edited by Liz Bennefeld and Shannon Connor Winward
The Halloween Poetry Reading presents enjoyable speculative poetry to a broader audience, to increase awareness of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, its website, activities and membership benefits, and to promote the individual poets who take part. Each SFPA members is welcome to submit one audio file of one of their spooky, haunting, ghoulish, or humorous Halloween poems. See the 2014 poetry reading for examples. We also want Halloween-themed artwork for this page! Guidelines below.
John S. Tumlin
’Tis the Season
Karen A. Romanko
Akua Lezli Hope
He Loves Me
Shannon Connor Winward
Eye of the Raven
Pleurant in Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans
Ghost Family Portrait
“Halloween in the Haunted House”
by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
read by F.J. Bergmann
“Halloween in the Haunted House” owes a lot to two different stories by H. P. Lovecraft. I'll let the knowledgeable reader figure out which ones. Recorded by F.J. Bergmann; music by Fred W. Bergmann. David C. Kopaska-Merkel has been an SFPA member since the 1980s. He has published Dreams and Nightmares magazine for 101 issues so far. His work has appeared in Asimov's, Strange Horizons, and scores of other venues. He lives where the dentist is king, and gardens vicariously.
“Every Other Day of the Year”
by Mary Soon Lee
The poem “Every Other Day of the Year” first appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. Crowned, the first book in her epic fantasy in verse, was published by Dark Renaissance Books in June 2015. The opening poem, “Interregnum,” won the 2014 Rhysling Award for best long poem. Several poems from Crowned may be read at thesignofthedragon.com
“The Paladin NIGHT”
by John S. Tumlin
“The Paladin NIGHT”: The word is NIGHT, not KNIGHT. The rider is the champion of the dark. This poem is in part an attempt to wrest “nevermore” from the death grip Poe has on it. John S. Tumlin, the author, has been a satellite tracker for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, short-order cook, college professor, hauler of sheetrock, professional actor (on stage and in films you never heard of), skeptical UFO investigator, tracker of black rhinos in Zimbabwe with Earthwatch, father of three, and, more recently, grandfather of two. His poetry has appeared in Aoife’s Kiss, Star*Line, Illumen, and other publications.
by F.J. Bergmann
“Palimpsest” first appeared in Spectral Realms 2, Winter 2015. Music by Fred W. Bergmann. Further iniquities at fibitz.com
by John C. Mannone
John C. Mannone has over 400 works appearing in venues such as Artemis, The Southern Poetry Anthology (NC), Still: The Journal, Split Rock Review, The Baltimore Review, The Pedestal, and others. He has two poetry collections: Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing) and Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wing’s Press). He served as the 2013 Rhysling Poetry Chair and is the poetry editor for Silver Blade and for Abyss & Apex. His work has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry. He is a professor of physics in east TN. Visit The Art of Poetry: jcmannone.wordpress.com
by Akua Lezli Hope
I was given an unexpected kitten for my birthday this year whom I've named Luno. I am particularly vigilant this time of year because he is a black cat and might get hurt, so while he wishes to sneak out, chase squirrels and climb the apple tree, he can't. I crocheted black cats before getting him, so this poem is about his doppelganger. I am DELIGHTED to have won in this year's SFPA contest. I used to be a member in the 20th century. I will use the surplus of joy to ride the next wave of uncertainty and send more work out.
by Jean-Paul L. Garnier
“The Entrance” is a poem about possession and the dangers of convening with the dark powers. It is written in ABACB form and attempts to capture the mystical imagery of such devilry. Jean-Paul L. Garnier lives in Joshua Tree, CA where he studies desert ecology. His poems and stories have been published in: Eye to the Telescope, SpeckLit, Aphelion, Farther Stars Than These, and many other magazines and anthologies. http://jplgarnier.blogspot.com/
by Liz Bennefeld
“Halloween Awakening,” a mood poem, was written and recorded on October 18 for the 2015 SFPA Halloween Poetry Reading. Liz Bennefeld has been a member of SFPA since 2004. Occasionally, her articles, poems and songs have appeared in print and online publications, or been performed, over the past 48 years. She retired in 2014 after a 30-year career as a freelance editor, writer and consultant. Liz and her husband live in North Dakota, where they pursue their interests in reading, amateur radio, target pistol shooting, computers, and photography. You will find more of her poems at quiltedpoetry.net/blog
by Shannon Connor Winward
The pronoun play in “Beansidhe” can be misleading—it may be helpful to remember that not every narrator is reliable. “Beansidhe” (the Irish spelling of “Banshee”) first appeared in Ideomancer and later in the poetry chapbook Undoing Winter (Finishing Line Press, 2014), which was nominated for the SFPA's Elgin Award. Writing by Shannon Connor Winward has also appeared or is forthcoming in Star*Line, Pedestal Magazine, Pseudopod: Artemis Rising, Strange Horizons, Gargoyle, Inkscrawl and elsewhere. Shannon lives and writes in Newark, Delaware.
a Halloween senryu
by Roman Lyakhovetsky
read by Shannon Connor Winward
Originally from Russia, Roman now lives in Israel. He has a Ph.D. in Cell Biology and does his best to combine science and poetry in his life. His haiku and tanka have appeared in Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Heron’s Nest, Scifaikuest and A Hundred Gourds, among other journals.
“The Witch Girl”
by Adele Gardner
Adele Gardner loves Halloween! Her first poems were all on Halloween themes. She built her first haunted house for her family at age nine and learned to sew at thirteen so she could design her own Halloween costumes. An active member of SFWA, Adele is also literary executor for her father, her mentor and namesake Delbert R. Gardner. Adele's first poetry collection, Dreaming of Days in Astophel, appeared in 2011. She’s had over 300 works of short fiction, poetry, art/photography, and nonfiction published in venues like Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, PodCastle, NewMyths, Mythic Delirium, and more. Visit gardnercastle.com.
by Ann K. Schwader
“Wind Shift” first appeared in Weird Fiction Review #3 (2012), and is included in Ann’s seventh poetry collection, Dark Energies (P’rea Press 2015). It celebrates that long tilt from autumnal equinox to winter solstice, with a touch of cosmic horror thrown in. Ann is a Bram Stoker Award Finalist, a Rhysling Award winner, and the Poet Laureate of NecronomiCon Providence 2015. Her poems have appeared in Spectral Realms, Weirdbook, Dreams & Nightmares, Lovecraft EZine, Weird Fiction Review, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, and elsewhere. More information about her work may be found at home.earthlink.net/~schwader
“Brown for Brown and Green for Green”
by Denise Dumars
“Brown for Brown and Green for Green” was inspired by learning from catherine yronwode’s Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic that unscrupulous merchants substitute lookalike herbs for more expensive ones, hence “Brown for Brown and Green for Green.” I was inspired to write about the differences between what a hoodoo practitioner does and what Wiccans and other magickal practitioners do. The poem first appeared in my Elgin-nominated book, Paranormal Romance: Poems Romancing the Paranormal (Sam's Dot, 2012). More on my writing and Rev. Dee's Apothecary, my New Orleans-style Botanica, can be found at DeniseDumars.com and DyanaAset.com.
by Joe Nazare
“Them Apples”—a punning take on Halloween's most unhygienic party game—comes from my collection Autumn Lauds: Poems for the Halloween Season. My poetry, fiction, and nonfiction has appeared in such places as Star*Line, Grievous Angel, Paper Crow, Death in Common, Dark Discoveries, Pseudopod, Jack-O'-Spec, The Internet Review of Science Fiction, and Extrapolation. In a former life, I earned a Ph.D in English from NYU, and likely still hold the world's record for Longest Dissertation on Cyberpunk.
“not dead yet”
by John Reinhart
An arsonist by trade, eccentric by avocation, John Reinhart lives in Colorado with his wife and children, and beasts aplenty, including a dog, cat, duck, goats, chickens, pigeons, and probably mice. His poetry has recently been published in Scifaikuest, Star*Line, and Moon Pigeon Press. More of his work is available at patreon.com/johnreinhart
Thanks to the SFPA members who have contributed their poetry and art to this page. All recordings and images are copyrighted by their respective authors and used by permission.