On Creating New Markets

29 07 2009

At least once a year for the last decade of my life I wake up one morning with a burning desire to start my own SF poetry magazine.  It’s not that I have any problem with the outlets that are currently available, the ones that I’ve seen are very well done and clearly reflect the dedication of the people who put them together and make them available.  Most times I’m able to shrug the notion off and get on with my life, but on occasion it will refuse to slink back to the dark corner of my mind where it resides.

The recent debate and discussion regarding SFPA and Star*Line has brought the issue forward for me again, and I’m in the process of unpacking the idea and examining it a little further.  That the SFPA is comprised of many different kinds of poets, with many different poetic voices–and that all of those voices deserve to be heard–is pretty much axiomatic.  I don’t know that changing the name of the organization really solves anything, but luckily it is an issue that can be put to a vote, and the members can decide among themselves.

It seems far more likely that what certain elements of this community want is a philosophical change in the organization; the name issue is merely symptomatic of that.  It brings us to the crux of the issue, which is Star*Line, not the SFPA.  Star*Line is prime real estate in our poetic community.  It is the organ of the SFPA, and it has the largest poetry-reading audience.  I can hardly fault the fantasy poets (or the horror poets, or the interstitial poets, or the sword-and-sorcery poets, or the post-modern neomythicist poets, or) for wanting more access to that audience, if not all of it.

I do think that if this philosophical change is to proceed, it should proceed completely.  If the SFPA is to be renamed so that the organization seems to be more "inclusive," then I think that Star*Line should be renamed for the same reason as it is inextricably linked to SFPA.  If that were to happen, I think I would join and support that organization.  It would be representative of all the genres, and its magazine would (supposedly) present a fair sampling of each.

But then of course there’s this vacuum, this undetermined number of poets who write and like to read science and science fiction poetry, without having to wade through goblin hordes and thick clouds of surrealistic Zen pontification to get to it.  Which brings me back to my original point.

I would love a poetry magazine, or website, devoted entirely to science and science fiction poetry–several of them if we can manage it.  That’s my genre.  That’s what I write, and that’s what I like to read.  As "together" and as "inclusive" as we all supposedly have to be, I still find it enjoyable to spend time with people who–for the most part–occupy the same "head-space" that I do.

I don’t see anything wrong with that.

I think I’m gonna work on that.




One response

31 07 2009

For me it’s not a matter of being “together” with and “inclusive” of other people; one major reason I want to see SFPA include the full range of specpo is because I don’t want to have to subdivide my head. The stuff I write, and read, has never been all within any one category, and I don’t expect it to fall into one neat bin any time soon.

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