Monday, March 27, 2017

Evolution lecture in Tuscaloosa

Casey Dunn, on the importance of poorly known taxa. Thursday night, University of Alabama, North Lawn Hall, 7:30 PM, free and open to the public.

This is part of ALLELE, the University of Alabama's long-running series of lectures by internationally acclaimed scientists on all different aspects of evolution. Many of these lectures are available on iTunes U, and parts of some of them appear in the new video series Speaking Evolution


The devourer of toes

shoes won’t stop it
boots won’t slow it down
you shouldn’t have
uttered the invocation
voiced the incantation
without protection
circle of fungus
ring of sludge
whatever it takes
you eschewed it
now it chews you

don’t compound the error
by calling its sibling to rein it in
don’t summon
the biter of ankles

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Division Day: A Protist Reflects On Parenthood

Parents who will never see their children,
children who never knew their parents,
but it's a joy,
to bring new life into the world.

Some leave messages,
but, as our children are ourselves,
the medium is the message,
and every time they look in the mirror,
my daughters will see my face

Press Release about Rhysling Anthology

I sent it to my local paper. Based on the template Robin Mayhall created.

Local Writer Edits Volume of Poems

Nominated for International Poetry Award

A local geologist and part-time science-fiction writer is the editor of this year’s Rhysling Anthology, the annual collection of poems nominated for a prize awarded by the Science Fiction Poetry Association to honor the best science fiction, fantasy or horror poems from the previous year.

Kopaska-Merkel has been writing science fiction and fantasy short stories and poems for more than four decades. He has edited and published the speculative poetry magazine Dreams and Nightmares since 1986. The Rhysling Award honors poetry in two categories: short poems of 1 to 49 lines and long poems of 50 lines or longer. Kopaska-Merkel won the long-poem award in 2006 for “The Tin Men,” a collaboration with Kendall Evans.

Only dues-paying members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association can nominate a poem for the Rhysling Award, which was established in 1978. All of the nominated poems are published in a printed anthology, which is distributed to the membership for use as a voting tool. SFPA members vote on their favorites in each category, and the winners are announced in the summer. The Rhysling Anthology also is sold by the SFPA to offset the cost of printing and to raise funds for association programs.

The winning works are regularly reprinted in the Nebula Awards Anthology from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc., and are considered in the speculative fiction field to be the equivalent in poetry of the awards given for “prose” work: achievement awards given to poets by the writing peers of their own field of literature. Past winners have included such science fiction and fantasy notables as Ursula K. Le Guin, Bruce Boston, Joe Haldeman and Jane Yolen.

Kopaska-Merkel was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, but has lived in Tuscaloosa for almost 30 years. He works for the Geological Survey of Alabama. His publications include 25 books of poetry and short fiction, more than 100 scientific books and articles, and poems in such publications as Asimov’s Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, and Night Cry. He is past president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and a former editor of its journal Star*line.

The Science Fiction Poetry Association was founded in 1978 to bring together poets and readers interested in science fiction poetry. In addition to the Rhysling Anthology, the SFPA publishes Star*Line, its quarterly official newsletter featuring market news, interviews, articles, reviews, member news and letters, association business, and poetry by members and nonmembers. For more information, visit the association’s website at


pinpricks in Flatland

black circles
where space is so distorted
even light cannot escape
some say they're portals
to another world


The voice-recognition software hasn't been working on this machine. 1-finger typing blows!

Finished a book review yesterday; another to do today. Both SF/fantasy poetry collections.

Since my last garden rpt: red Amaryllis and Lenten roses (pink and white) in full bloom, many perennials not in evidence; last yr's drought was worse than the Cretaceous extinction. Newly planted hosta, bay; basil seedlings and others have true leaves. Spouse does all the work; I just enjoy the results.

Well, the review is calling...

Saturday, March 25, 2017


I Knew There Was Something

the daisies on her wallpaper
evolved through the night
by morning they had thorns and
an unsettling look
on what now seemed like faces
but it was the prehensile tendrils
that gave them away
the rest of us kept our distance
after we saw what happened
when Chee tried to water them