Q&A with FTB Blogger Megan Rahm, Author of Free to Roam: Poems from a Heathen Mommy

FTB From the Ashes of Faith blogger Megan Rahm’s poetry collection, Free to Roam: Poems from a Heathen Mommy, was released last week.  I spoke with Megan about her book, which is published by Freethought House.

Freethinking Ahead: The poems in your collection, Free to Roam, examine what it means to be a nonbeliever in a believing society, particularly what it means to be a woman and a parent. Why did you choose poetry as a medium for this exploration? And what do you hope your readers come away with after reading your collection, especially if they tend toward prose rather than poetry?

Megan Rahm: I have only been writing poetry for about two years. It was something I was experimenting with and enjoyed very much at the time I began writing the book. Using poetry for Free to Roam felt like creating a mosaic out of little bits and pieces of stories. I felt it worked very well to give an overview of my life as an atheist mother.

I think my poetry is different from the work of many present-day poets. I feel a lot of poems are difficult to decipher. I want to make art with my poetry, but I want it to make sense, too. This is why I think people who tend toward prose might enjoy my poetry.

I still really enjoy writing poetry and I’m currently writing erotic as well as inspirational poems.

FTA: The image of curls appears again and again in your collection. In the first section, “Curls and Cornfields,” we see curls that “burn,” “hit the earth,” and “screamed / as they were straightened.” Later in the book, curls appear again, this time in hopeful form, for example in “The Curls” in which “they are a part / of something radiant— / a little girl.” We see them again in “Weekend Aftermath,” “Alphabet Soup,” and “Dance for Strangers” in this joyful light.

I was struck by a sense of returning, as curls wind around and seem to return to a starting place but not quite. What sparked your use of the curls images, and did your view of the image change as you wrote the poems in the book?

MR: I chose to use curls because my daughter and I both had curly hair. I say “had” because since writing the book my daughter’s hair has gotten a lot longer and her curls have grown out.

When I was little my family made a big deal out of my curly blonde hair. When I was older I was always trying to straighten my hair to fit in with the other girls at school. Now I consider my curls a part of my identity and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel bad for trying to straighten them in the past.

In “Curls and Cornfields” I talked about being raised in a conservative rural area where I often felt trapped. I was different from everyone else and I didn’t think I would ever make it out. That’s why my curls took so much abuse in that section. It symbolizes the judgment I received from others.

Later in the book, I talk about my daughter’s curls as something joyful and innocent. I would describe my daughter as a free spirit, a state she’s in free of judgment. She doesn’t mind being silly, funny, and trying new things. I felt the opposite growing up. My daughter is growing up in a place that is way more diverse than where I grew up. I’m hoping that in a way that might make her feel comfortable in her own skin.

FTA: The poems follow a chronological path from childhood to adulthood into parenthood. Did you write them in roughly the order you have them in the book, or did you move around in time as you wrote each poem? What surprised you most in writing and ordering the book?

The poems were written mostly out of order. My poems often start out as words and phrases from whatever is on my mind. Then they tend to have a life of their own. I think it would have been impossible to write anything in order.

MR: What really surprised me about the book was how well the sections worked. I can’t believe I could come up with something structured out of an unorganized pile of poems. I had an end goal but I was surprised when everything worked out so well.

FTA: Which poets do you enjoy reading? Are there any poets who were particularly influential to you as a freethinking poet and a “Heathen Mommy”?

MR: It seems challenging to find freethinking poets, but I really enjoy the work of Mark Doty and Sharon Olds.

Creativity for Skeptics Episode Ten: The Artist’s Way Week Four Recap and Week Five Preview

It’s Episode Ten of Creativity for Skeptics: The Artist’s Way Week Four Recap and Week Five Preview (and a recommendation).  Transcript below.

Or download here.

Hello, skeptical creatives and creative skeptics. Tammy here. This is episode nine of Creativity for Skeptics. In this episode, I’m going to take a slightly different approach to The Artist’s Way to recap week four and preview week five. At the end of this episode, I will have a plug for a poetry book I think you should check out, but for now let’s talk morning pages, or really, lack thereof. And energy. Also lack thereof.

Morning pages didn’t happen for me this week. And when I look at the check in, I see Julia Cameron’s huge accusation there, “Tantrums often show up as skipping the morning pages.” Okay, fine. But skipping the morning pages doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having a tantrum. In my case, it’s just that I’ve been running especially low on energy the past few weeks. I think the main idea I want to get at here is that just because X can cause Y, X isn’t necessarily the cause of Y. When you, like me, have multiple chronic health problems and things hurt and you’re tired and a bit foggy oh, yeah, there’s still a pandemic going on and a lot of people aren’t behaving as if there’s a pandemic going on, you’re probably not having a tantrum if you skip the morning pages.

All that to say, be gentle on yourself. If you skip things, if you need to skip things, be gentle on yourself.

Anyway, I did have an artist date, which involved me and my younger kid watching travel videos about London. Our main takeaways are that I want window boxes filled with flowers and she wants to go to the country that has that many unicorns on its signs. Me, too, kid. Me, too.

And to the tasks. I’ve been working to change my environment to better suit my creative work. Unfortunately, I’m making a giant seemingly intractable mess in the process, but I’m getting there. I have been making piles of clothes to donate and things to trash or recycle or just give away, and it’s freeing. I’m just not there yet. Anyway, if you’re kind of in the same place as I am, know that you’re not along and I’m cheering for you.

So, how did your week four go? I’d love to hear about it. I’d love to hear what you did last week for an artist date and anything you have planned. Leave a comment at freethoughtblogs.com/freethinkingahead or send me an email, info@tdwalker.net Or if you’d like to share your thoughts on the artist date, what you did, how it went, you can record a clip and send it along. I’ll play selected clips on upcoming episodes.

On to week five. Lots of God/creator talk in this week. The section “The Virtue Trap” is difficult territory, but well worth sticking with. I wish I’d paid more attention to this earlier in my life and left a bad several years-long relationship sooner, left a bad job sooner, left a bad career sooner. But I’m at the point in my life where I know that giving myself time makes me a better writer and a better parent, a better partner, a better person. Do complete the joys and wishes 101 to 103, and you might surprise yourself.

Tasks for this week start off with one that makes no sense for a non-believer, but I love Julia Cameron’s focus on images. I got on Instagram a while ago to try to focus more on the visual details of my world, and the tasks this week fit with that for me.

I don’t like the “Ten items I’d like to own” because right now, I’m trying to purge the house of things and clutter, and this exercise feels like it works against that idea. That said, and this is something I’m going to do an episode on later, after The Artist’s Way weeks, I encountered this idea about the difference between owning beautiful things and experiencing beautiful things, and that so resonated with me. So, it’s the idea that it’s better to have a painting in a museum where thousands of people can see it, can experience its beauty or shock or thoughtfulness, whatever it invokes, than to own a painting that only you can ever see. I’ll go into more detail on that and how it relates to creativity in another episode. But for now, I’ll just say that the things I want to own are more along the lines of “airline tickets to some city with fantastic museums.” And maybe postcards from that trip.

Now, time for a recommendation. I read an ARC (an advanced readers copy) of my fellow Freethought Blogs blogger Megan Rahm’s new poetry book, Free to Roam: Poems from a Heathen Mommy, published by Freethought House and available on February 2, so a couple days from when I’m recording this. A fascinating look at the journey of a woman who struggled as a child with her surrounding religious community and how that awareness of her own beliefs shapes her relationship with her own daughter. I recommend it, and I’ll have a Q&A with Megan posted on my blog in the coming weeks. I’ll post a link to the book in the shownotes.

So that’s it from me today. If you have any questions about creativity you’d like me to address, feel free to send me an email, info@tdwalker.net. Or post a comment over at my blog, freethoughtblogs.com/freethinkingahead

Thanks for listening to Creativity for Skeptics. For more information about the show or to listen to past episodes, go to creativityforskeptics.com. We’ll talk creativity again soon.

Creativity for Skeptics Episode 6: The Artist’s Way Week One Preview

We’re starting week one of The Artist’s Way on Monday, January 4th.  In this episode, I’ll preview week one, plus I’ll recommend A.J. Odasso’s The Sting of It (Tolson Books 2019).

Or download here.


Hello skeptical creatives and creative skeptics. Tammy here. This is episode six of Creativity for Skeptics. It’s Sunday, January 3rd 2021 as I’m recording this, and we’re going to preview week one of Julia Cameron’s the artists way. So in just a moment, I’ll talk about how I’m approaching this first week as someone who decidedly does not believe in the supernatural.

One note. At the end of the show, I’ll be sharing a book I just adore, A.J. Odasso’s The Sting of It.

But first, let’s preview week one.

So, you’ve got your morning pages journal or like me, a very cheap college-rule notebook. I find I’m more open to getting down the messier stuff on notebooks that I don’t have to be precious about. But find what works best for you–that’s what this is about. I’ve been doing the morning pages thing off and on since at least 2000 when I was in my early 20s, and it didn’t take me long to figure out I’m happier writing morning pages on notebook paper or a cheap notebook than a beautiful journal. On a later episode, I’ll talk more about how my morning pages have evolved over time and why I still find them useful.

Notebook or journal, and a sturdy pen in hand. Now what?

I don’t know about y’all, but reading the title of this section, “Recovering a Sense of Safety,” I get that sort of visceral knotting, because we’re thinking about making this safe space to create in but also we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Safety is kind of a fraught thing right now. It’s never not been a complicated issue–I know that. So as you’re going through this chapter, it might be worth taking a moment to think about the layers of safety–or lack thereof–in your particular situation.

On page 30, Julia Cameron talks about core negative beliefs, and she lists a few. I’d like to add an example of my own, because of the way art is distributed and consumed now is very different from how it was in 2002 (the date of the edition I have) and 1992 (the original copyright date). For example, artists have to spend all their time on social media (which I’m terrible at, by the way). So just something to think about right now.

Another one, and I’m sharing this with embarrassment: In high school I wrote and I wanted to be a published writer. But I read somewhere that if you can’t be truly happy, you can’t be a poet. Now, I have no idea who said this or what I read it in, and I haven’t had any luck looking it up–I haven’t really tried much to be fair. As depressed as I was as a teenager, this dashed a lot of hope I had. So, if any of you have read anything as untrue as this, let me tell you this: you can be a poet (or any kind of creator) even if happiness is hard for you. So that was one particular pile of bovine excrement I’ve moved past. And you can too.

Anyway, on to the tasks. Here’s where you do the work to get where you want to be. First one is morning pages. I’m going to second her instructions: these are for you only. Don’t share them. Don’t even think you might possibly one day share them. Maybe. Just a little.

The second task is the artist’s date. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I don’t watch TV, if you don’t count PBS Kids, so I’d thought about watching a travel video or something like that. I told myself that when I finish the draft of the mystery, I could watch The Crown or something like that. So I might do that. We’ll see. If the pandemic weren’t the pandemic, I’d be off to the closest store with stationery and journals and notecards that I don’t really have a use for but love. Anyway, let me know what you do this week.

And I recommend doing the rest of the tasks, because you might surprise yourself what you dig up. I have been in the past, and that’s always been useful. I will be doing them again, and my answers now will be quite different from those I wrote 20 years ago.

I should also say here that I’ve posted the past few episodes over at Freethinking Ahead, which is my blog over at Freethought Blogs. I’ll put a link in the show notes. I’m thinking that’s going to be the best place for comments and questions, since I have transcripts up there as well.

So that’s it for our week one preview. Feel free to comment [below] over at my Freethinking Ahead. I’ll include that in the show notes as well.

And now, for a recommendation. For me, as a poetry reader, I’m looking for books that leave me with the sense of awe that you’re left with when you read a book that is both so well crafted and also speaks deeply on difficult and necessary subjects. Which is the case with A.J. Odasso’s The Sting of It, which was published in 2019 by Tolsun Books.

I’ll read the blurb: “THE STING OF IT is cradled in classical form and bubbles with luscious language from a bygone era. Fans of Spenser and Donne will find comfort here. But this formal order only just restrains the chaos from Odasso’s own body and past. Their explosive and candid revelations make us aware of our beautiful, mortal grit. Odasso’s ferocious imagery within measured verse reminds us that life is mysterious, painful, and fantastic.”

I highly recommend this book, and a link will be in the show notes [above].

So that’s it from me today. If you have any questions about creativity you’d like me to address, feel free to send me an email, info@tdwalker.net. Or post a comment over at my blog, freethoughtblogs.com/freethinkingahead

Thanks for listening to Creativity for Skeptics. For more information about the show or to listen to past episodes, go to creativityforskeptics.com. We’ll talk creativity again soon.

Creativity . . . without the woo

As part of the December 5th Winterfest, I’ll be talking creativity without the woo along with fellow bloggers from The Bolingbrook Babbler and From the Ashes of Faith.  And speaking of the Ashes blog, check out Megan Rahm’s new collection: “My poetry book is now available for pre-order on Amazon“!

The talk will be posted on my shiny new YouTube channel, which is also Freethinking Ahead.  There’s a quick intro post in which I introduce myself, talk briefly about creativity without the woo, flash a bunch of books on the screen (mine and others’), and geek out a bit about poetry, radio, and poetry on the radio.   Also, I really need to figure out the “blue light on the glasses” thing.

If you have any questions about fostering your creativity without relying on the magical thinking so many guides frame it in, please leave a comment here, over at YouTube, or send me an email at info@tdwalker.net.  And stay tuned for the talk on December 5th!

FtB Fundraiser: Creativity Coaching Session Auction

As part of FtB’s September fundraising efforts, I’m auctioning off a half-hour creative coaching session via Zoom. What’s that, you might ask? Here’s the idea: if you’re having trouble with a creative issue, say determining your short- and long-term creative goals, finding more time to work on your projects, or figuring out which projects you want to work on, I’m here to help.

Okay, that sounds good. But who are you, you might also ask?

Hi, I’m T.D. Walker. And I’ve had a lot of creative problems. Problems like, oh, determining my short- and long-term creative goals, finding time to write, and figuring out which projects I want to work on. And even bigger ones, like not writing poetry, my main genre, for eight years…. So, I’ve been there, and I’ve done that. What helped me get past my blocks was taking a long, hard look at my free time, getting together with other writers to talk craft, and figuring out ways to bribe encourage myself to sit down and write. Which worked, I’m happy to report.  Talking about ways to make things work with other creatives was a big part of that.

Here’s what I’ve done, in third person, as you do:

T.D. Walker is the author of the poetry collections Small Waiting Objects (CW Books 2019) and Maps of a Hollowed World (Another New Calligraphy 2020). Her science fiction poems and stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Apricity, The Future Fire, Web Conjunctions,The Cascadia Subduction Zone, Abyss & Apex, Kaleidotrope, and elsewhere.  She curates Short Waves / Short Poems. After completing graduate work in English Literature, Walker began her career as a software developer.  She draws on both her grounding in literary studies and her experience as a computer programmer in writing poetry and fiction.

So that’s me.

Basically, I’m open to helping you with anything in the realm of solving creative issues. That said, I can’t, for multiple reasons, critique your writing or other creative work, tell you whether I think your book/painting/taxidermy armadillo will sell, or participate in anything unethical or illegal. But if you’re a creative of any sort and you’d like to talk out a challenge you’re facing with an objective third party, I’m here!

If you’re interested in chatting with a published author about anything creative, you can put in a bid in the comments.  Or you can place an anonymous bid by emailing me at info@tdwalker.net. The winner will be the highest bid as of Sunday September 27th at 11:59pm CST.  (That’s Monday, September 28th 4:59am UTC.)  The winning bidder will submit payment to FtB’s PayPal account and then contact me to set up the session.

Please note: I have set a minimum bid of $30, which is pretty good for this type of thing. Plus, it’s for a good cause!  Have any questions?  Please feel free to contact me or leave a note in the comment.  Thanks!

Interviews, Book Signing, and Talk Notes

Well, folks, it’s been a while.  And when you have limited time and energy, you have to drop some things.  Which meant I haven’t blogged here in months.  That said, this fall is looking more generous as far as blogging time goes, so I hope to be back at it regularly in September.

The Wait is Over for Small Waiting Objects

In the meantime, my book launched.  Here’s a description of Small Waiting Objects, my debut poetry collection:
Cover of Small Waiting Objects by T.D. Walker

In the near future, kitchen appliances question, console, and bewilder their owners. Extraterrestrials leave behind sub-dermal implants and complicated daughters. A second moon settles into orbit around Earth, a moon which challenges those beneath it to see it, to name it, to explore it. And crew members aboard starships turn to fine and pulp art as consolation. The lyric poems in Small Waiting Objects reach back to feminist utopias and onward toward possible futures in which we find ourselves resisting the technologies—and their human implications—that we most desire.

For more information, check out my website. The book is available from IndieBoundAmazon, and Barnes & Noble. Or for a signed copy, drop by Half Price Books in Dallas on Sunday, July 7th.  I’ll post more events as they’re scheduled.

Speculative Poet Q&As

I’ve been interviewing science fiction and fantasy poets in a new venue, Luna Station QuarterlyI’ll link to the interviews as they are posted.  Here’s June’s post, an interview with Jessica Rae Bergamino about her book, UNMANNED.  In this collection, Bergamino gives voice to the two Voyager spacecraft in poems that challenge how we see the universe and how we see ourselves.

Creativity Talk

In November, I gave a talk at the Fellowship of Freethought gathering on the need for skepticism in creative practice.  No video on this to share, but I’ll post my notes on this soon.

This fall, I plan on writing more on how my worldview affects my creative endeavors (along with more Texas politics), and if I can wrangle some interviews with secular humanist creative folks, I’ll post those here.

In the meantime, is your creativity affected by your secular viewpoint?  If so, how?  And are there writers you’d like to suggest for interviews on Freethinking Ahead?


Monday Miscellany: 24 September 2018

A few links of interest from around the web:

A Quick State of the Blog Update: Politics, Book News, and a Poem

It’s been a while since my last post, and I wanted to let you all know that I’m still here, but I’ve had a number of (mostly good) things keeping me from blogging much lately.  When you have maybe an hour of free time on any given day, and you’re trying to squeeze in calling senators, writing postcards to elected officials, attending postcard parties and other election-related activities, all while trying to keep up with writing poetry and fiction, you drop some things.

And this blog, unfortunately, has been the thing I’ve dropped from my to do list most often of late.

So, what have I been up to?  Writing, manuscript prep, and marketing.  Which means I’ve been working on a second collection of poems while submitting poems, a novella, and multiple short stories to publishers on top of all that goes into heading toward the publication of my debut collection of poems, which will be out next summer.  (Want to know more?  I have a mailing list!)  Also, I have a science fiction poem out at Strange Horizons today.  It’s about alien implants.  So there’s that.

I’m also working on separating out my more personal, writing-related posts from the sort of posts I had envisioned for Freethinking Ahead.  In the next month or so, I’ll be blogging here about some responsibilities of secular humanists who create any sort of art or craft, though most of my examples will be from poetry or fiction.  I’ll be giving a talk at the November Fellowship of Freethought Gathering on this topic, and my posts will work up to that presentation.

Over at my website, I’ll be blogging about writing, writing groups as procrastination, research as procrastination, procrastination as research, and the like.  The first post is, of course, about procrastination: “Listening in the Distance: Or, Research and the Radio.”  (Okay, I know, I said I have limited time, and I’m listening to the radio.  That said, my listening-to-the-radio time is also time when I’m not quite energetic enough to string together decent sentences….)

And side note: the Q&A series with speculative poets is currently on hiatus, but it will be back soon.  I’ll post more about this shortly.

Lastly, thank you.  If you’ve just started reading my posts or if you’ve been reading them for a while, thank you.  And if you’re up for sharing your thoughts on the subject, I’d be happy to hear more about what you’re interested in from Freethinking Ahead.

Speculative Poets in Conversation: Holly Lyn Walrath

The Speculative Poets in Conversation Series features interviews with writers of science fiction and fantasy poetry about how their work addresses social justice issues. For the fourth post in the series, I spoke with poet Holly Lyn Walrath about her 2018 chapbook Glimmerglass Girl, published by Finishing Line Press.

Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry and short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Luna Station Quarterly, Liminality, and elsewhere. Her chapbook of words and images, Glimmerglass Girl, will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Texas and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. She is a freelance editor and host of The Weird Circular, an e-newsletter for writers containing submission calls and writing prompts. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath or at www.hlwalrath.com.

Freethinking Ahead: In the introduction to Glimmerglass Girl, you note that the collection “is a fantastical account of womanhood [….] that draws upon my personal experience.” Readers encounter in the poems the mundane details of a present-day life, which are punctuated by references to other-worldly places and beings, such as in “Espejitos,” “Self-Portrait through an iPhone,” “I am Going to Find the Unicorn,” and others. Do you see womanhood as a sort of balancing the otherness of the fantastic with the ordinary of the mundane world?
Cover of Glimmerglass Girl

Holly Lyn Walrath: I’m very interested in the speculative writing of contemporary women authors, which in my opinion re-evaluates how women approach our bodies. Historically, the woman-as-fantastic tradition in fairy tales and fiction has been written by men. We’ve only just begun to challenge the so-called ideals of what it means to be a woman. The fantastic is one way to do this—to embrace the othering of women’s bodies and make it our own language.

FTA: Many of the poems in this collection have references to or are evocative of Texas, such as “I Want to be a Grackle, I Want to Caw,” “Blue Cadillac,” and “Premise of the Heart.” How does this sense of place affect your creative process? And since Texas can be a complicated place for women, given its politics and culture, how do you see place as a part of your aim to depict womanhood?

HLW: I was born in Texas and have lived here for most of my life. The beauty of Texas and its conglomeration of cultures are definitely a part of me. I currently live in southeast Houston near all the oil and gas refineries, so those landscapes get into my work unconsciously. As much as I acknowledge that I’m a southern girl who loves country music and fried chicken, I also struggle with the politics of Texas. The lack of access to healthcare and alarming rate of maternal mortality rates reinforce this idea of women’s bodies being othered. There’s still a lot of shame in this state about womanhood, gender, and mothering. I grew up Baptist and I see the harm that can come from the church in regards to women’s identities. But there’s a lot of strength in southern women. “Blue Cadillac,” is an homage to my grandmother, who wore white gloves to church and was as outspoken as a matriarch can get. I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing about this place I call home, because Texas is a complex, beautiful, gritty, difficult, and kaleidoscopic state.

FTA: In “I Swallowed the Moon,” personal details show the moon as an object readily consumed by the speaker of the poem as a medium for her imagination, then later as something “haunting” and outside the known. When the speaker at last consumes the moon whole, she has “doomed the world.”

I read this poem first in a literal, speculative mode–a woman dooms the world by consuming this symbol of feminism when using it as a medium for creation no longer satisfies her appetite–and on rereading as a metaphorical exploration of the dangers of consuming myths and their implications. How do you approach myths and fairy tales, especially the “unfulfilled fairytales” of “Behind the Glass,” as both source material to be consumed and to be wary of?

Holly Lyn WalrathHLW: For me, fairy tales began with Disney. I grew up in the generation that knew the golden age of Disney as not just something to be consumed but as a kind of religion. We lived, breathed, and ate (in the form of kid’s cereal and snacks) Disney. However, as much as I love them, those stories are being reexamined today for their implications. Women were taught to be princesses, not queens—damsels in distress, not heroes. But when we grow up, we realize those stories set false expectations. I’m in love with the new Disney stories like Moana, Rogue One, A Wrinkle in Time, Brave, and The Incredibles because they give girls new options. We’re redefining what a fairy tale means and where women stand in the narrative.

FTA: Can you recommend a couple speculative poetry collections that share the same themes as yours? And are there Texas poets you’d like to recommend to the readers of Freethinking Ahead?

HLW: I love the work of another Finishing Line Press poet and Houstonian, Saba Syed Razvi. Check out her 2017 book, Heliophobia, nominated for an Elgin award. Other poets who inspire my work are Rose Lemberg (Marginalia to Stone Bird, Aqueduct Press, 2016) and Kayla Bashe (Glitter Blood, 2017).

The Speculative Poetic Justice Series: An Introduction and FAQ

The second speculative poetry project I’m launching for National Poetry Month here at Freethinking Ahead is the Speculative Poetic Justice Series.

What is Freethinking Ahead’s Speculative Poetic Justice series?

The Speculative Poetic Justice series takes a cue from John Scalzi’s “The Big Idea” and Mary Robinette Kowal’s “My Favorite Bit” and adds a twist. Posts in this series will feature poets on the social justice elements of their work.

The goals here are to:

  • showcase upcoming and available speculative poetry collections,
  • curate a searchable list of speculative poetry collections to highlight authors, and, similarly,
  • create a hub for featuring presses and magazines that feature speculative poetry.

I’m also always on the lookout for poets and editors to interview for Speculative Poets in Conversation, and I anticipate an overlap in these series.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone who has a book-length work that contains speculative poetry (i.e., science fiction, fantasy, slip-stream, horror, weird, etc.) can request to participate. Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Full-length and chapbook-length works that are currently in print or forthcoming in the next three months.
  • Books published by a press not owned or operated by the author. I am not accepting self-published works at present. (If you work for the press that published your book, however, I may make exceptions, depending on the history of the press; just send a quick query to the email address below.)
  • Single-author and multiple-author books as well as anthologies or special theme issues of magazines.

Collections of multiple genres–short stories, poems, essays, etc.–are eligible, as long as the included poems touch on social justice issues.

Please do not send collections that contain graphic and/or needless violence, especially graphic sexual violence, and especially violence against children or animals. I’m not a horror reader for a reason, y’all. The topic is not off the table, of course, since poems that decry war, crimes, etc. are powerful statements against these things. But there’s a vast difference between useful mention of horror and gore for its own sake.

What Do Authors/Editors Need to Submit?

Just send an email to info at tdwalker dot net with the subject Speculative Poetic Justice Series Query: [Title], [Author] and include the following:

  • A brief (250-1000 word) post on the social justice elements of your poems (i.e., How does your poetry address concerns about representation of women? How do the speakers of the poems work against type? Etc.)
  • A brief bio (no more than 150 words)
  • An ARC (ebook in .mobi format or a print copy). If you plan to send a print copy, just let me know in your email. I’ll reply back with a mailing address.
  • An image of the work’s cover.
  • Any social media links and websites for the author/editor and for the press (as applicable).
  • If your book is forthcoming, please include the release date.  If it’s already available, please indicate this.

Please note that submission to this series does not guarantee that your book will be featured on the blog.

When Will the Posts Appear?

Speculative Poetic Justice series posts will appear on all Wednesdays of the month that I have content available, except for the first Wednesday of the month. These Wednesdays are reserved for the monthly Speculative Poets in Conversation posts.

In your email, let me know if you’d like a particular date, and I’ll try to accommodate your request as I can.

Where Do I Get More Information?

Just send me a message at info at tdwalker dot net if you have any questions.