'Literary' Poetry

Joanne Merriam is the editor of 7×20 and Upper Rubber Boot Books, and her poetry has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Scifaikuest and Strange Horizons as well as literary markets like Cordite, The Fiddlehead, Room of One’s Own and Stand.

I started Upper Rubber Boot Books to publish those voices working on the interstices of the genres currently known as “speculative” and “literary,” since I’m against a too-slavish devotion to genre distinctions. Some of the most interesting cross-genre work is being done in poetry, to almost no fanfare, and deserves more attention.

You can find wonderful speculative poetry in SF/F/H genre publications (The Magazine of Speculative Poetry and Strange Horizons publish particularly fine work), and more and more literary markets are publishing speculative poetry, sometimes explicitly (Rattle is currently calling for SF Poetry for a theme issue) but more usually only if not labeled as such (The Gettysburg Review’s submission guidelines are typical of the distinction being made, when they state, “We do not publish genre… but are certainly not opposed to considering work that self-consciously employs the tropes of formulaic writing for more sophisticated literary ends.”). When Tin House publishes a “science” issue with poems like Jared Harel’s “My Body Double Goes to the Home Depot,” the general literary community doesn’t see this as related in any way to genre writing, but nonetheless it clearly is, and the speculative writing community can benefit from the larger audience this brings.

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