My poem “Form Factor” has been nominated for a Rhysling Award

My poem “Form Factor”, first published in the Cat People issue of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s online journal Eye to the Telescope, has been nominated for the 2021 Rhysling Awards for science fiction, fantasy and horror poetry alongside many other fine poems.

Cat lying on a concrete deck in the shadow of a fruit salad plant

Form Factor

I downloaded myself into this shape
to be free. Now it consumes me.
So strange to dream of skin

and wake in fur. Curled, unfurling.
Once I knew things, useful things.
How to press those little keys,

how to open cans. I mourn
my thumbs: blunt instruments
that fed and housed me once.

Necessity reduces me. I hunt,
must hunt, my body weight
diminishing. Mouse, bird. Focus,

sharpen, ignore his murmurings.
He comes to me in dreams, begging
to be poured into his fur-free form –

but nothing he says can make me care.
Through sunlit hours I sleep, save energy,
twitch distracting thoughts away. At sunset

my hackles, rising, remember him.
You could have chosen any form,
you fool, yet you chose mine.

The brief for the Cat People issue was poems about people becoming cats / people who are also cats. It produced some really good poems, and I was delighted the editor included my poem in this issue.

Tuesday Poetry News: Eye To The Telescope 2 Published: Robots, Time Machines, Aliens, And Joe Dolce

This isn’t, in all conscience, a Tuesday Poem, but it does contain several Tuesday Poets: Issue 2 of Eye To the Telescope, which I edited, has now been published.

Eye To The Telescope is an online magazine recently established by the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and Issue 2 features speculative poetry (that is poetry, in the science fiction, fantasy, horror and associated genres) by Australian and New Zealand poets. The list of contents is:

Editor’s Introduction • Tim Jones
If this is the future … • Helen Rickerby
Born Inside Weather • Les Wicks
Another Wow! Signal • Stephen Oliver
then our mother flew unassisted • Raewyn Alexander
Before Science Stepped In • Rod Usher
Rapunzel • Mary Victoria
Bordertown • Grant Stone
A whimper after the bang • Emily Manger
Man in a wingsuit • Chris Lynch
Mechwarrior Sonnet • Toby Davidson
Radio Wave Propagation in the Roman Warm Period • Catherine Fitchett
Nocturne • Peter Friend
mind sings of mer • Sandi Sartorelli
Yayoi Kusama goes to Iceland • Janis Freegard
In the third poem I am being killed by a water lizard • Cy Mathews
Don’t Shoot the Robot • David Reiter
The Trouble With Time Machines • Alicia Ponder
Extermiknit • Laurice Gilbert
Dhiy uvenjing goest • Tom Clark
Aliens • Joe Dolce

and you can read the introduction, the poems and the contributor bios (which cover Issue 1 as well as Issue 2). You can also keep an eye out for the submission guidelines for future issues.

Here is the press release I sent out about this issue. I hope you enjoy these twenty poems!

Robots, Time Machines, Aliens, And Joe Dolce

When the Science Fiction Poetry Association asked New Zealand poet, author and anthologist Tim Jones to edit an issue of their online magazine “Eye To The Telescope” featuring Australian New Zealand speculative poetry, he didn’t expect to receive a submission from the singer-songwriter behind 1980s hit song “Shaddap You Face” – and he didn’t expect to like it enough to include it in the issue, now online at

“Shaddap You Face” was an Italian-themed novelty song that was absolutely inescapable in the early 1980s. ‘All I knew of Joe Dolce was that he wrote that one song,’ says Tim Jones. ‘What I didn’t know is that he’s also a fine poet, with work published in many of Australia’s leading literary journals. His poem “Aliens” makes a great concluding poem for this issue.’

Speculative poetry covers poetry that fits within the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres, plus other associated genres like magic realism and surrealism. ‘It was really tough to choose only 20 poems from the much larger number of poems I’d like to have published,’ says Tim Jones, ‘but I’m happy to have included such a range of genres and styles.’

The first poem, Helen Rickerby’s “If this is the future….”, uses science fiction as a beautifully delicate metaphor, but there’s also such hard-out science fiction poems as Chris Lynch’s “Man in a wingsuit”. There is apocalyptic menace in Grant Stone’s “Bordertown” and Emily Manger’s “A whimper after the bang”, in contrast to the wry humour of Laurice Gilbert’s “Exterminiknit”.

‘One of the things I’m most pleased about is that this issue brings together well-regarded poets, like Janis Freegard, Stephen Oliver and David Reiter, with authors best known for their fiction, like Mary Victoria and Peter Friend, both of whom contributed poems on fantasy themes, and Spanish-domiciled Australian writer Rod Usher,’ Tim Jones commented. ‘There’s surrealism, a sonnet, and one dialect poem that reminds me of Russell Hoban’s great novel “Riddley Walker”.’

Whether you love poetry, you love SF, fantasy, and horror, or you just want to find out what on earth speculative poetry is, there is something for you in “Eye To The Telescope 2”.

Today Is Deadline Day

A quick reminder, folks: today is the final day to submit poems to “Eye to the Telescope 2”, the online anthology of speculative poetry from New Zealand and Australian poets that I’m editing. Submissions close at midnight today, New Zealand time.

I’m looking forward to reading all the submissions once the deadline has passed – if you want to make sure yours is among them, check out the first issue of Eye to the Telescope and the submission guidelines.

Tuesday Poem: The Stars, Natasha

Natasha, fundamentals are strong,
key indicators steady.
Leave your books, Natasha,
let your computer
draw patterns on its screen.

Walk with me through the heavens.
Along cold orbits
the spendthrift stars
squander their assets on light.
The World Bank

is unamused; the IMF
is noting down their names.
So take my hand
let’s drift away
into the cosmic background.

Credit note: This poem, included in my first poetry collection Boat People, was republished in Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, edited by Mark Pirie and Tim Jones (Interactive Press, 2009).

Tim says: With eight days to go until submissions close for my latest venture in speculative poetry, I thought I’d post a speculative poem of my own. It was written when World Bank- and IMF-inspired economic “reforms” were devastating the post-Soviet Russian economy, and laying the groundwork for the kleptocracy that runs Russia today.

Nevertheless, it’s more of a love poem than anything else…

You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog – the featured poem is on the centre of the page, and the week’s other poems are linked from the right-hand column.