Speculative Poetry: The Mirror-Ship

Janus 1: The Mirror-Ship

GENRE: Speculative Poetry


A fascinating image from Bernard de Montfaucon’s L’antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures, which is in the public domain. Janus (Latin: Ianus) stands as the Roman god-figure of changes and beginnings, and thus of doorways, passages, gates, and endings; that is why he is represented as looking both back in time and forward.


Twinkling from stem to stern, the slim ship

parted the black tide of space, a drip

into the washbasin of infinity.

The jeweled hull reflects not divinity

but instead a cascade of faceted realities.

Unconcerned with its own folded dualities,

the mirror mother-craft plaits, tucks, turns

with, in, and through time forced-flat.

It meanders emotionless and does not yearn

as years yawn into centuries, ion one with eon.

Light welded to night, as collar with frill.

And all that was within your own orbit pulsars still.

I hope that your week so far has been productive and peaceful. In line-of-sight with the speculative poetry theme of today’s post (for which I always gratefully receive input), I’d like to offer up a few markets and resources for you to explore. Best wishes, writers!

  • Strange Horizons is a paying market—imagine that! Thirty-per-poem is offered by this editorial triumvirate, who seek “modern, exciting poems that explore the possible and impossible: stories about human and nonhuman experiences, dreams and reality, past and future, the here-and-now and otherwhere-and-elsewhen. We want poems from imaginative and unconventional writers; we want voices from diverse perspectives and backgrounds.” If you’ve got some stellar horror, science fiction, fantasy, or slipstream poetry, do consider SH, but be sure, at a minimum, to read their definitions and manifesto article first.
  • The annual speculative poetry contest from the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) is ready for takeoff! With an Aug. 15 deadline and a $1-or $2-per-poem submission fee, now might be the time to dust off that speculative poetry for one or more of their three categories: dwarf, short, and long. Among other perks, there’s a $100 first-place prize in each category and “publication on Poetry Planet (StarShipSofa.com) podcast magazine and on the SFPA website for first through third places.” SFPA is also a great overall resource if you write speculative poetry; do consider membership therein.
  • Not speculative fiction, but perhaps of interest to those of you who enjoy memoir and/or essays, personal or otherwise. If you’ve ever experienced a “eureka!” moment—it need not have been while in the bathtub—and can pen a compelling “Life Lessons” essay of no more than 1,500 words, Real Simple magazine just might want to publish your writing and pay you for it (the best combination, I might add). As always, be sure to read all the rules, especially regarding rights protection of your story, and make your submission, if you so choose, by Sept. 18 (e-mail or snail-mail). Good luck!

3 thoughts on “Speculative Poetry: The Mirror-Ship

  1. I didn’t even know speculative poetry was a category (says how much I know!) I like your poem – there are so many phrases that just rolled off my tongue, my favorite: ” cascade of faceted realities”,

    • Sarah, they apparently had extended the deadline, but only through Aug. 31. Sorry you missed that one. No, I didn’t enter in the formal contest this year. I think, and I’d have to check my records, I entered an earlier draft of this poem several years ago (and was unsuccessful), and I think the submission fees were free at that time (they are minimal now). You might also like to keep an eye on Winning Writers (http://winningwriters.com); you can browse about 200 free prose and poetry contests, setting your dates and parameters (such as UK entries), if you give them your e-mail address (so they can send you their newsletter; it’s not, or hasn’t been for me, a deluge of e-mails).

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