Monday, July 4, 2016

A reprinted review

Treasure from an Erstwhile Millennium

Garey, Terry A., 1991, Time Frames, Rune Press, ISBN 0960265620, hardback, 98 pages, nearly 100 poems, $15 including shipping from the editor at 3149 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55407.

So, Terry Garey and I were talking about speculative poetry anthologies of yesteryear, and she mentioned that she had edited one called Time Frames almost 25 years ago. It was published by Rune Press, and come to find out there is a box of them still available. I was writing speculative poetry then, but I was not yet "with it" and I never saw this book. So it's great news for me and everybody else who didn't read this book when it came out, that it is still available. It's eminently readable and contains science and speculative poetry by Robert Frazier, Ruth Berman, Geoffrey Landis, John C. Rezmerski, and Ann K. Schwader, and others. Most of the poems have only appeared in this book, so the only ones you've seen are the ones that were nominated for the Rhysling award that year, or later included in collections by some of these fine poets. Most of the poems I had never seen. Terry chose a relatively small number of poets so that she could include multiple poems from each of them, really showcase what they could do. I think it was quite successful. It wasn't so much that you were following a train from one station to the next but that you were exploring a city. Things fit together, but indirectly. Some of these people are no longer writing speculative poetry, but most of them are still at the forefront of our field. Here's a way to find out what they were doing in 1991.

We begin with Ruth Berman; here is a sample from "Nick Chopper the Tin Woodman"

She turned and caught him
Round the tin waist
Pressing close the comfort
Of her sweetheart
Who had loved her
Although he lost his heart
And turned to tin.
His visits slowed –
The witch kept closer watch
Feeling a premonition of some ill wind blowing –
And he forgot.

Reading this book is how I discovered that Geoffrey Landis sometimes writes sword and sorcery and that John Grey can write speculative poetry that isn't horror. He's good at it too. From “Photographing the Sun"

They say just once
I should look up,
select my stones from that sky's
shameless worship of color,
the foamy exuberance of a
million liberated wildflowers
cracking through its
floating reefs of coral clouds,

Ann K Schwader is represented here by a number of poems, including "For Omega Dreamers" of which this is a part

Rereading earth burned white between the covers
of novel after deathdream, do not wonder
at strangelove's labors lost: this print ob will session
with mushroom morning glory' will s sane as fiction
could be, and more hopeful than the news.

What is there to say about Time Frames? These poems show aspects of poets that might surprise you even if you are very familiar with their recent work. Also, because most contributors are represented by at least half a dozen poems, you have the opportunity to see a lot farther into their heads than is usual. Almost any of these poems could have been nominated for awards. The best speculative poetry brings visions of wonder, terror, and joy. This book is 100 pages of visionary, cutting-edge poetry by the masters. Maybe not the cutting edge of today, but I think you will find that many of these poems are still quite sharp. You owe it to yourself to read them.

David C Kopaska-Merkel
1300 Kicker Rd.
Tuscaloosa, AL 35404

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