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Eye to the Telescope 34, Tricksters, will be edited by Brittany Hause.

Folklore is rife with stories of sly smooth-talkers and clever innovators who go up against adversaries much bigger and stronger than themselves. Sometimes these tricksters fail in their ploys, but often, against all odds, they come out on top. Through deceit and luck and cunning—the old tales tell us—prey animals can turn the tables on their hunters. Little tailors can defeat the tallest giants, and simple peasants can win themselves whole kingdoms. On rare occasions, mere mortals can outmaneuver the gods. Even Death can be outwitted, for a time.

Whether framed as deities or regular folks—as wise role models, rascally clowns, or underhanded villains—trickster figures have fascinated audiences for centuries. For the 34th issue of Eye to the Telescope, we want original work that demonstrates why this is. So, send in any poems you've got that put the exploits of Anansi, Raven, or Reynard into a fresh perspective; poems that set Askeladden, Puss in Boots, or Coyote loose in new settings; poems that introduce readers to never-before-seen tricksters and fantastical scenarios of your own devising; poems with twist endings orchestrated by the characters we'd least suspect. Pieces submitted can be of any tone, length, or poetic form, but please keep in mind this is a speculative poetry journal, so submissions are expected to be identifiable as works of fantasy, sci-fi, mythopoeia, or an affiliated genre of fiction.

(Note: If your poetry pays homage to/utilizes elements of a specific body of folklore with which you have a meaningful personal connection—e.g. you hail from the culture with which a trickster character featured your work originates or is associated—and you would like this to be known, include the relevant information in your cover letter. Should your poem be selected for inclusion, the background info you've provided will be relayed in the introduction to the issue.)

Submission Guidelines


  • Please submit 1–3 poems in English (in body of e-mail, or attached as .doc, .docx, or .rtf). Translations from other languages are acceptable with the permission of the original poet (unless public domain).
  • Please send submissions to with the subject line “ETTT sub:” followed by the poet’s name.
  • Include a short bio.
  • Deadline: September 15. The issue will appear on October 15, 2019.

Payment and rights

  • Accepted poems will be paid for at the following rate: US 3¢/word rounded up to nearest dollar; minimum US $3, maximum $25. Payment is on publication.
  • The Science Fiction & Fantasy 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 unpublished poems) 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 & Fantasy 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.

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Interested in editing an issue of Eye to the Telescope? See the Editors’ Guidelines for information and requirements.