2019 Rhysling Anthology edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Painting titled Outpost by Robert Frazier used as cover art for The 2019 Rhysling Anthology edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

The 2019 Rhysling Anthology: The best science fiction, fantasy & horror poetry of 2018 selected by the Science Fiction Poetry Association by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m still relatively new to speculative poetry, so reading the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association‘s (SFPA) annual Rhysling Anthology is a bit of chore. That is, I have a lot of “well, that’s not really my thing” moments punctuated by a few “oh, yes, this one!” that keeps me reading. I feel this year I was better prepared to read the anthology and more open to the poetry. I especially welcomed the dearth of werewolf poems; I like werewolves just fine, but for some inexplicable reason I have a bias against poems about werewolves, and perhaps shapeshifters in general. Sorry!

Lots of good poems this year, but when I read the poems I later selected while voting for the Rhysling Awards, they really leapt out at me and I love them fiercely. Without revealing my specific picks, I’m really fond of the poems by Beth Cato, Amal El-Mohtar, Mary Soon Lee, Christina Sng, and D. A. Xiaolin Spires, and there were poems by new-to-me poets that are among my top three choices in both the short and long categories.

Read speculative poetry! Join SFPA! I’m glad I did.

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