Thursday, February 3, 2011

Poetry Roundup: Strange Horizons January 2011

Cold War Champions: Bobby Fischer and Yuri Gagarin Descend to Earth by Mary A. Turzillo

Comparison between two different types of Cold War hero. A lot of overlap between the two, but the poem left me lukewarm. To much just factually stated, not quite enough resonance. And I admit, Fischer's death as a "descent to Earth" is underexplored, but a neat idea to compare with a space mission.

Merlin by Lorraine Schein

I quite like the rhythm and neat rhymes of this one. Merlin is obsessed with time and clocks and his lack of control and limited knowledge. A nice take on the character, and a nice poem.

The Skin Walker's Wife by Lisa M. Bradley

Whole poem is the course of a woman having sex with a random guy, and thinking of her body-stealing husband who she has trouble actually recognizing anyway, after he has been away getting a new body. Maybe she should stop spending her whole life waiting for him to come back to her again. A tad more graphic that it needs to be, but the supernatural, absent husband is an interesting, if obvious, metaphor for the more normal type of absent husband.

Dark Matter by Timons Esaias

Hatred, bigotry, authoritarianism, and blind adherence to tradition will always be with us, no matter how many times science or reason try to push them back. Told through the weirdly bigoted astronomy commentary of the narrator's great-uncle. Neat way to make an important observation.

Shoe by Robert Borski

The Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe thinks about how much she loves her children in the giant shoe that fell off a giant, perhaps in the vicinity of a beanstalk. Neat images making the nursery rhyme more grounded, but not a whole lot here.

Dark Matter and Merlin are the obvious standouts; I'd give the edge to Merlin as Best of Issue, but only by a hair. I have to say, this being my first time reading Strange Horizons' poetry, that it is MUCH stronger than the typical Asimov's issue. Here's to hoping that is a trend, not just an outlier.

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