Persona Speculative Poetry
edited by Jeannine Hall Gailey
Introduction to Issue 3
It was my honor and pleasure to be the guest editor for Eye to the Telescope’s third issue, an issue dedicated to a curious hybrid—speculative persona poetry. In the original call for submissions for the issue, I encouraged a wider definition of speculative poetry, including using the voices of comic book characters, folk tale heroes and heroines, Gods and Goddesses, and the usual assortment of alien/robot/zombies. All were equally welcome to this gathering.
The definition of persona poetry is poetry that is told from the first-person perspective of a character who explicitly is not the poet; the word “persona” is derived from the Latin for “mask.” I like persona poetry because it allows poets to use a lot of the tools available to fiction writers; it gives poets the permission to use the imagination, to free themselves from the strictures of autobiography. Speculative poets already push the limits of imagination in their work, so this is a uniquely ambitious kind of project. I also like persona poetry because in it, you can choose to retell stories from a different perspective—often a perspective left out of the original story. If you are interested in reading a little more about the definitions of and uses of persona poetry, you can check out this essay on the subject, available here: poemeleon.org/gailey-why-we-wear-masks-essay.
The two most common complaints I hear about contemporary poetry are that 1. it is boring, and 2. it is too difficult to understand. I'm hoping that you, dear reader, find that these poems will challenge both of those assumptions. We have a Barbie doll speaking from Mars here, Alice from Wonderland going on a date with Frankenstein’s monster. These escapades are accessible, entertaining, dramatic—in short, they make poetry fun.
I really enjoyed reading the poems submitted for this issue—voices from robots, aliens, fairy tale characters, all whispering in my ear, clamoring for attention. I think you'll enjoy these poems too!With all my best,