Oh hi! I’m glad you’re back! Or maybe you’re visiting me for the first time? Either way, I have a wonderful little book of poetry to introduce you to today:
This volume of collected poetry comes to us from Raven Electrick Ink and is edited by publisher/poet Karen A. Romanko.
Her bio, lifted from her website: Samantha Henderson lives in Covina, California by way of England, Johannesburg, Illinois, and Oregon. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales, various podcasts and Year’s Best collections. She’s the author of two tie-in books from Wizards of the Coast, Heaven’s Bones (Ravenloft) and Dawnbringer (Forgotten Realms). “In the Astronaut Asylum,” a collaborative poem with Kendall Evans was the winner of the 2010 Rhysling Award for long-form poetry.
She is also the editor of one of my favorite online poetry ‘zines Inkscrawl, which is published by Rose Lemberg at Stone Bird Press. Her poetry has been published in Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, Stone Telling, Star*Line, Mythic Delirium, and other venues. She is the winner of the Rhysling Award for “In the Astronaut Asylum,” co-written with Kendall Evans.
The House of Forever is Henderson’s first collection. But as it says above you can find her poetry (and fiction) published in myriad places on the web. It’s a slim volume of 45 pages and includes 21 poems and two evocative photographs.
Karen Romanko says in her introduction that this collection is of time-bending poems, that Henderson keeps you buffeting about in an unstable time-line. Now the present, now the past, now a different past. I agree there is much of that, this “bending of time”. It seems a way of showing how we are connected to the past and the future in indefinable ways and if we look (as Henderson has) we will see connections between Denny’s and dinosaurs (Cabazon), where objects from the past (Grandfather’s fountain pen) become the hero’s tools in the future.
It seems to me that Henderson’s poems are very interpretable. I mean, that despite vivid imagery and symbolism she is able to give each reader a very personal reading experience. Where Karen sees time bending in much of Henderson’s poetry, I see relationships (even with ghosts) bending, transforming, molding in ways surprising and revealing. She observes the beings around her (and in her imagination) and reveals our relationship to them, which by nature becomes a very personal thing.
From “Hungry: Some Ghost Stories” – Do you have any Ghosts? What do you feed them? and What ghosts have you spawned on your family, your children, your generations, yourself? And from “Reptile Brain” – They are what you have been. / They are what you will become. And from “Victory Garden (For Peg Duthie) – some things are painful / catch you there, under the ribcage … some things are painful, sweet / and catch you there.
The only thing to dislike about this collection is that it is so short. But then, its brevity lends itself to re-reading and with every re-read you uncover more and more, not unlike Henderson’s poem found within: “Like the Air, You Exist in Layers”. This is a collection that I invite you to read aloud. Reading aloud brings another layer of depth to these words. I’ve read “When They Woke” aloud for you – have a listen:
If you want to read some full length poems before going out and purchasing this collection you can find Henderson’s most recent poetry online:
- “Reverse Burn” (after Frankenstein, Edison Studios, 1910), a collaboration with Kendall Evans at Jabberwocky
- “Vesta Variations: Two Poems,” another collaboration with Kendall Evans, published at Astropoetica.
- “Quince,” Published at New Myths
Next time I’ll interview Bruce Boston, the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s first Grand Master and most decorated poet. We’ll learn a bit about the poet and his craft and discuss a couple of his most recent publications, “Anthropomorphisms” and “Notes from the Shadow City” with Gary William Crawford.