A Great Review For “The Stars Like Sand” in the Sydney Morning Herald

The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, the anthology I co-edited with P. S. Cottier, has just received a great review in the Sydney Morning Herald:


The reviewer, Peter Pierce, describes the anthology as “One of the most enterprising, unusual and rewarding anthologies of the past year” and goes on to say:

The Stars Like Sand shows us, in the work of the more than 80 poets included, much of that illimitable dark, as well as the flights of fancy and hope that can give brief and brilliant illumination. Seek out this book – admirable, and one of a kind.

As you may imagine, I am very pleased with such a glowing review in a major newspaper!

If you’d like to buy a copy of The Stars Like Sand, you have several options. You can buy it (the links work fine):

– from the publisher (paperback and ebook): https://ipoz.biz/ipstore/index.php…

– from Amazon.com: (paperback and ebook) http://www.amazon.com/Stars-Like-Sand-Australian-Specula…/…/

– from Amazon.com.au (ebook): http://www.amazon.com.au/Stars-Like-Sand-Australian-Spec…/…/

(New Zealanders, if you’d like a copy and are having trouble getting one, please contact me: senjmito at gmail dot com)

Try it – I think you’ll like it!

The February Issue Of Flash Frontier Is Up – And I’m Guest-Editing The April Issue

Flash Frontier is an excellent New Zealand-based online journal of flash fiction. The February issue is now online, full of good fiction such as lead story “The Ear of Dionysus” by Rachel J. Fenton.

Each issue of Flash Frontier has a theme. The theme of the February issue is “whispers”.

I’m happy to say that I’m guest-editing the April issue. The theme for this issue is “iron”, which you can interpret as you wish. I encourage you to submit. Please check out the submission guidelines, and follow them carefully – in particular, there is a strict word limit of 250 words!

This issue is open to international as well as New Zealand writers, and all genres of fiction are welcome. The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2015. I’m looking forward to reading your submissions.

While we’re talking flash fiction, you might also like to check out National Flash Fiction Day 2015 and its associated competition. You get a whole 300 words for that one!

Tuesday Poem: Fitting, by Rhian Gallagher

January: the month of doorways and weddings I think
as I lug the monitor up the stairwell, moving in.
The dressmaker down the corridor snowed under with work
and news from England, Stephen to marry Marco.

In a daze of beginning I set the monitor down
and try to fathom why some plugs are working in some sockets
and not in others. I started from here,
this town where column space goes
to Mr Gunther, Mr Smith, Mr Anderson
barking in prose on bestiality
… dirty foul acts … society in the last stages ….

The building angled where two streets converge
gives the makeshift office a nose, the prow of ship,
scopes a view from the bay to the Alps and back.

With all the space comes scale, somehow I am in it.
The camp table tilts with weight as if the dogmas
come in waves. The current flows and breaks.

Credit note: “Fitting” is from Rhian Gallagher’s collection Shift (Auckland University Press, 2011) and is reproduced by permission of the author. Shift is available from Auckland University Press in print and ebook formats.

Tim says: There are many excellent poems in this collection, but I chose “Fitting” because it’s elegantly written, because it captures an experience I can well relate to, and because of both its surface and deeper content. True to the title of the collection, it’s about shifting, moving in, and captures the strangeness and anxiety of the process; but there is also the deeper anxiety of returning to a place where Messrs Gunther, Smith and Anderson hold sway, a place that feels strange and far from safe.

The Tuesday Poem: Is going strong in 2015 – check out this week’s hub poem by Sugar Magnolia Wilson, chosen by Helen Rickerby, and all the poems and poets linked from the sidebar.

Long Story Short: It’s Novelette Time

Well, what in tarnation is a novelette? According to Wikipedia, and from my dim memory of SF awards story length classification systems, it’s a long short story – or short novella – of between 7,500 and 17,500 words. And I’ve gone and written one, and called it “Landfall”, and I’m very pleased to say that it’s been accepted for publication in Paper Road Press’s first Shortcuts series: the fifth-named of six novellas/novelettes to be included in the series.

Paper Road Press is a relatively new publisher, but I’m impressed by the range of work they are producing – from novels to a range of shorter works. Writers and readers alike should keep an eye out for them!

Tuesday Poem: Icicles, by Barry Smith

In the mountain’s mouth
a prison with bars of ice
these flutes filled
with vodka and sky
bubbles of silence within
released by a single blow
music of stars sent
to the valley below.

Credit note: “Icicles” is from Barry Smith’s collection Always a little further… Poems of mountains and valleys (2004) and is reproduced by permission of the author and publisher.

Tim says: I picked up this collection of Barry’s poems at the Hawke’s Bay Poetry Conference in 2013, and read it late last year. The subtitle very accurately describes the content, and I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy a whole collection that sticks to these two topics – but these are very well-written and evocative poems, and I enjoyed it a lot. “Icicles” is one of the shortest poems in the book; I especially like the elegance of its construction and the way it brings together scientific precision and metaphor.

About Barry Smith: Barry Smith loves telling yarns and writing both prose and poetry. He is a retired scientist with an interest in printmaking and the outdoors. He has spent much time outdoors tramping and trying to get to the tops of mountains. These days especially, he is interested in environmental issues. He writes poetry and has had his work published and included in anthologised collections.

His most recent collection Hard Scrabble was self-published via Blurb and can be seen in preview or purchased at Blurb. There are choices of ebook, soft cover or hard cover ranging from US$5-20. At the same site a couple of his other books can be perused. He also writes a blog called Pukawaparadise in which he writes about numerous subjects – including poetry.

“Icicles” is from his first collection of poems Always a Little Further – mainly poems about mountains and valleys. Obtainable from the author at blchsmiths@gmail.com for NZ$20 including postage.

The Tuesday Poem: Has been back up and running for a couple of weeks, and this week’s poem is “Like a Butterfly” by Jennifer Compton.