So, uhhh, I appear to have won the 2020 Rhsyling Award for Best Short Poem.
This was my first year with a nominated poem and when I got my copy of the Rhsyling Anthology, I was struck by just how good the other poems were. While I loved mine a lot, I never honestly thought it stood a chance and was content to enjoy seeing my work in good company. When I first got the email letting me know I’d won, I actually gave it 24 hours before responding, so they had time to tell me it was a mixup, a mistake and take it back. They didn’t take it back.
The poem itself, “Taking, Keeping” was published last January in Apparition Lit’s Resistance issue and I’m still so pleased that this was where it got to make its appearance. Apparition is doing some really great stuff right now and is run by a wonderful team who I’ve been lucky enough to work with more than once. Their new Redemption issue is coming out soon, and you should definitely check it out!
So…yeah. Rhysling Award. That’s a square on my poet bingo card I never honestly thought I’d be able to check off.
Thanks to the SFPA for organising the award, for all those who voted for my work and to the team at Apparition Lit for giving it space to exist in the first place.
It’s been a hot minute, but I have a new poem out in Frozen Wavelets issue 3! “Eclipse” is a short shot of haetae imagery and my second published poem featuring haetae, because I love them and I’m never going to stop.
I’m going to join a lot of people in saying that it feels real weird right now to be talking about words and poetry, especially speculative poetry, with everything else going on. But sometimes all I can do is continue to make art.
Direct link to the poem here: https://frozenwavelets.com/issue-2-2/eclipse-by-jessica-jo-horowitz/
Okay. Okay okay okay. I’m only four? days late this time. Whatever. Time is an illusion, and lunch time doubly so.
I’m super excited to be rounding off the end of National Poetry Month with two new poems up at Anathema: Spec from the Margins. Along with publishing consistently amazing work (and I say that entirely without bias), Anathema’s goal is to showcase fiction and poetry exclusively from queer, BIPOC writers and that endears them to me greatly. This is the second time I’ve placed poetry with them and can say that their team is great to work with and they’re open to subs year round, so if you meet the criteria, I would encourage you to submit.
(As an aside, providing an issue’s entire poetry section is a first for me, and hoo boy, not having someone else’s work to hide behind when the impostor syndrome hits is a whole new kind of stress. WHO KNEW.)
I wrote “Heart of the City” for my writing group’s poetry challenge, with a 20 line limit. The main piece of critique I received was to expand it, add more detail and context and I thought, okay, there’s my revision goal. But when the time came to revise, I realised I liked it vague. I preferred it vague. Because it’s not a poem that tells a story, it’s a poem that makes a promise. Read here: http://www.anathemamag.com/heart-of-the-city
“Pieces of Me” came from hitting a point where I was just DONE with being exoticised through food comparisons. It’s a personal piece and I still get a little squirmy seeing it out in the world, but…there it is. Read here: http://www.anathemamag.com/pieces-of-me
Look, I’m just going to admit that I’m real bad at these.
I have a new poem in the world, in Apparition Lit’s Transformation issue! The issue came out last week and the poem went live on the website back on Monday but really, who’s counting (not me, clearly).
It’s a small bit of Little Red Riding Hood retelling, in which Red steps outside her story and explores what it might be like to be more than a child, more than a granddaughter and more than either hero or helpless.
This is my second poem at Apparition and both times I’ve worked with them, they’ve been absolutely lovely. Good humans, good editors, good publication. I highly recommend them to anyone thinking of submitting. Their next submission window opens May 15th, to the theme of Redemption.
You can buy their current issue here: https://apparitionlit.com/issues/
Or read the poem online here: https://apparitionlit.com/stories/all-the-better/
In true Jess fashion, I forgot to post about this when it actually happened. In my defense, there’s been a lot going on in the world and despite not leaving the apartment for any non-essential outing, my brain has been all over the place.
Anyway, “Prophecy” dropped back on March 18th over at Daily Science Fiction and has the distinction of either longest or shortest it’s ever taken me to write a story. I started incubating the thought about two years ago and while I liked the idea, I struggled to pin down the right form. Then late last year, the pieces suddenly fell into place and I spat it out whole in a couple of hours, in between stages of baking bread. Pretty sure there’s still flour in my laptop.
Growing up, I developed some strong feelings about prophecy stories and for the most part, I still don’t like them. I don’t like how they take away a character’s agency. I don’t like how the FATE OF EVERYTHING comes down to one person– that’s just bad math on the part of the Universe. I don’t like how the Chosen One trope often relies on line and lineage to make someone special (looking at you, J.J. Abrams).
So I took all my feelings about prophecies and Chosen Ones and fate and just stopping to think a minute, and kneaded them all together, shaped it into a gender non-specific form and baked up a story with a healthy side of hope and bucking expectations.
I don’t always like my work, but I’m very happy with how this one came out. Available to read for free, here: https://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/medieval/jessica-jo-horowitz/prophecy_fantasy
Now that the nomination period is closed and my name’s still on the list, I can officially say I’m absolutely chuffed to have been nominated for a Rhysling award! This is my first award nomination and is still a little weird— in my head, awards and nominations have always been for Other People. But it’s a very exciting kind of weird.
The nominated piece is “Taking, Keeping” which was published at the amazing Apparition Lit. I’ve recently placed another poem with them for an upcoming issue as well, so another announcement on that, soon.
Since I posted the shortest ever fiction eligibility post, I might as well follow-up with a slightly-less-short poetry post for Rhysling and other related purposes:
First published in 2019 was “Taking, Keeping” in the Resistance issue of Apparition Lit, about censorship, erasure and telling the stories that need to be told. This was one of the finest teams I’ve had the privilege of working with, and I highly recommend submitting to them.
Next up was “Planing Season” in issue 7 of Anathema: Spec from the Margins, about uprooting, adaptation, identity and change. Anathema does great work highlighting fiction and poetry from queer writers of colour and I cannot recommend them enough.
Just before Mother’s Day, “Mother Tongue” was published in Fireside Fiction, narrated by C.S.E. Cooney. This was the most personal piece I’ve ever written, let alone seen published, and to see it out in the world will never not be amazing to me.
Finally, “The Starfarer’s Wife” in NewMyths.com. Three years, four title changes and a bunch of revisions since its first outing. I love this poem and I’m glad it finally found a home.
I am so very behind on all the things.
Only had one fiction publication this year, and my first pro-rate sale: From Her Mouth, the Ashes in Flash Fiction Online.
Eligibility posts are hard, especially when I’m seeing writers I love post extensive lists of their work and it’s easy to feel very, very small. But at the end of the day, I love this little piece and I’m proud of the work behind it.
Welp, it’s been some kinda week and I completely forgot that I had a poem drop a bit ago. This one had gone through a few rounds of submissions, revisions and re-titling before I finally landed on the current version, The Starfarer’s Wife, published at NewMyths.com.
The first time this one went out was for the Eye to the Telescope “ghosts” call, edited by Shannon Connor Winward back in 2016. She accepted another of my poems (the shortest one I’ve published to date) but said she almost accepted this one, as well.
Apparently, that’s all I need to keep at a thing.
So now, three years and multiple revisions/rejections later: The Starfarer’s Wife, which is basically: “what if Li Bai, but in space?”