…honey dripped in Loki’s gaze

TODAY is the last day to vote for my poem on eating and horse-boiling (Tattertongue), published last year by Strange Horizons.  There are a number of different categories to vote in, and lots of excellent writing to explore, if you feel so inclined.  If you happened to enjoy my poem, and feel it deserves ranking, please vote!  It’s under ‘poetry,’ then ‘Tattertongue, by Jenn Grunigen.’  Many thanks!

Cast your vote here.

My Books are Cannibals

Each time I finish writing a book, I look up, wondering why the sound of battle has yet to fade.  Why I haven’t transcended, why my brain doesn’t suddenly feel fat with wisdom, why I haven’t sprouted myself a lovely pair of goat horns that spew story like Loki shoves out baby Sleipnirs.  Actually, that’s exactly what my process is like, already–minus the horns and the eight-legged horses.

But I really would like a pair of goat horns.  How useful they’d be, for ramming into things when I’m lacking catharsis even after writing THE END on the last page (which , by the way, is something I never do.  Nothing’s ever done.).

I don’t have goat horns, though.  (Cavan has a giant cow’s horn, but there’s only the one, and it’s not growing out of my skull–how useless.)   So instead of smashing things, I go out and buy myself a book.  It’s helpful to remind myself I’m not alone in this bloody cycle.  More importantly, it’s good to know that some people make the rounds with gore-stained swords and oily guns–I might not be to that point yet myself  (I’m still using my canines and ragged nails), but it’s good to see that advanced weaponry exists.

There’s another reason I  buy myself a book after I’ve finished writing one, though.  The real reason.  I buy these books to forget; somehow plunging headfirst into the toothy baby some wretched author birthed makes me forget that the baby (the, uh, process–the writing) exists in the first place.  I mean, hel.  After I finished The Dream Tree, I bought myself A Dance with DragonsProblematic, but entertaining.

A week ago, I finished another book (it has a name: FABLE).  This time, I’m choosing to climb inside the baby’s mouth.  I will stay awake to the cycle of teeth, but I’ll do it from the comfort of a well-cushioned baby’s-tongue.  (What have I DONE to this analogy?)  Which begs the question, of course–just what sweet, hungry book have I chosen this time ’round?

Since you’ve kept on reading past the bit about the baby’s tongue, I’ll reward you with an answer:

At the Mouth of the River of Bees, by Kij Johnson.

When I’ve finished reading it, I’ll let you know if I feel gnawed, replete, or just slimy with milkblood baby spit.

Ekphrastic 25/The Fox Woman

Ekphrastic 25/The Fox Woman

[currently on-submission]


This is it.  My last ekphrastic.  Only probably not.  But it’s the last one I’ll probably ever write on a schedule (not that I adhered to that schedule very well.  My timeline existed conceptually, but not actually).  Anyway, this particular poem was written for the book The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson, who wrote my favorite novel of last year, Fudoki (which I also wrote an ekphrastic for).


Previous ekphrastic: Ekphrastic 24/Death Note


What the hel is ekphrasis + Ekphrastic Poetry Archive (For poems about A Game of Thrones, Fudoki, The Hunger Games, Blood Meridian, etc–basically, just the stuff to fulfill your brain’s literary sugar-cravings.)



This is the way of the world: you get what you want and you’re just left wanting more.  My first professionally published poem is now available through Strange Horizons.  Needless to say, I am QUITE excited.  Even so, it’s a quiet excitement.  A spontaneous black hole excitement.  At random points in the day, I’ll remember: someone gave me money for my words.  My blog is no longer the only place that publishes me.  That says something!  Justification!  I’m REAL.  And then, after the blip of joy that inevitably follows such thoughts, I think moremoremore.  Getting published is good incentive to keep trying to get published.  It’s some sort of drug, I guess.

So.  The poem.  TATTERTONGUE:

Where have you been, Tattertongue?
     lying with pelvis and ribcage
     wanting want
     old. old.
     reading the mouth for
     sugared ginger for
     blood sausage

Why did you leave?

(…read more)

*** *** ***

Speaking of more, not long after this poem was released, I received another acceptance for another poem.  Won’t say much about it now, except alien vampires.

Ekphrastic 23/The Drowning Girl: A Memoir

I begin in winter. Me, Winter.
(I beg in winter.)
Slow veined, should have shut off the water
for the season.

An avalanche from her mouth, her singing
down my throat
bisecting me from my summer legs
my wolf legs.

Sea-wolf, the orca is called
but she’s no killer and neither are they, so none of this is true.
And her name is Trawl, urchin salmon and stipe-threaded
she approaches the cannery.

Back in summer.
Seasons on a clockface.
What mysteries he made of your esophagus.

How you try to howl as you smile.

*** *** *** ***
I just can’t stop writing about this book.  If my fingers touch my keyboard, the words I write are marked by it.  Next week, I’ll write something resembling a review for The Drowning Girl: A  Memoir and maybe try to figure out this obsession.

*** *** *** ***

Previous ekphrastic: Ekphrastic 22/The Drowning Girl


What the hel is ekphrasis + Ekphrastic Poetry Archive (For poems about A Game of Thrones, Fudoki, The Hunger Games, Blood Meridian, etc–basically, just the stuff to fulfill your brain’s literary sugar-cravings.)

the man-factory

Mosh-pit disaster-preparedness, phallic stuff, a garden of books.  Also, why I love doing dishes.  And enough links to feast upon:

The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 174): Inteview with Seanan McGuire (So.  I listen to anything that involves Seanan talking.  Because she gives the best interviews.  Really.  And has quirky loves like I do (disease! zombie-preparedness!).  Also, check out the SF Squeecast, of which she’s a part of.  Just saw they posted an new episode, and thought something along the lines of–Hel yes!  Dishes!  because I like to keep my hands busy with mindless tasks while I listen to podcasts.  S0: SF Squeecast means the only time I scrub things with verve.)

Why I don’t Own a Firearm (Disseminating pointless writing advice.  This article explains one–of many reasons–I stopped reading Writer’s Digest.  Also, there’s brainsplatter, which I always enjoy.)

Ephemeral Garden of Decomposing Books (Books and decay, two of my favorite things.)

Mosh pits could aid could aid disaster planning (Need I say more?  No.)

Is this bestselling fantasy author sexist? (So, I was thinking of reading Rothfuss.  But had this…suspicion, probably inserted into my brain due to all the reading I do concerning sf/f and sexism…after investigating this suspicion, I think–instead–I’ll start on a piece that’s been called the best book of 2012 by numerous parties.  Also: if you ever doubted straight white men are basically churned out of a fucking factory–more on sexism and brainless writing.)

Ekphrastic 20/Wonders of the Invisible World

Floss, spider webs, flax , from scalps
these are the wonders
the wanderers, their fish-belly key.
A blonde prism/on, wonder ous.

Good luck finding
the invisible, if you’re too dark to
turn to cold breath to
grub between the silken rawhide.

I also reviewed this book.

Anyway.  Twenty ekphrastic poems.  HEL.  That’s a lot.  Only it’s not, considering that I’ve been writing these things for exactly a year and a month (I posted my first ekphrastic on January 15th, 2012).  Only twenty to show for all that time?  Obviously, I’m not trying hard enough.  I started writing them for deception.  I wanted to trick my skull-meat into thinking about art.  Not just swallowing it (yes, brains have mouths).  But recently, I’ve started reviewing each book I read, and that’s working far better.  Poetry’s too abstract (if you make it so); I can get away with too much shiit and say too little.

So, I’m going to hit 25 ekphrastics and stop.  But not really.  My next poetic project is this: work through Lewis Turco’s The New Book of Forms, which is what it says–a book of poetic form.  Countless kinds of poetry for me to learn.  I’ll go through the whole thing, form by form, week by week.  Embarrassment by embarrassment.  You have permission to jeer at my ass-baring.

….in the meantime, I’m going to go cuddle my last few weeks of ekphrasis.


Previous ekphrastic: Ekphrastic 19/Sisters, Pain of Salvation (Sean Thomas covers)


What the hel is ekphrasis + Ekphrastic Poetry Archive (For poems about A Game of Thrones, anime, music, The Hunger Games, Blood Meridian, etc–basically, just the stuff to fulfill your brain’s literary sugar-cravings.)

glitter and mayhem

It all started on Twitter. We were basking in the glow of Chicago’s Worldcon and missing that special feeling that comes from hanging out with friends at a convention.

John mentioned that if he went to next year’s Worldcon in San Antonio, he wanted to throw a glitter party for all the science fiction and fantasy people that he knows. Michael helpfully showed John a link to The Rollercade, San Antonio’s #1 roller skating rink that does black light/glow-in-the-dark roller skate parties. Not exactly a glitter party (and what was that anyway?) but pretty awesome nonetheless.

We decided in an instant that not only were we going to the San Antonio Worldcon, but that we had to go to The Rollercade for a glow-in-the-dark roller skating party.

But why just throw a glow-in-the-dark roller skating party when you can also make it a book release party? And what’s better than a glow-in-the-dark roller skating party celebrating a book about the secret history of 20th Century nightlife/party culture?

Nothing, that’s what.

So we’re editing, assembling, and printing an anthology as a co-production with Apex Publications between now and August of 2013 when we’re all in San Antonio for Worldcon. Yes, that’s foolish and overly optimistic, but it fits the title that Kat Howard unintentionally gave us: Glitter and Madness. Lynne quickly crafted a writing prompt:

Roller Derby, nightclubs, glam aliens, (literal) party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, debauchery, etc.

Glitter & Madness will be published by Apex Publications and will feature a standalone novella from New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire set in her InCryptid universe. We also have commitments from other talented writers including Alan DeNiro, Amal El-Mohtar, Daryl Gregory, Damien Walters Grintalis, Maria Dahvana Headley, Kat Howard, Vylar Kaftan, Jennifer Pelland, Tim Pratt, Cat Rambo, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Diana Rowland, Sofia Samatar, David J. Schwartz, William Shunn, and Rachel Swirsky. There will be an open reading period so we can uncover glamorous writers that we’ve overlooked.

Lynne M. Thomas
Michael Damian Thomas
John Klima

Yanked from the Glitter and Madness Kickstarter page.  Support ‘em so we can read Seanan’s story.  Also, debauchery. !