Birdverse novella “Portrait…” is out

While I was away from the computer for a rather dramatic and unpleasant move, my Birdverse novella A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power became available for free at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Part 1:

Part 2:

A 5-hour long EPIC audiobook/podcast narrated by the indomitable CSE Cooney:

This is one of the best things I have ever written, and it is a difficult story; content warnings for kink/edgeplay, past trauma,  in-depth discussions of consent and living with the aftermath of trauma, some violence.

…this novella is a must-read – it delves deep into the history, spirituality, and mythology of that world. Love, transformation, magic, lust, longing, pain and desire – so many threads are woven together in this tale. Breathtaking storytelling.Maria Haskins

I will do a reviews roundup a bit later. Meanwhile, if you read this piece and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a Goodreads review, and/or leaving a comment at the Beneath Ceaseless Skies website.

With gratitude to Corey Alexander, without whom this piece would probably not have been finished; and thanks as always to Bogi Takács, Charles Payseur, Ada Hoffmann, Scott Andrews, and CSE Cooney, as well as my Patreon supporters past and present, who keep me going when the going gets hard(er).

Poem sale

I’m very pleased to announce that my short poem “Domovoi” will appear in a future issue of Uncanny Magazine.

“Portrait…” is going to be an AUDIOBOOK!!

I have wonderful news to share with you today. As I have already written here, “A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power,” the Birdverse origin novella of queer/trans supermages, consent, power exchange, and giant flaming birds, will be published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

We now have publication dates: the first part will appear on 7/6/2017, and the second part on 7/20/2017, bracketing ReaderCon. Please look for the novella and for Scott Andrews, the editor and publisher, there!

The second bit of news is this: there will be an AUDIOBOOK of Portrait narrated by the splendid C.S.E. Cooney, World Fantasy Award winner and an extraordinary voice artist. I have worked with Claire and Scott to create a pronunciation guide for the novella, and the recording is complete and is now being edited. I am so, so excited about this. It is going to be EPIC!

Journeymaker to Keddar (II)

Today I am making  “Journeymaker to Keddar (II)”, the final poem from Marginalia to Stone Bird, publicly available: in part as defiance against the world’s darkness, in part to mark its Rhysling nomination, and in part to celebrate our fourth anniversary as a couple – I read this poem during our wedding last year.

I hope you enjoy.



The Journeymaker to Keddar (II)

by Rose Lemberg


Come, Keddar, weigh my hair
with images of the mountain
brass-forged, intricate:
moon panther and chickadee,
mink and hare and sure-footed deer,
its hooves covered in snow;
talk to me about voices
that speak to you as you fall,
that speak to you as you climb.

Falling off Ramár and climbing up Nimár
is a dangerous proposition.
To fall off what must be climbed,
to climb up the heights you fell from;
the mountain inversed, which is the freezing in your body
emptied out of its ice, a cavern that echoes with nothingness
that you’re afraid to speak into:
that is what must be climbed now.

And as for Ramár: those heights
that birth pride and self-importance
and all-consuming greed for power —
that must be now fallen from.

Follow my tracks in the snow,
they lead up in the snow
they lead up in the snow
I climb what must be climbed.
They lead down in the void,
Down, down in the empty void,
I fall what must be fallen from.

Follow me when you’re ready,
follow me when you’re made for following,
but if you follow without reflection,
how then will the ice melt inside the caverns,
how will the pride and pain melt,
so that you learn the steps to follow me,
find your voice to call after?

Among the journeys I made for others,
the Journeymaker too must journey.
The dragons that coil around my heart
tell me not to neglect my own longing
out of which I have embroidered roads,
stitched lands to each other —

but I will keep you as I journey.

Climbing now, resurrect
all that has been in your heart, coiled
in the emptiness, exhaling fire
in the emptiness, exhaling water that hangs in drops,
multifaceted crystals of your breath.

Let your voice ring out to me
truer than harp and dulcimer:
these mountain drums in the hollows of your body
for our stories to dance against each other
like mating dragons.

Dance truth of what it means to be ourselves,
the one that walks first, the one who follows,
not out of need or obligation or the scintillating rend of desire,
but out of selfhood
pure as water that springs between us, these bonds,
this water that has no meaning beyond itself,
has no speech beyond its own poetry,
syllables scrimshawed upon silence
that stretches between us, catches us into its glittering web
between Ramár and Nimár

I make for you a journey
across this emptiness, to me,
on stepping stones I’ve laid for you
walk between the stars that lie exuberant and bare,
between the voids step carefully.


Birdverse Podcast!

On the Birdverse Patreon, I have been experimenting with new stretch goals. The first of those is the Birdverse podcast, in which I will answer questions from readers (patrons get priority in the queue, but all are welcome to ask questions)! Once we reach $150 a month, the podcast will become a free, monthly feature.

Yesterday I uploaded the pilot podcast, in which I answer questions about maps, magical geometry and the land, food writing, Bird worship, my writing process, and so much more! The podcast is available for everyone.
Right now, we are just $6 away from making the BIRDcast a monthly feature. Please spread the word and help make it a reality!

GlitterShip podcast, and a poem sale

My Queers Destroy SF! story, “How to Remember to Forget to Remember the Old War,” has been podcast by the fabulous GlittershipSF and narrated by Rose Fox! Glittership also reprinted the story – the first time it appears online for free. Hope you give it a read, a listen, or both!

My short poem “Pollen” will appear in Mithila Review. I love the magazine, and I’m so happy to have an upcoming piece there.


RETRYING, and the Hugos

My short surrealist piece “RETRYING” will appear in Daily Science Fiction. RETRYING is probably the weirdest piece I’ve ever written, which should say something about how weird it is. I’m very happy that this piece found a home!

In other news, the Hugo finalists have been announced. I have not seen such a beautiful list in … oh, two years? Likhain is a finalist for Best Fan Artist, which makes me very happy. Congratulations to the finalists!!!

Reviews and thoughts, March edition

ICFA concluded today. I was not there, but hope to be next year. I heard it was a great con, and I heard that my poetry book Marginalia to Stone Bird was mentioned, as a Crawford finalist. Still really honored by this.

I do not know if the timing was accidental or not, but Ada Hoffmann featured a lengthy review of Marginalia to Stone Bird at her Autistic Book Party today. It is a tremendous, detailed review. Here is an excerpt:

Lemberg’s poetry is very socially aware. The first third of the book, mainly magic realism, is centered firmly in the experience of oppression in the real world: immigration, faith and doubt, war, a failing marriage. The middle section translates these oppressions to the fantasy realm: its heroes are exploited peasants, abandoned women, unwanted people whose surroundings and cultures never treat them particularly well. (At least one is trans.) The Journeymaker Cycle, in the final third, makes this awareness both larger and more inward. It’s a winding story that unfolds across multiple lifetimes, in which its reincarnated heroes struggle with the use and abuse of their power, taking refuge in powerlessness and then eventually needing to reclaim power; in which they try to use their power to help, and help many, but also run up dramatically short against the limits of that ability. […] The shorter, more magical realist poems of the final third also play off of these themes, presenting a narrator who is afraid of their own power, afraid to speak or create, and yet who feels inevitably drawn to creation.

I am also really grateful for a new review of “The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar” from Strangely Charmless:

It is a slow love story, performed in words and gifts. It’s so tentative, so respectful, so beautiful, that my knuckles whitened as I read, fully expecting something to go wrong and break my heart.

But that’s not Lemberg’s style.

I’ve never before or since written something so unambiguously joyful as Glassmaker/Jeweler, but it’s not my style to offer the reader no hope. I often wonder if this is a detriment in the field of SFF, or in general, in this present moment. In the end, though,  I do not want to break. I want to unbreak – something perhaps more viscerally necessary for those of us who feel broken by the world and by their reading experiences in the world. I am good with that.

Marginalia to Stone Bird – Elgin

My poetry collection Marginalia to Stone Bird has been nominated for the Elgin Award. That’s the second award nomination for it, after the Crawford.

My publisher (Aqueduct Press) sent a pdf to the Elgin chair to share with SFPA members, so if you are a SFPA voter and are interested in checking out the book, it will be available at the SFPA private dropbox for a limited time. Please let me know if you have any trouble accessing it!


Poetry updates

I recently learned that Marginalia to Stone Bird is the first poetry book to be nominated for the Crawford Award. I am really honored.

Two of my poems, “The Ash Manifesto” (Strange Horizons) and “The Journeymaker to Keddar II” (Marginalia to Stone Bird) were nominated for the Rhysling Award.

I am traveling back home from a conference and feeling really unwell physically. Hope to post more soon.

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Rose 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, Tiptree, Elgin, Rhysling, and Crawford awards.

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