Sahtu Press Author Wins Rhysling Award 2016

Sahtu Press is pleased to announce that poet Krysada Panusith Phounsiri has just received the first place prize for his poem, “It Begins With A Haunting,” that first appeared in his debut collection of poetry, Dance Among Elephants, in 2015. The award was given by the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an international organization committed to poetry engaged with science fiction, fantasy and other imaginative genres.

This year, he shares the award with Ann K. Schwader for her poem “Keziah,” which appeared in her collection Dark Energies from P’rea Press. In the short form category, Ruth Berman’s “Time Travel Vocabulary Problems” was selected for first place, originally appearing in Dreams and Nightmares magazine.

Formally known as the Rhysling Award, it was first given in 1978 thanks to the vision of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s founder, Suzette Haden Elgin. The awards are now in their 38th year, and recognize the best poems of the year as nominated by members of the organization. A poem does not have to be written by a member to be nominated. Each year, the organization publishes the Rhysling Anthology now in electronic format and in a print edition so that members can more easily read the nominees’ work. This year, voting concluded on June 15th.

As a poem, “It Begins With A Haunting” can be read in many different ways. It primarily addresses the lingering consequences of the Secret War for Laos from 1954-1975, particularly unexploded ordnance, incorporating elements of the paranormal and the supernatural.

We were very excited to see people thought so highly of Krysada’s work. We have great expectations of his writing in the future.
— Nor Sanavongsay, Sahtu Press

A resident of San Diego, Krysada Panusith Phounsiri’s family has roots as refugees from the Bokeo province of Laos. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2010 with a Physics & Astrophysics Double Major with a Minor in Poetry. In addition to his skills as a writer, he is also an acclaimed photographer and dancer with a strong history of civic engagement. He was the recent chair of the 3rd National Lao American Writers Summit in San Diego on May 27-28th at the Centro Cultural De La Raza.  His photography has been featured in the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center’s online exhibit, “A Day In the Life of Asian America.”

Thank You all to the SFPA committee for voting. I felt that this story had to be told. With some spiritual and technical references. I want to continue to explore historical / Cultural narratives with a sci-fi twist. I’m truly honored to be a winner for the Rhysling Award this year. Representing for what I love to do.
— Krysada

The Rhysling Award is named after a blind poet featured in science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein’s 1947 short story ‘The Green Hills of Earth,” who left such an impression that the astronauts of the Apollo 15 mission to the moon named a crater after him in 1971, some 24 years later. The Rhysling Award winners are often reprinted in the Nebula Award anthologies of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and it is considered one of the top poetry awards in the speculative literature field.

You can visit the Science Fiction Poetry Association at

Nor Sanavongsay