A Burnt Lyric” by Sofia Samatar (Goblin Fruit, Summer 2012).

A critique of traditional scholarship, reverberations of women’s lives between the lines… obviously I fell in love with it upon first reading, and have not fallen out of love even after many rereadings.

You’ll prove whole cities from a broken brooch, and blur
what the lost dead know.

Sofia talks more about the poetic tradition with which A Burnt Lyric is in dialogue, at her blog: Obsessed with Kharja controversy .

One Comment

  1. […] Romie Faienza (Strange Horizons,) Mitchell Hart (Through the Gate,) Samantha Henderson (Inkscrawl,) Rose Lemberg (Stone Telling,) Adrienne J. Odasso (Strange Horizons,) Alexa Seidel (Niteblade) and Erzebet […]

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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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