So if you go here, you can hear me perform my poem “Beansidhe” – a classic Irish ghost story turned tragic romance – on the SFPA’s Halloween Reading page (which I’m co-editing with poet Liz Bennefeld).
As noted on the page: “The pronoun play in “Beansidhe” can be misleading—it may be helpful to remember that not every narrator is reliable.” “Beansidhe” (the Irish spelling of “Banshee”) first appeared in Ideomancer and later my poetry chapbook, UNDOING WINTER (Finishing Line Press 2014) , which was nominated for the SFPA’s Elgin Award.
If, however, you stay here, you can listen to me, my daughter, and my cat playing with my new headset.
Much thanks and kudos to fellow SFPA’er Diane Severson Mori over at Amazing Stories Magazine for her review of UNDOING WINTER! In addition to maintaining a regular column at Amazing Stories to highlight speculative poets and poetry, Diane also manages the not-insignificant task of rounding up the spec-poetry related publications and activities for Science Fiction Poetry Association members.
If you haven’t already, please do check out Diane’s thoughts on UNDOING WINTER, complete with recordings of three poems from the chapbook!
I’m busy getting ready for the DDOA Poet and Prose Writer’s Retreat this weekend (leaving my babies for four days! EEP!) but Diane’s post provides some food for thought that I’d like to revisit later [Watch this Space!!] To wit: while it’s true that none of the poetry in UNDOING WINTER is SciFi – indeed, i think I have all of one poem in my entire portfolio that I’d call straightup Science Fiction – I draw much of my inspiration from myth, folklore, and dreamscapes – all of which are snugly at home under the “Fantasy” category, which also counts as “Speculative Poetry”.
I think Speculative Poetry can be read in layers. The poems are metaphors, yes, but they also speak of their own realities. In my opinion, poems of ghosts, pagan gods, and slipstream are no more or less metaphorical than of any other genre – for what is SciFi, really, but the same, age old questions of the human condition, wrapped up in futuristic tropes?
The editors at The Alchemy Press have been posing Q&A to the writers of the Book of Ancient Wonders
Read the original interview at the publisher’s blog ALCHEMY PRESS
Q&A: Shannon Connor Winward
I’m an American author and poet. Most of what I create is speculative – some sci-fi, fantasy, and what’s been called “mythpunk” – though I write a little bit of everything. On my blog I talk about real life: the writing process, the emotional ups and downs. I chronicle my experiences raising a child with special needs, because I feel there’s a lack of information and empathy for families who have to go through this, and it’s my way of contributing to a larger conversation. I like to write about what touches me, what fascinates me. A lot of my stories deal with death and madness, but not in a macabre sense. I like to explore liminalities.
What inspired you to write Passage?
I minored in anthropology as an undergrad, with a special interest in the Celts of Britain and Ireland. I was writing a thesis on Celtic death rituals, which is largely speculative due to a scarcity of archaeological evidence. I came across a discussion of how the Celts may have used the monoliths as a means of connecting themselves psychologically to the landscape, since they had emigrated there, and places like Newgrange and Stonehenge predated their culture considerably. I became so distracted with the idea that I wrote “Passage” instead of what I was meant to be working on. I scribbled it in the middle of my research notes.
If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?
I’d love to visit Great Britain in the Iron Age – though, to be honest, if the Doctor came to get me, I wouldn’t be picky.
What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?
I feel a closer kinship to ancient religions than to modern ones, at least in a spiritual sense. Our ancestors were more intimately tied to nature and her cycles, and that is reflected in their sacred sites.
What do you have coming out next?
I have poems due out in various magazines, all TBA, and I’ve been invited to participate in some local fiction anthologies. Right now I’m working on a sci-fi story inspired by Egyptian mythology and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and a modern-day fairy tale about a wicked librarian. I’m also working on my second novel, an urban fantasy, and my first poetry collection. I publish updates and links to my work on my blog.
[Shannon Connor Winward’s writing has appeared in many venues including: Pedestal Magazine, Flash Fiction Online, Strange Horizons, Illumen, This Modern Writer [Pank Magazine], Hip Mama Zine and the anthologies Twisted Fairy Tales: Volume Two, Jack-o’-Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy and Spectacular: Fantasy Favorites. Her poem “All Souls’ Day” is nominated for a 2012 Rhysling Award.]