Rhysling Part 3

Well this took me by surprise. I didn’t realise there was an actual, physical award that came with the Rhysling, but this lovely bit of shininess showed up in the mail today! (or possibly last week, I’ve gotten bad about checking the mailbox)

Glass plaque with text “SFPA 2020 Rhysling Short Poem Award, “Taking, Keeping” Jessica J. Horowitz, Apparition Lit

Thanks again to Apparition Lit for publishing this poem, which you can read here: https://apparitionlit.com/taking-keeping/

2020 Eligibility Post

Real quick eligibility listing for both short fiction and poetry, of which there were fewer than some, but more than I expected, to be honest.


“Prophecy,” my non-gendered epic-fantasy-masquerading-as-flash (and possibly my favourite thing I’ve written this year) was published at Daily Science Fiction: https://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/medieval/jessica-jo-horowitz/prophecy_fantasy

“Blessings for a New Age,” also appeared at Daily Science Fiction, with fairy tale revisitings, cameo appearances by Mars rovers and a just a little bit of hope and sweetness: https://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/fairy-tales/jessica-jo-horowitz/blessings-for-a-new-age


“Eclipse,” published in issue 3 of Frozen Wavelets, because I cannot and will not stop writing about haetae: https://frozenwavelets.com/issue-2-2/eclipse-by-jessica-jo-horowitz/

“In the Wake of Beresheet,” my wee bitty tardigrades on the moon poem (almost as small as tardigrade itself), published in issue 4 of Frozen Wavelets: https://frozenwavelets.com/issue-4/sparse-wavelets/

“All the Better” in ApparitionLit’s Transformation issue, another one about fairy tales, expectations and flouting the narrative: https://apparitionlit.com/all-the-better/

And then there was that time I made up Anathema Spec’s entire poetry section in issue 10 and it wasn’t weird at all (it was totally weird) with “Pieces of Me” (which has bones but not teeth): http://www.anathemamag.com/pieces-of-me and “Heart of the City,” which has both bones and teeth): http://www.anathemamag.com/heart-of-the-city

And that’s it!

Rhysling Part 2: Sorry, What?

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.

Poetry Drop Day: Frozen Wavelets

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/

Poetry Drop Day: Anathema!

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

Poetry Drop Day: Apparition Lit

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/

Belated Story Drop Day: Daily Science Fiction

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