Year-End Eligibility

Okay. Okay okay okay. I’m just bad at updating. I accept this. I’ve kept the bibliography page current, which is a very valid something, so I’m going to take that win and run with it.

But! Now is the time for end-of-year wrap ups and eligibility listings (despite there being over a full month left in the year…). It was a relatively slow year when it comes to number of pieces published, but I feel really good about the other stuff that’s happened, including people met, connections forged and achievements unlocked. At some point, I’ll do a full recap of WorldCon/ChiCon8, which was such an amazing, fulfilling experience it requires its own post. But for now, a list of pieces that came in out in 2022:

Short Fiction:

  • “On Tattered Wings” – 3500 words, published in Death in the Mouth: Original Horror by People of Color, edited by Sloane Leong and Cassie Hart. Birds and body-horror, exploring life/death transitions and the power of wanting. (CN: terminal illness, animal and human death, reference to deadnaming)

Poetry:

And that’s it, unles anything major changes between now and December 31st. Thanks for checking this out and, awards and eligibility aside, I hope you enjoy reading.

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ephemera Poetry Reading

Should I have probably posted about this before the live reading happened? Yes.

Has my resignation to the fact that I will probably never make a timely blog post finally turned into acceptance? Also yes.

Last Wednesday, I was delighted to be part of an online reading series organised by ephemera, hosted by KT Bryski and Jen Albert. I had met Jen this past WorldCon in Chicago (one of many awesome and memorable meetings) and was later invited as the poetry for September’s reading.

The theme of the event was “Vitality,” and I opted to focus on not only the ideas of life and growth, but also the strength and power of continued survival. I chose three poems that approach this theme in different ways: “A Message From Her Feline Self, Unborn, to Her Cousin, Whose Ancestors Were Once Wolves,” originally published in Fireside Fiction, “Water, to Grow a Garden,” originally published in Anathema: Spec from the Margins and “After the End,” originally published in Fantasy Magazine.

I also had the honour of reading in the company of three phenomenal writers who read from their original short fiction: Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Natasha Ramoutar and Maria Dong. If you missed the live event, the recording is available on ephemera’s YouTube page, along with all their past recorded readings.

Poetry Drop – Fireside Fiction!

Once again, I’ve given up trying to be timely with my updates and just feel accomplished that I remember to update at all. Last March I had a poem published in Fireside Fiction, acquired by guest editor Aigner Loren Wilson, copyedited by Chelle Parker. The full title is the longest one I’ve ever written at 15 words: “A Message From Her Feline Self, Unborn, to Her Cousin, Whose Ancestors Were Once Wolves” and is I think my favourite title to date. The poem itself contains dreams and futures and a bit of blood and a lot of fury. I feel strongly about almost everything I’ve published, but I am especially proud of this one.

Extra exciting, my poem was chosen to be the cover piece for the month’s issue, which means associated cover art! Jessica McCottrell created this absolutely gorgeous piece that captures so much of the poem’s essence and tone. I’m still blown away every time I see it. Full image at the artist’s website here.

Art by Jessica McCottrell, http://www.j-jacks.com

It’s somewhat bittersweet though, as this will be the last time my work appears in Fireside. I’ve been fortunate enough to have two poems published with them, (previously: “Mother Tongue” in 2019) but after ten years of publishing, the magazine will be closing in July of this year. Fireside has always been a force of fair pay and diversity in publishing, and I’m glad to have been even a small part of their legacy. They will be greatly missed.

2021 Eligibility Roundup

And that’s a wrap! On my 2021 publishing year, at least. I have a few things lined up for next year, including a poem I’m very excited for, but for now, a quick recap of my work published in 2021, two short stories and five poems:

Short Fiction:

  • “Her Mother’s Stories” – 2400 words, published in A Quiet Afternoon 2 from Grace & Victory Publications. A quiet piece about growing up with childhood stories and bringing their magic with us as we start lives of our own.
  • “Nine-Tailed Heart” – 3500 words, published in issue 1.3 of khōréō. A queer retelling/re-imagining of the gumiho story, in which a woman learns about the power of reshaping stories and taking control of her own when a nine tailed fox comes for her heart. Very much written from my own diaspora heart.

Poetry:

  • “Grandmother Spider” – 31 lines, published in the Spring issue of Kaleidotrope. A poem about heritage and family and stories in an ever-changing world. Content note: spiders.
  • “untitled senryu” and “untitled fibonacci” – published in the 18th anniversary issue of Scifaikuest.
  • “Pocket Change” – 18 lines, published in the Autumn issue of Kaledotrope. A poem about missed opportunities, split infinities and who picks up after all our choices.
  • “After the End” – 50 lines, published in issue 73 of Fantasy Magazine. My favourite poem of the year and honestly one of my favourites to date. A fairy tale poem about what happens after “The End” is written, but the protagonists’ stories continue on. About taking control of your own endings and creating your own joy.

Non-Fiction

  • “A Deeply Rooted Wonder” – 1200 words, published in the Wonder issue of Apparition Lit. My first published essay, delving into how I learned to approach my own diasporic identity with a sense of wonder, in all its myriad forms.

And that’s it! As always with these, I feel a bit odd framing these in an awards eligibility sense, but I remind myself that I’m proud of these words and want to share them with the world. I plan on doing another end of the year wrap-up post with stats, but it’s been a pretty good year overall, and as mentioned, I have some fun stuff lined up for 2022, which I hope to share soon.

New Poem at Fantasy Magazine

New poetry days are my favourite days! This one in particular, as it’s in Fantasy, a magazine that I love and admire, and also a one of my favourite poems to date.

“After the End” (or, “After ‘The End'”, if you prefer), is a poem about the aftermath of fairy tales and written from my feelings as both a child and an adult about how so many of them end. I know that most of these were written in a very different time and there are more than a few great breakdowns of how in that context, a lot of these protagonists can be read as powerful, taking back their own agency in a world that would deny them.

But sometimes, sometimes saving the beast, marrying the prince, moving to the castle, returning home to family after everything you’ve seen, everything you’ve been through– it isn’t right. It isn’t enough.

So I wrote this. About when it isn’t enough, when the story continues even after the beast is dead and the book is closed, the lights turned off. When we find others like us and make our own joy, on our own terms. And I would love it if you gave it a read.

Poetry Drop Day – Kaleidotrope (Round 2)!

New poetry day over at Kaleidotrope! This is the second of the two pending poems that were accepted back in 2019. It’s interesting to see pieces I wrote two years ago and how they compare to my work now, and I’m pleased to say that, like “Grandmother Spider,” I still enjoy this poem and am happy to see it out in the world.

Fun fact: this was the first poem I ever wrote that was based from the start on puns/wordplay. I’m not sure whether to be impressed or disappointed in myself that it took so long.

The poem can be read here in the Autumn issue of Kaleidotrope, along with an absolutely stellar TOC: https://kaleidotrope.net/autumn-2021/pocket-change-by-jessica-cho/