I’m excited to recommend Marginalia to Stone Bird, a collection of poems by Rose Lemberg, one of my many friends from grad school and elsewhere who have gone on to make their marks in the world of letters (and art and music). I’ve been following Rose’s work since around 2010, when I found out about their creative work (about the time I got a few of my own poems out there, though I still see myself as a much more naive/amateur poet than Rose), and it has been fun to see the increasing recognition for their work in the world of speculative (fantasy and science fiction) poetry and short fiction–so many award nominations! And some wins too! And all this in spite of some really horrible circumstances and trials the last few years. You can find out more about Rose on their main site, their old blog, and their (more active) twitter. Note also their Birdverse Patreon page–for just $1 a day you can support Rose’s ongoing and expanding body of stories set in the “Birdverse.” One of the most recent of these stories is a Nebula Award nominee this year (the conference is happening RIGHT NOW!!!!), and one of the poems in Marginalia, also available online at Goblin Fruit, belongs to the Birdverse as well. Oh, and Rose is also one of the founders/editors at Stone Telling, one of my favorite spots on the interwebz for speculative poetry, so check it out!
Many of the poems in this collection have been published, starting in 2009, in a variety of online and print journals/collections, such as Apex, Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium and others–some of the more prominent platforms for speculative poetry, and many of these poems still available online if you want to get a feel for Rose’s work before committing to a book (or a Patreon). Themes of identity, particularly immigrant and (gender)queer, are prominent throughout Rose’s work, both poetry and fiction, and make for many of the more heartfelt and thoughtful passages in this collection. Rose is also an accomplished academic with experience in topics ranging from folkloristics to sociolinguistics, and I appreciate the ways in which this adds depth and nuance to their work without (at all) feeling pedantic–Rose is an inspiration and model to me as an academic creative writer. This reminds me, I need to get back to my own writing.
I was going to list many of the poems that I enjoyed that are still available online, but I’m short on time, so instead I refer you to the poetry bibliography on Rose’s webpage–many of these (not the most recent, I believe) also show up in the collection, so this is a good way to find out whether you would be interested in the book. A more thorough discussion of the collection is up on Strange Horizons. And check out Rose’s fiction bibliography as well–I know most of you fantasy and sci-fi readers out there read massive multi-volume novels, watch GoT, play WoW, or whatever, but short fiction and poetry are great places to discover new talent, support writers as they start out on their careers, and just find nice, quick, but very deep and thoughtful reads. Expand your horizons!