Look What I Found In My Brain!Random!

Spellbent

Chimeric Machines

Sparks and Shadows

Installing Linux on a Dead Badger

Coffin County

Mr Hands

Home Before Dark

In Silent Graves

Fear in a Handful of Dust

Current Reader Favorites:

Tools for Wandering Writers – how to stay productive on the road
Is the publisher just a middleman? – things to consider before you try self-publishing
Finding or creating a writer's workshop group – the title says it all
Using Profanity in Fiction – when cursing works, and when it doesn't
How To Make A Living Writing Short Fiction – can it be done? Yes.
Book Review: Lord of the Flies – all about Ralph and Piggy and Roger
Who Moved My Cheese? – a short review of this short book
How to comfort someone whose mother or father has died – advice for handling this difficult situation
Coping with unemployment – more practical advice for a difficult situation


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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Order Chimeric Machines, get a limited-edition hardcover free
For just the month of August, when you buy a copy of the signed, limited-edition hardcover of my collection Chimeric Machines direct from CGP, you'll get a free hardcover copy of the signed, limited-edition, award-winning anthology Five Strokes To Midnight, which features authors like Christopher Golden, Tom Piccirilli, Gary A. Braunbeck and Deborah LeBlanc. The book was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and won two Stoker Awards. The first was for best overall anthology, and the second (best long fiction) was for Gary's novella Afterward, There Will Be A Hallway.

Chimeric MachinesSo, if you've been thinking to yourself, "Self, I've wanted to get Gary and Lucy's best work, but just haven't had the chance to do it in one fell swoop", well, now's your chance :)

"(This) may be the best collection of poetry I've read in years ... There is not one poem in Chimeric Machines that doesn't fit in place like a delicately carved piece of a complex and consuming puzzle. ... There is no other writer working today quite like Lucy A. Snyder." (read more)
- Hellnotes

"Snyder is a massively talented writer -- the sort who knows how to make you take a gulp when you hit the ending of a story or poem -- and this poetry collection made me gulp with awe on virtually every page. ... With an introduction by Tom Piccirilli and collaborative contributions from Gary Braunbeck, many horror readers would enjoy the experience of this collection. This is not horror poetry, always, but it is something bigger, something simpler: just great poetry. Snyder's Chimeric Machines deserves to win a literary award." (read more)
- Michael A. Arnzen, author of Proverbs for Monsters

More to the point (and to address the economics of this deal), you're getting $80 worth of collectible hardbacks for $34 if you're in the U.S., a bit more if you're overseas. This offer is good through the end of the month or until Chimeric Machines sells out (only 20 copies are still available as of this post).

Click here for more information about this and other August specials at CGP.

Click here to order.


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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Uncanny Valley Girl
Mister Mori thought I'd find you eerie
with your tepid flesh and passive face.
In your assembly I see naught but beauty
sans the animal flaws of the feminine race.

Your polymer skin is smooth as bisque,
your eyes a cerulean unseen in Nature.
Swains may recoil from servo whir and whisk;
the deus of your machina's my favorite feature.

Your hardwired love is steadfast, unflinching,
though I'm a toadish sinner, obese and aging.
I smashed all my mirrors, dreading my reflection
but you swept up the shards with perky affection:

"Your credit is perfect ... no reason to worry!
Death is for losers. Let's buy your new body!"


This sonnet first appeared at Raven Electrick.

 

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Trepanation
The first migraine-plagued caveman
who countered his aching cranium
with crudely pounded flint (and lived)
surely shared his medical breakthrough.

Headcutting is old as woodcutting.
Andean shaman or alpine physician,
a good doctor knew the value
of airing out a fevered brain.

In dark ages before Lister and Pasteur,
chirurgeons didn't know a virus
from a curse, but they needed a name
for the rusty saw they used to open
a blow-swelled skull: the trepane
saved careless patricians from coma.

Modern surgeons' steel is clean, but treat
tyro trepanation with trepidation. Teen
mystics sing high of tuning third eyes
and praise their cordless doorknob drills
for opening new windows of perception
even as they lie blinded, bacterial feasts.


This poem first appeared at Strange Horizons.

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sympathy
Sympathy evolved peripherally,
a selective way to keep the tribe alive
through the secondhand pangs of trial,
tributaries of tribulation shared by blood,
our hardwired love of Rover and Fluffy just
a shadow of family need in the genes.

But what if we could feel the flesh we eat,
taste the fatal throes ol' Bossie endured
as the butcher put a hammer to her head?
What if every whitemeat nugget sliding
greasy down our throats held a grindhouse
flash of Chicken Little, debeaked and choked?

Would we shun personalized burgers
and embrace plates of cheerful fruits?
Would we eagerly flee from carnivory,
ban the slaughter and celebrate salad,
glorify veggies, their tales of pain so dull;
no yardman names the blades he mows.

But righteous sadists might dictate diets of woe:
priests would curse the sins in mother's milk
and tell their flocks to feed the babies Bambi.
Hardening souls for a Heavenly shine, pious
soldiers would savor Apocalyptic glory
in the soylent flesh of every blessed enemy.


This poem first appeared at Strange Horizons.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Business Casual

"She's so stylish!" my coworker declared
of her 7-year-old niece, as if that was the best
thing any girl could aspire to: being decorative.
I scanned the ranks of cornfed executives,
saw perfect nails, silken suits. They talked golf,
stocks, and day salons. Their heads were empty

of art and literature. Said they'd never even heard
of Nineteen Eighty-Four or Lord of the Flies,
much less Snow Crash, Naked Lunch or Silent Spring.
Who had time to read with so many important things
to do, like wax the Porsche and schmooze the boss,
impress strangers with your perfect herbicidal lawn?

I didn't have a lawn, or makeup, or jewelry;
I didn't give a tinker's damn about upward mobility.
They barely managed to tolerate me cos I did my work
fast and clean, coded pro. I wasn't one of "the girls"
but they couldn't get around my annoying productivity
and replace me like a vase that had gone out of style.

Eventually I tired of the condescending smiles
and brittle judgments from people who supposed clothes
makeup and hair are the alpha and omega of a woman,
imagined that a ten-second glance, sharp as the edge
of a punched ticket, could accurately suss anything,
much less the worth of a human life.

So I quit and found a new job where the boss
wears faded jeans and Chuck Taylors, and my co-
workers chat about books and gigs. The boss cares
about our code, our text, our ideas. Our clothes?
Hey, look, we're all wearing clean clothes. Good.
Now let's get back to work.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Gabrielle Calvocoressi's The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is a Connecticut-raised poet who currently lives in Berkeley, California. She has worked as a lecturer for Stanford University, where she won both a prestigious Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry and a Jones Lectureship. Her other major prizes include a Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Women Writers and, for her long poem "Circus Fire, 1944", a Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review.

"Circus Fire, 1944" is the centerpiece of her first book of poetry, The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart. Published by Persea Books, The Last Time ... includes poems that previously appeared in publications such as New England Review, Ninth Letter, Western Humanities Review, and of course The Paris Review.

The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart focuses on the ominous shadows of small-town life in America's heartlands in the mid-20th Century. The title poem speculates about what Amelia Earhart's disappearance might have meant to her crew, husband, and to everyday people who simply saw her as a celebrity. Her Conners Prize-winning poem explores the horror and tragedy of the July 6, 1944 fire that killed 168 people, mostly children, under the big tent at a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance in Hartford, Connecticut. Other poems explore the economic, environmental, and social damage done to towns through mining and industrial exploitation.

Calvocoressi's poetry is dark, vivid, and starkly beautiful, sprinkled throughout with images of coal dust, fire, and birds.If you enjoy horror or dark fantasy poetry, I think you'll really enjoy her work.

According to Ms. Calvocoressi, her work has been influenced strongly by poets such as Lucie Brock-Broido, Eavan Boland, Marie Howe, and Michael Klein.

Ms. Calvocoressi really ought to have a website, but she doesn't.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Suicidal poets

It is widely known that writers -- but particularly poets -- have higher incidences of mental ailments such as depression, alcoholism and bipolar disorders than the general human populace. Few people have an image of poets as being perky and gregarious, especially since some fairly well-known poets have ended their lives with suicide:

Many more people who've been amateur or aspiring poets have also killed themselves, but at the same time, many poets (professional and otherwise) avoid or never even consider depression's final solution. While the reasons for poets' suicides are varied, a pair of researchers published a paper comparing the work of nine of the above poets (see footnote) with work from a closely-matched control group of nonsuicidal poets. The researchers found that the language choices of suicidal poets held some telltale signs of their downward spiral.

James Pennebaker (a psychologist at the University of Texas) and Shannon Wiltsey Stirman (a psychology grad student at the University of Pennsylvania) published their research in an article called "Word Use in the Poetry of Suicidal and Non-Suicidal Poets" in Psychomatic Medicine in 2001.

Instead of finding verses that overtly dwelled on doom and death, they found that suicidal writers' work displayed a sense of isolation and detachment from other people and extreme introversion.

"One of the most telling words of all is the word 'I'." Dr. Pennebaker told a reporter for a Reuters article. "People who are suicidal or depressed use 'I' at much, much higher rates, and there's also a corresponding drop in references to other people."

The closer the poets moved towards suicide, the less they used words like "listen", "share", or "talk"; nonsuicidal poets tended to use such references to human interaction more and more as they aged. And while the suicidal poets did use more sexual and death-related imagery, they didn't especially dwell on topics like hate or anger. There was no real difference in the emotional content (whether positive or negative) between the two groups of poets.

Pennebaker cautions that not everyone who writes self-preoccupied poetry is going to kill themselves; their research just indicates a higher risk, not a guarantee.


The poets listed here who were not included in the study were Thomas Chatterton and Marina Tsvetayeva. Please send me a message if you know of other poets who should be included here.

An abstract of the Pennebaker/Stirman article can be found at: http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/content/full/63/4/517

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Miroslav Holub

Miroslav Holub was a scientist/physician and one of Czechoslovakia's most important (and prolific) poets. He was born on September 13, 1923 in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia and died on July 14, 1998.

After surviving both the Nazis and Stalin's reign of terror in his homeland, he studied science and medicine, first at Charles University in Prague (he earned his M.D. in 1953) and later at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (where he got his PhD in 1958). He worked first as a pathologist but later became a scholar and research scientist.

Holub began publishing his poetry in 1958 when his first collection Day Duty was released. During the last 40 years of his life, he published a total of 16 poetry collections and 10 books of essays.

His poetry strongly reflects his interest in medicine and pathology; he is an almost ideal poet for scientists. His work also deals with the horrors of war and some of it is quite political. Many of his poems express a melancholy sense of humor, and his hard science topics are leavened by his strong understanding of history and mythology.

If you're new to Holub's work, I suggest you start with a collection called Intensive Care that was released by Oberlin College Press in 1996. All the work in here is wonderful, and the translations seem very good (inexpert translation was apparently a problem with some of his earlier works that were converted to English). If you seek out his other works, the most reliable translations seem to have been produced by Ewald Osers.

Partial Bibliography

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Photograph of a Lady
There she sits still, image
locked on that illusory paper,
beautiful, but a little stiff.
She was posing in a time when
photography was serious business;
you had to be a prepared centerpiece,
not a storm petrel caught mid-second
in flight over the smooth, rolling waves.

(The rest of this poem is available in Sparks and Shadows).


(This poem originally appeared in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Issue #7, October 2000. Portions also appeared in The Indifference of Heaven by Gary A. Braunbeck, Obsidian Press, 2000).

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Permian Basin Blues

The sky's the color of my old blue jeans,
and the land is pulled tight by drought.
All the fields are perfectly smooth,
planed and drawn and quartered
by old farmers and good ol' boys
in their diesel-smoking tractors,
and everything is boxed off
into barbed-wire squares.

(The rest of this poem is available in Sparks and Shadows.)


(This poem originally published in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Issue #7, October 2000. Portions also appeared in In Silent Graves by Gary A. Braunbeck.)

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Hello, and welcome!

I'm Lucy Snyder. I'm a Worthington, Ohio author and former magazine editor; on this site you'll find my writing as well as features from my husband, novelist Gary A. Braunbeck.

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