Where Rockets Burn Through
Edited by Russell Jones
Preface by Alasdair Gray
Essay by Steve Sneyd
I could lazily complete this review by just telling you that this collection is a must-have for all fans of SF poetry as it is a substantial collection of current poetry in the genre, but that would be to undersell what is an excellent collection enhanced by insightful comment from Alasdair Gray and Steve Sneyd.
Sneyd, as would be expected, also appears in the collection, but he is only one amongst many talented poets to be included, many of them unfamiliar to me. Their work covers a variety of styles and lengths and look at the genre from a variety of angles.
Amongst those I particularly enjoyed, to pick a mere handful from the many, were space poets by James McGonigal (“we wrote poems on charts / by subtle deviations / from the flight-path plans”), Now Voyager by Jane McKie (“Leave the sun behind, its wind / a faint exterior graze, / tattoo of atoms.”), Disunion by Jane MacKie (“I took my shadow self to the machine, / fed her to the endless teeth, / her dress a tattered mountain range.”), The Last Human by Kona Macphee (“She was our glorious mistake, a child that grew / as buildings grow: straight up, then not at all; / dynamics reaching stasis; a waterfall that froze / and glittered in the sun; a perfect blossom / sealed in the acrylic of a paper-weight.”), and Infoworship by Steve Sneyd (“freefloat holograms alternate messages say / all lanes closed wait calm / and random as screensaver seems / metaphilosophy as eg dead loss / all your lives be grateful”).
Whether you just love poetry in all its forms, are a SF fan or have a particular interest in the poetry of this genre, I am sure that will find something to enjoy between its covers. Recommended.
Spaces of Their Own
By Russell Jones
This poetry collection opens with the wonderful Blue Planet in which the poet “Thinking futuristic,” sees “a flash / in the starlight: green, perhaps Jupiter / on a vacation from invisibility.” It then runs through poems such as girl.drm in which we’re invited to “Lie back, jack in. This dream is electric / was my reality and tonight you’ll see / it too” and the thoughtful Teleportation Error, to conclude with Re-entry in which “we were burned up on re-entry / burned up and cast out like ashes / ashes in an instant in a flash” leaving them “voyaging together at last / at last in a vacuum”. Russell Jones has produced some really good SF poetry here. Highly recommended.