Sunday recs: Two poems, two stories

Long time no Sunday recs. In my defence, the past month or so was intensively filled by doing PhD applications. Last weekend was my first in ages when I was free to do non-academia stuff, so I shamefully neglected my blog. But now! Rec time!

First let’s have an invocation to The God of Lost Things by Neile Graham (in Strange Horizons). The wordcraft here is wonderful, and I can picture the little god so vividly. This poem reminds me of intricate Anglo-Saxon and Celtic miniatures.

Then Hair by Hel Gurney (in Stone Telling). I have long hair – have had, for most of my life – and this poem really resonates with me. Hair holds so much cultural meaning; long hair, in particular, is a marker that no doubt usually gets me read as straight; and yet in the end, I wear my hair long for me. Gurney’s poem manages to catch some of my feelings about my hair (sans the implications of gender dysphoria) – amazing when poetry does that, shows your own self reflected in someone else’s words!

Now for the stories.

As you may know if you’ve read such poems by me as The Understanding, I have a major thing for fiction/poetry that uses the conventions of historical manuscripts and their editing as a literary device. Well, to my delight I discovered that the wonderful Amal El-Mohtar has written a story employing such conceits: The Green Book (in Apex Magazine). There’s a lot of subtle worldbuilding in this story that left me wondering and wanting more set in the story-world. I love how the story unfolds solely as a fragmented document – so well done. Also, I love the marginal notes. Manuscript-studies fiction ♥

My final rec of the day is The Astrologer’s Telling by Therese Arkenberg. This is a poetic apocalypse story with a really intriguing premise and a strong focus on the human experience and the characters despite the cataclysmic events. Astrology in science fiction!