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Issue 19 of Eye to the Telescope will be edited by Curtis Shumaker.

In Moby Dick, Ahab says, “All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks… If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall?”

Hermes Trismegistus founded Hermetic philosophy, which gave rise to Western science, with the motto “as above, so below,” which means that the external cosmos is essentially a map of the human condition—to understand the universe is to know ourselves.

Jorge Luis Borges wrote, “Myth is at the beginning of literature, and also at its end.”

Leonard Cohen sang, “Every word is a blazing light.”

This issue of Eye to the Telescope will be devoted to speculative poetry that treats the visible world as sacramental, as symbolic, as mythical. We seek poems that strike behind the masks of the visible world, revealing the profound truths of existence they conceal. We seek poems that trace the human soul through the machinery of the universe. We seek poems that illuminate the mythic in everyday experience. We seek poems that find ways to kindle the hidden light in each word. We seek poems that allow us finally enter the sacred temple that is the world.

Submission Guidelines


  • Please send submissions to with the subject line “ETTT sub:” followed by the poet’s name.
  • Please submit 1–5 poems in English (in body of email or attached as .rtf).
  • Include a short bio.
  • Deadline: December 15, 2015. The issue will appear on January 15, 2016.

Payment and rights

  • Accepted poems will be paid for at the following rate: US 3¢/word rounded to nearest dollar; minimum US $3, maximum $25. Payment is on publication.
  • Payment can be made to either the translator or the poet or split between the translator and the poet, as agreed upon in each individual case.
  • The Science Fiction Poetry Association normally uses PayPal to pay poets, but can also send checks.
  • Eye to the Telescope is an online publication. Therefore, First Electronic Rights (for original translations of poems) or reprint electronic rights are being sought.

Who can submit?

Anyone writing speculative poetry.

What is Speculative Poetry?

Speculative poetry is poetry which falls within the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and supernatural horror, plus some related genres such as magic realism, metafiction, and fabulation. It is not easy to give precise definitions, partly because many of these genres are framed in term of fiction rather than poetry.

A good starting point is “About Science Fiction Poetry” by Suzette Haden Elgin, the founder of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Despite its title, this article is applicable all forms of speculative poetry.

Tim Jones, editor of Issue 2, had a go at defining science fiction poetry on his blog, in two parts (These blog posts date from 2009, and the Voyagers anthology has since been published. These posts do refer specifically to science fiction poetry, rather than the broader field of speculative poetry.):

What Is the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA)?

As the SFPA says on its website at, “The Science Fiction Poetry Association was founded in 1978 to bring together poets and readers interested in science fiction poetry. What is sf poetry? You know what they say about definitions—everybody has one. To be sure, it is poetry (we’ll leave that definition to you), but it’s poetry with some element of speculation—usually science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Some folks include surrealism, some straight science.”

See the SFPA site for lots more information—and please consider joining.