2020 Rhysling Award Winners

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, of which I am a member, has just announced the winners of the 42nd annual Rhysling Awards for best speculative poems of the year.

The winners were selected in two categories, Long Form and Short
Form Poems, which were nominated by the members of the organization. From 67 publications. 77 poems in the Short Form category and 49 poems in the Long Form category were reviewed for almost 16 weeks by the membership, which includes award-winning educators, scholars, and poets from a diverse range of literary traditions and specializations. This year, the membership selected the following winners (links to the poems included where possible):

SHORT

First Place
“Taking, Keeping” • Jessica J. Horowitz • Apparition Lit 5

Second Place
“when my father reprograms my mother {” • Caroline Mao • Strange Horizons, Fund Drive

Third Place (tie)
“Creation: Dark Matter Dating App” • , Sandra J. Lindow • Asimov’s SF, July/August, and 
“The Day the Animals Turned to Sand” • Tyler Hagemann • Amazing Stories, Spring 2019

LONG

First Place
Heliobacterium daphnephilum • Rebecca Buchanan • Star*Line 42.3

Second Place
“The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly” • Theodora Goss • Uncanny 28

Third Place
“Ode to the Artistic Temperament” • Michael H. Payne • Silver Blade 42
and 
“The Macabre Modern” • Kyla Lee Ward • The Macabre Modern and Other Morbidities (P’rea Press)

In January 1978, Suzette Haden Elgin founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association, along with two of its visible cornerposts: the association’s newsletter, Star*Line, and the Rhysling Awards. The Rhysling Awards are named for the blind poet Rhysling in Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “The Green Hills of Earth.” Rhysling’s skills were said to rival Rudyard Kipling’s. In real life, Apollo 15 astronauts named a crater near their landing site “Rhysling,” which has since become its official name. SFPA Grand Master David C. Kopaska-Merkel served as the 2019 Rhysling Chair this year.

Nominees for each year’s Rhysling Awards are selected by the membership of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Each member is allowed to nominate one work in each of two categories: “Best Long Poem” (50+ lines; for prose poems, 500+ words) and “Best Short Poem” (0–49 lines; for prose poems, 0–499 words). All nominated works must have been first published during the preceding calendar year of the awards year. Winning works are regularly reprinted in the Nebula Awards Anthology from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc., and are considered in the SF/F/H/Spec. field to be the equivalent in poetry of the awards given for prose work—achievement awards given to poets by the writing peers of their own field of literature.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association thanks everyone who was involved in the process and volunteered their time. The Rhysling award recognizes these winners and so many other poets who are adding their voices to the diversifying body of speculative poetry, and we congratulate the winners and nominees with our best wishes for continued inspiration and opportunities in the future. Thanks also go to all of the publishers who created space for speculative poetry in their pages and encouraged an increased appreciation for imaginative verse around the world.

The *Rhysling Award* winners up through 2005 have been collected in a handsome volume: *The Alchemy of Stars*, the *Rhysling Award* winners from 1978 – 2004 showcase. *The Alchemy of Stars II*, showcases the *Rhysling Award* and the *Dwarf Stars Award* winners from 2005 through 2019.

Published by Michael Janairo

Writer. Reader. Coffee drinker. Fiction. Poetry. Art. Museums. (My family name is pronounced "ha NIGH row.")

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