Sunday, June 30, 2013

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine

On June 30, 2013, Songs of Eretz launched the Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine.  Poetry of any genre and length will be considered for publication.  For details, please refer to the Guidelines listed in the "E-zine" tab.

Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD

Review of "The Banjo Player" by Fenton Johnson

The Banjo Player by Fenton Johnson (1888 - 1958) was offered by's Poem-A-Day on June 30, 2013.  The poem relates the perfect life of the wandering minstrel, a life for which I (and perhaps, secretly, all poets) yearn.  Interestingly, the poem describes what it means to be a troubadour, and yet ends with the line:  "What is a troubadour?"  And, in further proof that we are living in the Matrix and nothing we do really matters, I am currently working on a short story about a troubadour.  Creepy.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review of "Poppies on the Wheat" by Helen Hunt Jackson

Poppies on the Wheat by Helen Hunt Jackson (1830 - 1885) was offered by's Poem-A-Day on June 29, 2013.  Inspired by a trip to Italy, the poet waxes rhapsodic in beautiful rhyming verse about the wheat fields that she saw there dotted with poppies and other flowers.

Friday, June 28, 2013

New 'Ku: "fireflies of summer"

This evening at twilight as I sat on my deck in Kansas watching the fireflies blink on and off in my backyard, I began to think about how, on a cosmic scale, the life of a star is about as fleeting as a firefly's brief glow.  A nice haiku resulted.

Review of "Prayer" by Robert Glück

Prayer by Robert Glück was offered by's Poem-A-Day on June 28, 2013.  The poem is a simple, heart-felt prayer to (as revealed in the Poet's notes) the rhythm of a blues riff.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Greeting Card Poem: Child 6

As my steady followers may have noticed, I took a hiatus from writing greeting card poems.  I did this, after writing and submitting about eighty of them, to see what (if anything) would sell.  After several weeks of waiting, Blue Mountain Arts selected one my greeting card poems, Anniversary 6, for market review.  Now at least I know, perhaps, a bit more about what BMA wants, and I composed my latest greeting card poem, Child 6, with that in mind.  The poem sings of the many "firsts" that parents remember and treasure about their children.

New Poem: first contact

Another 5-7-5 scifaiku spawned from a group haiku chain, this one summarizes the thrill, fear, and joy of first contact in exactly one dozen words.

Review of "Getting Close" by Victoria Redel

Getting Close by Victoria Redel was offered by's Poem-A-Day on June 27, 2013.  In rambling free verse, this deeply personal poem recalls the poet's relationship with her mother, dead for thirty years.  Parts are poignant; other parts are maudlin approaching creepy.  Again, I question the value of publishing such personal poems in the absence of personal fame.

Songs of Eretz Discontinues Daily Reviews of Daily Science Fiction

Dear Loyal Readers and Followers,

On June 26, 2012, almost exactly one year ago, I began reviewing the stories appearing in Daily Science Fiction in Songs of Eretz.  Since then, I have read and reviewed every single offering from that source.  It was a difficult decision, but I have decided that it is time to move on to other projects.

As an author of speculative fiction with serious aspirations to make a living as a writer, one of my goals is to read as many speculative fiction stories as possible.  To insure that I read every story carefully and critically, as well as to gain more experience as a writer, I decided to write reviews of just about everything I read.  DSF made this task relatively easy by emailing me stories every weekday--stories that were generally short in length and varied in style and substance (and quality)--from hard core science fiction to fine pieces that were barely speculative in nature.

I have no doubt that I benefited greatly from the experience of reading and reviewing the offerings from DSF and hope that my loyal readers and followers have too.  However, if I am to grow as a writer, I need to expand my literary perspective by doing with other speculative serials what I have done with DSF.  From this point forward, I will continue to read some of the offerings from DSF but will only post reviews of the few that really move me (those in the 6 to 7 rocket-dragon range).

For the next several months or so, up to a year perhaps, I will be reading and reviewing the stories published in Fantasy & Science Fiction.  I have, as my readers and followers know, been doing so periodically right along, but my goal now will be to read and review all stories from this source during the months of the issues in question.  I am not quite finished reading the September/October 2012 issue, so I have a bit of catching up to do--a task I know I will enjoy immensely and hope my loyal readers and followers will too.  The stories in F&SF are generally longer and denser, so it is unlikely that reviews will be posted daily.

I send a tweet every time I make a post.  Accordingly, I particularly encourage those readers and followers who are only interested in DSF and F&SF reviews to follow me on Twitter @SongsofEretz.


Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review of "Theobroma Valentine" by Rand B. Lee

"Theobroma Valentine" by Rand B. Lee appeared in the September/October 2012 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  "A xeno-psychologist in orbit around a chocolate-producing planet questions her own sanity when some clients she was treating in virtual reality become virtually violent."

The sheer number of sapient alien life forms is mind-boggling delicious if a bit confusing.  The pace is just right, and the banter between the various characters provides a dash of humor.  The story starts and ends as a "find yourself" tale, then suddenly veers into a rather intriguing mystery.  And as for "theobroma?"  Look it up...