My essay “The Priviliege and Necessity of Writing” (this blog) will be reprinted in the 2015 edition of Speculative Fiction: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary edited by Foz Meadows and Mark Oshiro. Really happy about that.
I have been honored and moved to read Sessily Watt’s latest (and last) Facing the Raven’s Eye column at Bookslut, titled In Hope, which focuses on my Birdverse work.
But when literature includes moments of empathy — of growing the world, fictional or otherwise — it offers hope in the midst of pain. In this sense, Rose Lemberg is among the most hopeful authors currently writing.
Sessily says many insightful and beautiful things about my worldbuilding, including some things that other reviewers did not yet discuss. Here are some excerpts:
In the Birdverse, a magic loosely based in geometry is a source of craftsmanship, art, protection, and healing. Multiple cultures and countries engage in trade relationships and political alliances. Cultures make use of magic according to their own traditions and rules, and worship the deity Bird, in whichever feathered form Bird takes. And within these countries and cultures, individuals hurt and are hurt, heal and are healed.
One of the often-used tools in the Birdverse box of empathy is the perspective of a trader, who shifts between their own culture and the culture of another, trading not only physical objects but traditions and ideas, too.
The intricate geometry of the magic system — its arrangements of polysyllabic “deepnames” — seems to be mirrored in the relationships of the characters… Both the characters’ relationships and the magic system emphasize coexistence and support, often involving a mix of what is considered strong and what is considered weak. And every story holds a deep and painful honesty about the harm we cause each other through fear, the “vessels of brokenness” we become under our own actions and the actions of others, and the warmth and wholeness that can be found through acceptance of one another.
Sessily also offers an in-depth look at two stories, “The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar,” and “Geometries of Belonging.” The whole column is here. Check out the other Into the Raven’s Eye columns by Sessily Watt here.
I am really, really moved by this. Thank you.
What I absolutely loved about this story was how rooted in natural landscapes it was. Maru tells Vadrai about the desert, full of wind and the “striated bones of forgotten beasts.” Vadrai in turn shares images of their home in the Northern forest, “the small, snow–hopping birds and the children running outside, running even though clothed in such enormous garments” and a wonder which Maru has never witnessed: trees.
I also loved the idea that two creativities, even of different natures, enhance each other.
Thank you very much. It really helped to read this review today.
Due to the constraints of finances, childcare, health, and neurotype, I have not been much of a con-goer. The last convention I attended was Readercon in 2013. I am attending a con this year, and I am looking forward with pleasure and trepidation. The con is the Nebula Conference, and I am one of the Nebula Award nominees this year. And, unexpectedly but very happily, Bogi Takács will be able to come with me to the convention!
I am looking forward to meeting many excellent people face-to-face. I will also be on programming. My items are:
Friday, May 13
Historical Research from the Margins with Michael Livingston • Alyx Dellamonica • Eileen Gunn • Rose Lemberg • Ada Palmer • Helene Wecker
Language as Rebellion with Daniel José Older • Rose Lemberg • Kelly Robson • Tamara Vardomskaya
8:00pm – 9:30pm
For the autographing, I will be bringing copies of Marginalia to Stone Bird and, almost certainly, An Alphabet of Embers.
Will I see you there? 🙂
P.S. If you’re planning to come and would like to hang out and/or talk to me, it would be great if you could let me know beforehand – a comment or a twitter DM work best.
P.P.S. I feel good about my accessibility needs during the con, especially since Bogi is coming, but just as a hands up, I do tend to get drained/overwhelmed/dizzy and I have mobility issues which can flare up.
Mitchell Hart will be publishing my Birdverse poem “Mirrored Mappings” in Through the Gate.
This poem was an experiment in that I initially posted it unlocked on my Birdverse Patreon last year. I do not think that anyone except patrons read it. I love this piece and wanted more readers to see it, and so I asked Mitchell whether he would consider it as a reprint for Through the Gate. He did. I sent him an updated version, and now I am looking forward to be sharing it with you soon.
The lists this year are excellent. Glad to see work by A. Merc Rustad, Nino Cipri, Zen Cho, Yoon Ha Lee, Caren Gussoff, Nalo Hopkinson, Carmen Maria Machado, B.R. Sanders, and many fabulous others.
I am also a contributor to two anthologies on the Tiptree Longlist: Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein; and Queers Destroy Horror, edited by Wendy N. Wagner, Megan Arkenberg, and Robyn Lupo.
The deadline to vote in the Nebulas and to nominate work for the Hugo is March 31st – just around the corner.
My Birdverse story “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” is on the Nebula ballot this year. It is Hugo eligible in the novelette category. I hope you will give this story a try.
To everyone who has considered, discussed, and promoted this story so far: thank you. Thank you so much.
If you’re curious, there are some entries about this story and responses to it under the Birdverse tag.
A new and excellent essay by Ada Hoffmann, “Worldbuilding about, through, and with autism” at Disability in Kidlit hgihlights both “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” and “Geometries of Belonging” among other great works.
Happy voting and nominating!
Amal El-Mohtar reviews my debut poetry collection, Marginalia to Stone Bird, at Lightspeed Magazine’s March review column titled “Language, Roads, Intersection”:
Rose Lemberg’s first collection is a beautifully curated jewel of a book full of colour, longing, and heat. Divided into three sections—Finding Voice, Changing Shape, and Making Journeys—and containing nine poems original to the collection, Marginalia to Stone Bird constantly shifts between tactility and evanescence: embroidered cloth and starlight, food and fire, letters and music. […]
…ultimately, to discuss the collection’s contents is to muse on droplets on a windowpane during a lightning storm. The wholeness of it, the movement from voice to shape to journey, is heart-breaking; poems that address immigration, gender, love, language, are of a kind to crack a reader open before offering consolation.
Read the whole of Amal’s beautiful review here; the column also covers Sofia Samatar’s The Winged Histories, and The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria by Carlos Hernandez – I’m very much looking forward to reading both of these books!
I recently blogged my notes on trans themes in my Nebula-nominated “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds.” Shortly after that, Corey Alexander/Xan West posted an essay titled “One Trans Response to “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds”. It is a powerful, hard-hitting entry. I am very honored to have this perspective and this reaction to my work. I hope you give it a read (but note the content warnings).
Here is an excerpt from the beginning of Corey’s entry:
About content: this post speaks openly (and in some detail) about trans oppression in queer communities (with a focus on the ways trans men are targeted), gender border wars, purging, and gender-based coercion and abuse in relationships. Most of that discussion is in the first section, so if you want to avoid it, skip to the section titled My Response to Grandmother-nei-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds.
My Own Context for Reading Rose Lemberg’s Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds
I remember the hardness of the chairs in the auditorium. I remember the buzz of the fluorescent lights. I remember trembling in my seat, my stomach in knots. I remember the energy in the room feeling dangerous to me, like if I moved I might get noticed, get hit by the violent storm.
I don’t remember what exactly people said at that queer town hall meeting. I have tried, today, as I write this, to recall those kinds of details. But I can’t access them. I don’t know how I ended up in that room. I don’t know who I came with.
It was 1996, probably. I think. Twenty years ago. And it was the first time I heard queer cis women speaking openly about the reality that some of their partners, some folks in queer women’s community, were transitioning.
1. Publishers Weeekly (!!!!) reviews my debut poetry collection, Marginalia to Stone Bird:
In their debut collection, Lemberg summons elements of speculative fiction to capture a world in which everything is in motion, yet remains guided by language […] A book this dense with poems about passing between states—migrants in transit between countries, spirits negotiating between the living and the unliving, celestial bodies that walk the earth in human form—might lose its way if it did not thrive joyfully in its own collective liminality.
2. Strange Horizons will publish my poem “The Ash Manifesto.” I am very pleased.