Saturday, November 26, 2016

Review by FC Lee of “Constellation of the Dragonfly” by F.J. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmann won both the Elgin Award and the Rhysling Award for her speculative poetry, and her chapbook "Constellation of the Dragonfly" (Plan B Press, 2008, available for $13 from contains excellent examples of her work in both science fiction and fantasy. Bergmann's wordplay is often clever--a cleverness which is showcased in the anagrammatic acrobatics of “Atonal Bisque.”

Being a lapsed mathematician, I particularly enjoy "i is for Imaginary," a poem that charmed me from its second line: "i peers over the windowsill of algebra." I am likewise beguiled by "Captivity" with its fugitive houses:

Houses escaped when they got the chance,
skidding along briskly on wooden runners,
stalking sedately on scaly legs, floating on the foaming surge
of a rising tide, driven by the wind.

I love the whimsical idea of the opening poem, “Moonlighting,” and how “Astroculture” conveys situation and character so compactly, as well as the humorous yet affectionate angle on child-rearing in “First Contact” and the strangeness of “Angels Move into the House Next Door,” a poem that reminded me of Kathy Koja's superb short story, "Angels in Love." I derive disproportionate entertainment from the shortest poem, “New Physics” and enjoy the details of “Memento Mori.”  However, my favorite poem in the collection is the delightful "Haute Cuisine with Elementary Particles," a poem that nods to Douglas Adams and plays with physics.

--Mary Soon Lee

Editor's Note:  F. J. Bergmann's poetry has been previously featured in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review (

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