Dr. Kvetch (rose_lemberg) wrote in spec_poetry,
Dr. Kvetch

SFPA debate: the digest

I hope you don't mind me posting this digest, I hope that people coming late to the discussion could benefit from it.
  • Speculative poet J. C. Runolfson ([info]seajules ) posts a review of Star*line, which sparkled a lively discussion on a number of topics, including SFPA's name, nature of SFPA membership base, editorial choices for Star*line, and cultural appropriation in poetry. This is a very large discussion with 162 comments to date.

  • SFPA president Deborah Kolodji ([info]dkolodji ) posts on "Plans", touching on such issues as changing SFPA's name, and a possibility of a Speculative poetry convention. In comments, seajules  is contemplating possible changes in Star*line and a possible editing gig.

Star*Line is and should remain a science and science fiction poetry magazine, if for no other reason than to respect its founder.  Same for the SFPA
If somebody wants to go start the mythic and folkloric-based poetry and horror poetry association (MAFBPAHPA), go for it.  Don't try to remake SFPA, or Star*Line, into something that it is not, nor was ever intended to be.

Check out  responses in comments (there are 18 comments at the time of writing).

[Scott Kelly represents] an opinion within the SFPA, which is that the SF people are and should be privileged within it. I'd very much like to know whether this is a majority opinion. If it is, I have no place in SFPA."

Some very interesting discussion here; 33 comments at the time of writing.
  • Mike Allen ([info]time_shark ) posts on the history of SFPA, noting that fantasy (and other non-SFnal) poetry has been published, accepted and acknowledged through  the Rhysling Awards  since 1979  (crossposted to spec_poetry):
There is a grain of truth to what [info]sa_kelly says. That grain is that when [info]ozarque founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association, she imagined establishing a new poetry form, based on an official definition of a "science fiction poem." That definition essentially runs like this: the poem must be about a reality other than our own, and contain narrative elements and some element of science. But, when she tried to proceed with that as the center of SFPA's mission, she immediately ran into the exact same issue now under discussion.

Our membership as well as the field has expanded -- we have members who write only sf, only mythpunk, only scifiku, only fairy-tale retellings, and those who (like myself) write any combination of work that may be defined as speculative. Not to acknowledge this would be, for the organization, suicidal.

I hope I remembered everything, if not please comment and I will add it to the digest.

ETA: Sunday.
"I do not want the SFPA to be an organization for SF poets only. I want it to be a vibrant community of poets who celebrate a combined interest in fantastical poetry of all types"

Deborah adds,
I think discussion is healthy because it means the members care about this organization as much as I do. In the brief bursts of online time I will have in the next few weeks, I will try to check in and see how it's going.
"I'm disappointed, though, at this "us against them" mentality.  I'm disappointed that one SF poet's opinion can throw a certain segment of the speculative poetry community into a berserk rage. "
In this context, telling people to go do their own thing elsewhere amounts to attempted destruction of community.
I don't by any means think the debate going on is "hysterical," and I've got to tell you I find that a very triggery, loaded word. Without a ascribing this motivation to you, it's been used historically to downplay the concerns and responses of women.
Because we are stronger together than apart, I would really urge members to be tolerant of opposing viewpoints within the SFPA. I do not want fantasy poets to feel they do not belong and I do not want sf poets to feel that they are becoming increasingly marginalized.

AAAAND: MONDAY!!! Don't miss today's discussions; many excellent points are being raised.
Any post more focused on demeaning the character of someone making an argument with which you disagree, rather than focused on presenting an opposing argument, is not well-reasoned, is not level-headed, is not polite, is not diplomatic, is not merely an honest opinion or any other bullshit excuse anyone may attempt to hide behind.

I want you -- all of you, reading this, who love speculative poetry and enjoy discussing it but aren't members -- to join.
Because I don't want to form a separate organisation when our community is so small. I don't want to pit splinter-genre against splinter-genre. I don't want to spit in the face of the dozens of people I respect and admire by turning my back on the work they've done and the organisation they've been shaping for the last thirty years. I want to see new people joining, with new views and new opinions and a common love for poetry that is wildly, unapologetically imaginative. I want this organisation to have a name that contains science fiction poetry, rather than privileging it above others.

  • Speculative poet JoSelle Vanderhooft ([info]upstart_crow ) in SFPA Stuff staff shares her thoughts on name change, genre, Star*line and other matters:
I have never felt that SFPA or Star*Line doesn't represent me or the kind of poetry I do, even if much of what appears between its covers isn't the kind of poetry I write [...] But I don't want to see Star*Line or SFPA become irrelevant or no longer vital.

  • SFPA treasurer Samantha Henderson ([info]samhenderson ) calls for mutual  politeness and consideration in an articulate Request:
Some of these conversations are impassioned, which is unsurprising when people
feel strongly about an issue. Considering this, and considering that investment
and passion are better than indifference and uncaring, I am making the following

  • (former) Lone Star Stories editor Eric Marin ([info]ericmarin ) chimes in with a SFPAku:
poets' passions fire
the long-cold kiln of change--
multi-glazed grail bakes
 I cannot think of a single instance where fantasy authors en masse have risen up and demanded that the "S" be removed from SFWA or SFPA or any other organization claiming to represent all of us.
And yet every so often someone has to barge in and tell all of us fantasy writers to GTFO, so they can have their rocket club without us. Good grief, why? Who cares? Is SF such a delicate flower that it will bear no other genres before it? Where is the threat here? Why must an entire group of writers be expelled in order to keep an acronym sacred?

Folks, please help me by notifying me of any related entries I might be missing.

Also, since the SFPAnet discussion is conducted in a separate forum, I am not referencing it, although I am debating adding a separate digest. Thoughts?

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