I recently submitted about 5 new short poems to Scifaikufest. They've published some of my little bitty poems in the past. Out of the ones I sent, they accepted "ode to mars" and "future california; death comes to silicon valley" for publication in their November 2022 issue. That's generally how long it takes to see a your work published by them. It's a popular zine for short science fiction and fantasy poets, so they fill up issues quickly and move on to the next...and then the next...etc.
"ode to mars" is a 7-7-7 poem, a poetry form I invented. "future california: death comes to silicon valley" is in another poetry form I invented, the octain.
The 7-7-7 form came about when I was first trying to write haiku, a form that is strict in syllable count and topic. It's three lines, generally, with the syllable count for each line being 5-7-5. In the beginning, it would frustrate me to not be able to make those exact syllable counts, so I ended up with a lot of poems that were not perfect in form. I began to notice that a few of them had line counts of 7-7-7, or seven syllables each line. I thought instead of that being a bad thing, to turn it into a good thing, since seven is viewed as a lucky number by some folks. So, my 7-7-7 poetry form was born. I've since stopped giving so much of a shit about my syllable counts for haiku and senryu (haiku's little sister that's about human stuff instead of about nature stuff, like haiku are supposed to be). I now call my uneven haiku and senryu "rogues" and leave it at that. I've even written a "reverse" haiku or two, where the syllable counts are 7-5-7. Whatever. Poetry should be fun, Basho!
The octain is a form I set out to create. I wanted to do something strict in syllable count, with a volta (a change in the tone of the poem around the middle of a poem), and one based on mathematics, sort of like the fibonacci poem. So you could say my octain form was born from the fibonacci. I decided the poem should be eight lines. The first line would be the subject of the poem and the last line would be the opposite of the subject. The mathematical syllabic scheme would be based in multiplication for the first 4 lines, then division for the last 4. Example. If the first line has two-syllables, the second line would have four, the third six, the fourth eight. Then around the fifth line is where the "volta" or change in tone should occur, leading the reader to the conclusion, the opposite of what we started with, and counting down in syllables again. The fifth line will repeat eight syllables, then the countdown to the final line which will have two syllables. So the syllablic scheme for a poem that starts with two syllables would be 2-4-6-8-8-6-4-2. I am very rigid in this form. This works best when you keep the first line syllable count to under 3. I've done 4, but it's hard. Very hard. See an example of one of my first octain's below, "the open and close."
That's my news on that. I'll publish the article I wrote on the octain in my upcoming poetry e-book.
Now for the not-so good news. I blogged in December 2020 that I was going to have three poems published in March or so of 2021 with a Pakastani publisher Paper Djinn Press in an anthology called Lyric. Alas, March 2021 came and went. As did the following months until now. We got a email that they were behind, but then the information stopped. About a week ago, I got an email from the American editor who said he had lost touch with the publishers as well, and they might have gone belly up as they were having financial woes. Hey, it's happened to more than one good independent publisher in the wake of Covid. So, I will be trying to put my poems "Red," "under the robotic umbrella in the rain," and Musical Thought Drones Are Here to Assassinate You Again Today" back out on the market again soon.
I also have a new short thing in the works. It's likely to be longer than a short story, but not quite a novel. It's a story about what happens to government workers when they've gone too far afoul of the company, and the gov just can't kill them (they may need information from them later). It's called "So Lonesome I Could Cry" and I'm digging into the research on it now, which involves watching a lot of weird TV shows made by a production company called Small Town Monsters and reading a lot of weird books and websites, and listening to a lot of podcasts involving high strangeness of all kinds, including the podcast by SMT. So, needless to say, the "woo" in me is having a lot of fun!
Other than these things, I'm working on editing for others and myself. For myself, I'm working on finishing up my first collection of published speculative fiction and poetry, called Four & Twenty Blackbirds. I've also started to put together a collection of short poetry to publish in an e-book, I'll begin that project soon too.
Well, that's me all caught up now.
a breath to start
a going forward stance
moment of something new and great
nevertheless succumbs to fate
missteps halting the dance
stopping the heart
~m.x. kelly, 2018