2017 Elgin Award Winners in Science Fiction Poetry Announced

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association recently announced the winners of the 2017 Elgin Awards, which are given to the best books of speculative poetry published in the preceding years.

Jeannine Hall Gailey, Neil Aitken, Jenna Lê, Marge Simon, Sandy DeLuca, Margaret Rhee, Wendy Rathbone, and John C. Mannone were named the recipients of the 5th-ever Elgin Awards. This year's chair was Josh Brown, who helped the organization and its 300+ members from over 19 countries identify 52 books to nominate.

It was a tremendous and at times exhausting undertaking, with collections ranging from haikus to experimental and formal verse. This year stood out because speculative poetry from the Hmong, Vietnamese, South Asian and Burmese diaspora was under consideration, as were works from Chinese-American, Korean-American, and Singaporean traditions to name just a few of the diverse perspectives reflected. Themes ranged from whales and starships to the early history of computing, robots, ghosts, the end of the world, and even the role of lightning in evolution.

44 presses were identified, with many having a nominated book for the very first time this year. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association was established in 1978 and marks its 39th anniversary in November. It oversees the Rhysling Awards, the Dwarf Star Awards and the Elgin Awards.

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Full Length Category
 First: Field Guide to the End of the World • Jeannine Hall Gailey (Moon City Press, 2016)

Second (tie): A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora • Jenna Le (Anchor & Plume, 2016) 

Second (tie): Small Spirits: Dark Dolls • Marge Simon (Midnight Town Media, 2016)

Third: DeadStarships • Wendy Rathbone (Eye Scry Publications, 2016)

Chapbook Category
First Place: Leviathan • Neil Aitken (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2016)

Second Place: Radio Heart, or; How Robots Fall Out of Love • Margaret Rhee (Finishing Line Press, 2016) 

Third Place: Apocalypse • John C. Mannone (Alban Lake, 2015)

The winners and nominees of the Elgin Awards this year represented a wide range of backgrounds including scholars, scientists and medical doctors, as well as elders and younger voices.

Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist's Daughter, and, winner of the Moon City Press Book Award, Field Guide to the End of the World. Her work has been featured on NPR's The Writer's Almanac, Verse Daily, and The Best Horror of the Year Vol. 6. Her website is webbish6.com.

Neil Aitken is the author of Babbage’s Dream (Sundress Publications, 2017) and The Lost Country of Sight (Anhinga Press, 2008), which received the Philip Levine Prize, as well as the poetry chapbook,  Leviathan (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2016). A former computer programmer, he now teaches writing and edits Boxcar Poetry Review.

Jenna Le is a Minnesota-born daughter of Vietnam War refugees, she earned her B.A. in mathematics before obtaining her M.D. She lives and works as a physician and educator in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire. She is the author of two full-length collections of poems, Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011) and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora(Anchor & Plume Press, 2016). Her poetry has appeared in AGNI Online, The Best of the Raintown Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, and Massachusetts Review.Her website is jennalewriting.com.

Margaret Rhee is a poet, artist, and scholar. She is the author of chapbooks Yellow (Tinfish Press, 2011), Radio Heart; or, How Robots Fall Out of Love(Finishing Line Press, 2015), and her forthcoming full-length collection, Love, Robot (The Operating System, 2017). Her project The Kimchi Poetry Machine was selected for the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 3. She edits Machine Dreams Zine, a free collection of creative and critical work on machines, arts, and difference. As a scholar, she is at work completing her first monograph, "How We Became Human: Race, Robots, and the Asian American Body. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in ethnic and new media studies. Currently, she is a Visiting Scholar at the NYU A/P/A Institute, and a Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo in the Department of Media Study. .

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, "Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side," and serves on Board of Trustees.  She is the second woman to be acknowledged by the SF & F Association with a  Grand Master Award. Marge’s poems and stories have appeared in Silver Blade, Bete Noire, Urban Fantasist, Daily Science Fiction, YOU, HUMAN, and CHIRAL MAD 2,3to name a few.margesimon.com

John C. Mannone has over 550 works published in venues such as New England Journal of Medicine, Inscape Literary Journal, Windhover, 2016 Texas Poetry Calendar, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, Event Horizon Magazine and Syzygy Journal. He was awarded a 2016 Weymouth writing residency and has two literary poetry collections: Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing, 2015) and one on disability, Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015) to be featured in Nashville’s 2016 Southern Festival of Books. He edits poetry for Silver Blade and Abyss & Apex and is a college professor of physics in east Tennessee. Visit jcmannone.wordpress.com

Wendy Rathbone has had hundreds of poems published since the late 1980s. She’s won numerous contests and awards, but most recently took second place for the 2017 Rhysling Award for “best short poem” and third place in the SFPA poetry contest in 2016 for “best long poem”. Her poems from seven different out of print chapbooks have been collected in an omnibus edition: Unearthly, available on Amazon (as are all her other books). Dead Starships is her newest collection of poems on the theme of moving beyond the Earth, outward to the unknown. Her poetry is heavily influenced by seasons, nostalgia and longing, as well as futuristic and fantastical images. Wendy also writes fiction. Her latest novel, a scifi lgbt romance, The Android and the Thief, came out this year (2017) from Dreamspinner Press. She is also the author of the scifi novels Pale Zenith and Letters to an Android, as well as many others. She lives in Yucca Valley, CA with her partner, Della Van Hise.

For more information about the SFPA you can visit www.sfpoetry.com

Sahtu Press