November 07, 2001
MARKETING SCIENCE FICTION POETRY by Scott E. Green
Sometimes poets have to go far and wide to find paying markets for their work. An area that many overlook and may not even know exists, as far as poets are concerned, is the science fiction and fantasy magazine and anthology markets. The challenge is knowing where to find them.
Before I talk about how to find markets for science fiction poetry it is necessary to know what constitutes a science fiction poem. There are three broad categories of poems that are bought by science fiction markets. The first is the science fiction poem. This is usually a narrative poem that uses themes from traditional science fiction literature such as space exploration, first contact and artificial intelligence. The second category is speculative poetry. Here the poetry talks about the same themes as science fiction poetry but does not use the language for the images associated with science fiction. A good example of this is Frost's 'The Road Less Taken', which can be interpreted about alternate time streams. The third broad category is science poetry. These are poems that talk about the lives of scientists and/or science and natural phenomena.
Perhaps the best place to find science fiction (and the occasional fantasy) poem is to go down to your local newsstand and pick up a copy of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. From its very beginning in the 70's this magazine has been the commercial showcase for all the forms of poems that could be considered science fiction with the occasional fantasy poem thrown in.
There are three very good sources for additional market information. Two of them are put out by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, which is this country's pre-eminent professional organization for science fiction and fantasy writers. They publish Bulletin, a quarterly magazine available to the general public. See:
At the back of the magazine they have a listing of numerous magazines, e-zines and anthology projects. However, they list only those titles that pay at least three cents a word for prose. There are numerous small press markets that pay less than three cents a word but are still markets for poetry. They often pay as much for poetry as some of the larger markets and are equally prestigious.
The second resource for market listings is a web page of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. It can be accessed at:
It has a new section (over 100 titles) that covers paying markets for prose and poetry. There are numerous links to magazines and their writer's guidelines on this web page.
The Horror Writers Association also maintains a web site at:
They also have market information but the focus is on small press markets that pay less than three cents a word for prose.
Finally, there is a small but professional association of poets who work in all three genres (science fiction, fantasy and horror), the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Among other things, they put out a newsletter called Star*Line which includes a column on markets both large and small. But again the emphasis is on small press rather than commercial. See:
One last note. Do not be afraid to send a science fiction poem to a market that says they do not buy science fiction. You simply do not tell them it is a science fiction poem. They may not classify it that way. Just send it in.
Scott E. Green has been active as a poet in the sf/f/h genres for over 20 years. His work has appeared in newsstand and small press publications. In 1989 ,Greenwood published his reference work on genre poetry; SCIENCE FICTION,FANTASY AND HORROR POETRY: A RESOURCE GUIDE AND BIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORY. For many years he was the publisher-editor of RISING STAR, a newsletter which covered paying markets in the science fiction/fantasy/horror and related genres.Currently he does market columns for the web page of the National Writers Union/UAW 1981 and STAR*LINE the newsletter of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. He is also President of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.
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