The Rhysling Award

I’ve learned today that two of my poems were nominated for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s annual Rhysling Award for best speculative poem in the short category. What a delightful surprise!

The first of these is a personal favorite of mine, “What the Old Woman Knows,” which appeared at Listen to Her UNF in March 2022: https://lieberman.domains.unf.edu/s22/a-sensorial-what-the-old-woman-knows-by-melissa-ridley-elmes/

This poem was initially submitted to a literary magazine (truthfully, several literary magazines). It was rejected, but one of the readers remembered it and, when launching this new initiative to honor women’s voices, reached out to me and asked if it was still available. I’m grateful for her interest and faith in my work, and thrilled to see “What the Old Woman Knows” receive this recognition.

And the second is “Starfall,” which was published by editor S.T. Joshi in the print journal Spectral Realms 16: https://www.hippocampuspress.com/journals/spectral-realms/spectral-realms-no.-16

This is really quite the honor. There are so many hundreds of eligible works published annually, and out of those, each participating nominator can only select one poem in the short, and one in the long, category:

“Nominees for each year’s Rhysling Awards are selected by the membership of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Each member is allowed to nominate one work in each of two categories: “Best Long Poem” (50–299 lines; for prose poems, 500–1,999 words) and “Best Short Poem” (11–49 lines; for prose poems, 101–499 words). All nominated works must have been first published during the preceding calendar year of the awards year. The Rhysling Awards are put to a final vote by the membership of the SFPA selection from all nominated works, presented in the Rhysling Anthology.”

To have my work noticed and nominated out of the hundreds and hundreds of sci fi/fantasy/horror/slipstream poems published annually is just–really humbling. I am certainly counting my blessings today. And I am thrilled to be nominated alongside some of my favorite speculative poets, including Vince Gotera, Jordan Hirsch, Brian Garrison, Mary Soon Lee, Akua Hope Lezli, Colleen Anderson, Wendy van Camp, and Adele Gardner, among others. Wonderful company, indeed. 🙂 You can see the full list of nominees here: https://sfpoetry.com/ra/rhyscand.html

Thank you so much to the publishers and the nominators of these poems!

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About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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