|Volume 37, Issue
Cover: Graf Zeppelin
© Gregory Schulte gregoryschulte.us
Wyrms & Wormholes
For a Good Time, Call Speculative Poetry
Here at Star*Line’s vast and luxurious editorial office suite, stranded in the middle of a vanished prairie, we strive above all to produce a publication that can be enjoyed. What constitutes a “good time” is up to the individual: as in sex, what one person delights in may seem a bizarre fetish or hideous anomaly to the next, and it is the task of Star*Line, as the representative vehicle for SFPA, to assume a function equivalent to that of a capable sex-industry worker to fill each reader’s need, be it fantasy, science fiction, horror, pure science or surrealism, with equal skill and enthusiasm, so that no issue fails to satisfy, even if only one poem meets a particular reader’s specifications.
It can be difficult to determine what will please a readership. A writer is like an artist painting a scene on a glass bottle—from the inside of that bottle. We know what we want the result to depict, but it is sometimes difficult to tell from the interior, as it were, whether the writing has achieved the desired effect. This is where critique groups, beta readers and, eventually, editors are invaluable; they can tell the poet what that scene looks like objectively, from the outside. In the end, a satisfying experience with a willing poem is determined by peculiarity of tastes; poems may be interpreted by readers—which include editors—in a manner that the writer or editor never anticipated.
A vibrant poetry community should involve a wide range of poets, editors, and enthusiastic readers, all discussing poems and providing feedback. Fan mail periodically arrives for Star*Line, but complaints are curiously (no, not that kind of curious) absent. We encourage you, our readership, to indicate what displeases you as well as what pleases you in each issue, and why.
Female speculative poets (or those who identify as such in e-mails) are still underrepresented in Star*Line’s slushpile, 2:1. The acceptance ratio is slightly more favorable to women of late, but that fluctuates. The SFPA membership, however, comprises nearly as many women as men. Because Star*Line is an official SFPA publication, open to any speculative poet, it will not institute any policy of favoring a particular gender—although it would be gratifying to receive more submissions from those who happen to be female.
Each poet has a unique vision that can bring pleasure to others in sometimes unexpected ways. It’s a wonderful thing to make that connection with a reader, no matter how different from you they may be.
To all possible worlds,
— F.J. Bergmann
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