The Only Good Science Fiction Poems Ever Written Are By Jessy Randall

Illustration for article titled The Only Good Science Fiction Poems Ever Written Are By Jessy Randall

She's not exactly your typical science fiction writer, but Colorado poet Jessy Randall has done what precious few poets have ever done well: beautifully capture the way our emotional lives in the modern world have become infused with the imagery and alienness of science fiction. I just heard Randall give a reading in support of her new collection, A Day in Boyland (Ghost Road Press), and she had the audience eating out of her hand and laughing at poems about looking for boyfriends on other planets and imagining a future where women would have removable, sentient "bionic alabaster breasts."


I doubt Randall, who has been published in McSweenys, would characterize herself as an SF poet. Instead, she's preoccupied with space and science because it's part of the cultural imaginary around her and therefore she inevitably reflects that her verse. One of my favorite poems in A Day in Boyland is called "The Boring Conference Dinner," and it's a great example of how SF comes up in the middle of poems that aren't themselves focused on SF-ish subjects.

The poem is about — you guessed it — boring dinners at business conferences full of overly-jovial white guys. In the second section she writes:

Dinner consists of something in a puff pastry. But first there is a soup,

which is always a

thick, salty,
like the spore of an alien.

A boring alien.

Sometimes sarcastic, sometime full of awe and sadness, Randall's poems are smart, lovely observations for people whose emotional landscapes are populated by imaginary beings no less poignant than real ones.


Jessy Randall's homepage

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