“Cloth” is a Nebula Award nominee!

My Birdverse novelette “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) is a Nebula Awards finalist!

This is the first time my work has been nominated for the Nebula. It is a tremendous honor, and a huge personal milestone. I am grateful to my editor, Scott Andrews of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, who believed in my Birdverse work for years; to those who nominated this story for the Nebula; and to all my readers who enjoyed and supported my Birdverse work. I am in particular grateful to my Birdverse Patreon backers, who are incredible and whose support is always much appreciated. As ever, I am grateful to Bogi Takács and Shweta Narayan, who helped me so much on every stage of this journey.

I have written prose and poetry in various genres, from magic realism to surrealism to science fiction and even horror, but secondary world fantasy is special for me. Birdverse in particular is the reason I am writing.  I am thrilled that so many people have found my stories meaningful, and it is so huge to have a Birdverse story honored, to have this particular story honored.

The Nebula list this year is very strong, and I am happy to share it with so many great writers, including N.K. Jemisin, Ann Leckie, Fran Wilde, Ken Liu, C.S.E. Cooney, Beth Cato, E. J. Fischer, Kelly Robson, Nnedi Okorafor, Usman T. Malik, Henry Lien, Brooke Bolander, Sarah Pinsker, Amal El-Mohtar, Sam J. Miller, Alyssa Wong, Kate Elliott, Daniel José Older, and others!  Congratulations, and good luck to all of us!

Here are some entries I’ve written about this story:

Rhysling Award nominations

I’m very pleased to announce that two of my poems from 2015 have been nominated for the Rhysling Award in the LONG poetry category:

  1. Long Shadow” (Strange Horizons), which already took 2nd place in the Strange Horizons Readers’ poll;
  2. Archival Testimony Fragments/minersong” (Uncanny), also on the Locus Recommended Reading list.

Both poems are included in my new poetry collection from Aqueduct, MARGINALIA TO STONE BIRD.

Really glad to see so many nominations from Strange Horizons. They had a tremendous year of poetry. Among my favorites are Ryu Ando’s “Season of the Ginozakura,” which is his first published poem; M. Sereno’s powerful “Adarna“; and Gabby Reed’s “Lola” (almost anything with grandmothers is an instant win for me), among many others I’m happy to see on the Rhysling list.

New reactions to Birdverse

I’m excited to have quite a few new and newish Birdverse pieces out, and the reactions have been amazing. Here are some recent ones:

Kate Elliott talks about “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds”:

In the Birdverse universe, relationships and language and magic intertwine so tightly they can’t be fully pulled apart because none of them exist in isolation from each other. Language and linguistics underpins the Birdverse. If you enjoy asides on and playing with etymology and language change, if you love fascinating cultural explorations and inventive customs and traditions that feel lived in, this is the story for you. This world feels “real” in the sense that I can imagine myself wandering into it, and it comes alive in striking and evocative writing.

Sara Norja recommends “Geometries of Belonging”:

So many complex characters in this novelette, and complex cultural and political situations that act as a background to the events. It was great to read about an autistic character who is portrayed with such sensitivity and nuance, too. […] This wasn’t the lightest of tales to read – the various societal oppressions and people’s own locks and problems do not make for a happy-go-lucky atmosphere. But Geometries of Belonging is a hopeful story, definitely. And an important one.

Tangent reviews “The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar”

Lemberg’s characters are inspired by their admiration of each other’s artistry, and through their flowing language the reader is treated to descriptions of beautiful magic that in some ways mimic the easier communication that we take for granted. This story is about passion tempered by respect and effort.

New from Birdverse: Glassmaker and Jeweler

I have a new Birdverse story out at Uncanny Magazine, and for a change, it’s not a novelette. “The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar” is a happy, hopeful story about two artists and their art, and I am very happy to share it with you.

Charles Payseur reviews it at Quick Sips:

And the story takes the shape of two people exchanging letters. About art and craft but also about seeing the world and learning of each other and a yearning that finally bridges so much distance and difference. The story is set in the same world that the author has used many times, and every time I step back into that world I am delighted and left wanting more. […] And there is the inherent tension to the relationship, to the correspondence, to the waiting. That waiting is full of implications and flights of the imagination and worry, full of things that seem to spill from the ether…

And Sara Norja writes in her Sunday Recs: Rose Lemberg’s Birdverse:

…this is a happy story – ah, marvellously joyful and hopeful, though not without conflict. It’s written in an epistolary format, which is something that I really enjoy. Two artists meet and share their art, and more. Rose always writes exquisitely, but the language here is really something special. The words in these particular arrangements sparkle like jewels, like shimmering shards of coloured glass.

(She also reviews Geometries of Belonging in the same entry!)

Finally, Liz Argall has been publishing a special Uncanny feature of her webcomic Things Without Arms and Without Legs, reacting to a story in Uncanny Magazine, and this month’s installment reacts to Glassmaker and Jeweler! Hurray!

First reviews of Marginalia to Stone Bird

My poetry collection, MARGINALIA TO STONE BIRD, has received its first reviews.

Nerds of a Feather published a review by Charles Payseur, their first speculative poetry review:

Marginalia to Stone Bird is a testament to how speculative poetry can succeed in capturing voice and plot and movement and feeling while still tackling big ideas and personal truths. The collection crafts a sort of map of forms and intents, a tour of what speculative poetry can be. From magic realism to high fantasy to far off-world science fiction, the poems range far and wide while maintaining a circling consistency, an interest in language and oppression and voice and freedom.

Charles elaborates further in his Goodreads review:

I really can’t say enough about the organization of the collection, with each section growing more comfortable with the strange, the unearthly, with form becoming looser and more and more speculative elements creeping in so that, by the end, the verse is dominated by fantasy and science fiction, by sweeping epics ripe with world building and tight plotting and complex morality.

And finally, this week Strange Horizons published a review of MARGINALIA in form of a conversation between Karen Burnham and Sofia Samatar. Here’s an excerpt:

KB: There’s a lot to be said about how Lemberg is able to take starkly contrasting images and language and make them work together in interesting ways. As you mentioned, there’s history, autobiography, mysticism, and fantasy all juxtaposed […]

SS: This is so interesting and important, I think—the poems are very carefully organized. It’s the organization that makes Marginalia feel like a book, a complete argument rather than a “collected poems of Rose Lemberg.” And you’re right, those pieces set in the same world are not clumped together, but their influence grows toward the end of the book. It feels more like a tapestry than a collage—rather than separate components set beside each other, there are threads that travel through the whole, but certain colors are stronger in some places. Or maybe it’s like a piece of music, with themes that are repeated with variations, and grow and dominate in different movements.

I am really thrilled with these reactions.

We are running a Goodreads Giveaway for two signed copies of the book; it runs until February 3rd. I hope you enter!

Locus Recommended

In a strange and marvelous turn of events, I have a piece on the Locus Recommended Reading List. It is my poem “Archival Testimony Fragments/Minersong.”


A poem I wrote is on the Locus Recommended Reading List.

Under Short Stores.

I only know of one other poem that has been on the list: Paul Park’s “Ragnarok,” a few years ago. (I’d love to hear about any others).

Strange, and marvelous, and a great honor.

Archival Testimony Fragments/Minersong” is a poem about living ships, and memory, and corporations, and unlikely connections made and honored. It has been published in the second issue of Uncanny Magazine. There’s a haunting, terrific podcast of it by C.S.E.Cooney, who reads it in multiple voices.

My work also appears in Letters to Tiptree and Sisters of the Revolution, which are on the Locus Recommended List this year.

If you are so inclined, consider voting in the Locus Poll! Obviously you do not have to vote for me – there’s a lot of tremendous work on the list – but it’s definitely a rare chance to vote for a POEM!

This Award Season and “Grandmother-Nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds”

I am thrilled and honored to see my Birdverse novelette “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) on many awards and reading lists this award season.

It has been included in:

SFWA award reading list
Tangent Online 2015 Recommended reading list (three stars!)
Tiptree Award recommendations
Beneath Ceaseless Skies award recommendations, Best Novelette
Nerds of a Feather Hugo Award Longlist

And various fine people’s 2015 lists:
Fran Wilde’s award recommendations
Gwendolyn Clare’s award recommendations
Forestofglory’s Favorite Short Fiction of 2015
Ada Hoffmann’s 2015 list
I think I am missing some lists, so I will be adding them as I see them.

What readers say:

“…a world in which it seems natural that old women should be the guardians of secret romance and rebellion” — C.L. Kagmi

“a beautiful story…” – Kate Elliott

“It’s soaked in sensory detail, transporting the reader to the world of the tale. Overall, it’s lovely on many levels” (A.C. Wise)

“It’s an incredibly complex story, but it reads with an effortless grace” – Charles Payseur at Nerds of a Feather

“It resonated a lot with me from the perspective of gender and societal expectations, but also that of the complexities of family: disappointment and love and misunderstanding.” (Paige Kimble)

If you are voting or recommending for awards this season, I hope you give this story a try!

Strange Horizons poll results are in

The Strange Horizons readers’ poll results are in.

“Ranra’s Unbalancing” placed first in the poetry category.
“Long Shadow” placed second in the poetry category.
My folkloristics essay “The Uses and Limitations of the Folklorist’s Toolkit for Fiction” shares first place with “Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in SF: A Conversation” by Polenth Blake and Bogi Takács.
And I came second in the Columns category; I did not even know I was competing.

This is a bit overwhelming. I don’t quite know how to hold this.

Thank you very much to everyone who voted and engaged with my work; and, as always, to the Strange Horizons team. The magazine had a terrific year, and I’m very much looking forward to 2016.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of the winners!

Strange Horizons Readers Poll

The Strange Horizons Readers’ Poll runs traditionally for two weeks of January, this year from 4-17th. Voting is free and open to everyone. If you read Strange Horizons, you can vote. You can vote for fiction, poetry, articles, columnists, and artworks.

I blog about this poll every year because I think it’s fun and important and because, as I’ve stated many times before, I love Strange Horizons. Strange Horizons was the first online market I read, one of the first markets I read, period. They had published my first professional fiction sale, and many of my best poems. I had the honor of winning the Readers’ Poll twice with some of these poems.

This year, I am eligible again.

I had three poems in Strange Horizons this year: two Birdverse poems (“Ranra’s Unbalancing”, “Three Principles of Strong Building”) and a Journeymaker Cycle poem, “Long Shadow.”

Long Shadow” is, well, long; it’s an epic length poem which tells a complete story of a ghost child, an orphan of past wars, who steals the souls of the unborn. The Journeymaker tries to find a solution, but there are no easy answers to be had.

This might be the most horror-ish thing I’ve written yet. It’s hard for me to think about any of my work as horror. I always try for a hopeful ending. It’s somewhat of a signature of mine, that in uttermost darkness I strive to find some hope. The Journeymaker, too, labors for hope, however difficult a situation might be. But it’s not always possible to resolve things. Sometimes all you can do is to witness. Witnessing in itself has such tremendous power, and witnessing is so often overlooked in favor of finding a solution.
Witnessing, though, is a kind of hope. So often our suffering is not even seen.

Long Shadow” represents the best of my writing.

Regardless of whether you vote for it or not, I hope you give it a read.

Strange Horizons poetry department had a tremendous year. Please check out other people’s work – I loved so many of this year’s poems that I don’t think I can list them all.

In addition to poetry eligibility, my essay “The Uses and Limitations of the Folklorist’s Toolkit for Fiction” is eligible in the Articles category.

Happy reading and voting!

Birdverse recognition!

Charles Payseur has started the Sippy Awards, which he gives out in five categories. The first category is The “I’d Ship That” Sippy for Excellent Relationships in Short SFF, and my Birdverse novelette “Geometries of Belonging” won the Big Sip award in this category!

This story features a deeply complex relationship between Parét and his master, his lover, his partner. The two men are older, and it’s quite refreshing to see a mature relationship, one that has been through so much, complicated even further in this story about being broken and not broken, about being unwell and about living with it.

I love what Charles Payseur is doing with his reviews, and I am really pleased by this.

The Tangent Recommended Reading List is out, and both “Geometries of Belonging” and “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” are listed! “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” received a three star rating. I’m really happy to see this. I’m happy to see these two stories on both the Tiptree recommended list and the Tangent Recommended reading list.

“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” is on the SFWA’s Nebula Reading List.

I’ll write more about this, but if you are nominating for the big awards in 2016 and are considering a Birdverse story, both of those are novelettes and potentially in competition with each other. I’d like you to consider “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” – not because one story is better than the other (they are very different, and both received recognition), but simply because I’d rather not split these votes.

Huge thanks, again, to everyone who read, commented, recommended, discussed, and is considering voting for these stories.

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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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