The Kestrel

The Kestrel

I spied this evening gravity's bane, ground-
  Defying dusk's dirigible: an airship, soaring,
  Drifting in the dust-driven draft, mooring-
Mounted, engines churning, yearning to bound
Into the sky! Then, down, ‘round, and ‘round,
  As a raptor circles groundling prey, spooring,
  The Kestrel met the mooring, engines roaring.
Breath broken, I watched as her tether wound.
The ship's skin stretched, struts strained,
  Snapped! AND the fire that bloomed from within
Eclipsed the setting sun.  Downward sparks rained,
  Fiery teardrops reflected in their salty kin.
And yet, fantasies of flight remain;
  A tragic crash shan't quash the dreams of men.

— Stace Johnson, 2013

This poem appeared in Volume 9, issue 4 of Tales of the Talisman in May of 2014. It’s a pastiche of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “The Windhover“, hence the odd, “sprung” meter.

MileHiCon 47

Hmmm … it’s gotten to the point where the main thing I use my blog for is posting MileHiCon schedules. I need to change that. There are a lot of changes afoot, and my blog can be much better utilized than it is.

Anyway, MileHiCon is around the corner again, running October 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency DTC, as usual. Here’s my preliminary schedule:

Friday, October 23, 2015, 5:00 pm
Gained in Translation — Mesa Verde C

What genre novels originally written in other languages have seen success when translated into English? This seems like a fun and fascinating panel; I’m looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 24, 2015, 2:00 pm
MHC Poetry Reading — Mesa Verde A

David Lee Summers is back as moderator for this year’s poetry panel. I will read a few of my older SF poems and hopefully I will have something new to share, as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2015, 1:00 pm
Strange Stars: How SF&F Transformed Popular Music — Wind River A
This should be a fun panel. I’ve participated on panels like this before at MHC, and they were always a blast. There is a surprising amount of crossover influence between SF and music.

I will also be participating in the Texas Hold ‘Em tournament on Saturday night at 9pm, so if you’re a poker player, come join the game!

MileHiCon 46

It’s that time of year again! MileHiCon 46 is just around the corner, taking place from October 24th through the 26th, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver, CO  80237. Here’s my panel schedule:

Saturday, October 25, 2014, 4 pm
Poetry Fantastique — Mesa Verde A

I will be moderating the poetry panel this year, as David Lee Summers won’t be able to make it to the convention. I will do my best, and with a panel including Laura Deal, Gail Barton, and the energetic Dr. Rob S. Rice, it should be an easy job.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 11:00 am
Dark Net/Net Neutrality — Wind River A

This is a tech panel about current Internet privacy trends moderated by Arlen Feldman, with panelists Margaret Alia Denny, Deena Larsen, Marc MacYoung, and yours truly.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 4:00 pm
Privacy, Facebook, and Other Social Media — Wind River B

In a similar vein, this is another tech panel focusing on privacy rights in relation to Facebook and other social media platforms. Arlen Feldman is again the moderator (sorry, Arlen, you only get one link), with panelists John Barnes, Kronda Seibert, the mysterious T. Simpson, and myself.

I hope to see some of you there!


Publication Announcement

I arrived home from my first vacation in years Sunday to find a copy of Tales of the Talisman waiting in my mailbox. This is the issue that includes my steampunk sonnet, “The Kestrel”, which is a pastiche poem inspired by Gerard Manley Hopkins‘ “The Windhover“. (At least one other Colorado writer is represented in this issue: Ian Brazee-Cannon‘s story “A Night at the Club” also appears.)

Tales of the Talisman Volume IX, Issue 4

Tales of the Talisman Volume IX, Issue 4

Basically, I asked myself, “What if Gerard Manley Hopkins had been inspired more by technology than the priesthood?” I dug out my old Norton Anthology of English Literature and refreshed myself on Hopkins’ unique sprung rhythm so I could try to stay true to the meter of the original poem. Hopkins is my favorite poet, and in writing this pastiche, I meant no disrespect toward him or his work. I see it as more of a tribute to his writing, as well as an opportunity to work within a unique poetry framework, where the meter is dictated by the number of stresses in a line, rather than the number of syllables and feet.

Tales of the Talisman is a beautiful magazine, chock full of excellent writing. David Lee Summers did a great job putting this one together, and I’m honored to have my work represented.


MileHiCon 45

MileHiCon 45 is quickly approaching, and I have yet to publish my panel assignments, so here goes!

Friday, October 18, 2013

I’m not on any panels on Friday, but I will be stopping by in the evening to participate in the Friday edition of the Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament, which takes place in the Atrium at 9 PM.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Poetry Fantastique (1PM, Wind River B) – This year’s poetry panel should be excellent.  With the ever-cheerful David Lee Summers moderating and guests like Laura K. DealRobin M. Ambrozic, and Gail Barton, you can expect some excellent verse in general, but this year, it looks like Rhysling Award winner and multiple Pushcart Prize nominee Catherynne M. Valente will be joining us.  I’m honored to share a panel with all of these people.

I don’t have any other panels that day, but I’m looking forward to visiting other panels and participating in the Saturday edition of the Hold ‘Em Tournament.  (I took second place last year. :-))

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Patent-ly Ridiculous (1 PM, Wind River B) – Patent laws are in tremendous flux, with game changers like the international Trans-Pacific Partnership pending and 3D printing becoming more accessible to the average criminal person.  What does the future hold for intellectual property and copyright law?  I’ll be joining Arlen FeldmanVan Aaron HughesThea Hutcheson, and Rebecca Lickiss on this panel.

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow (4 PM, Mesa Verde A) – How do you know when a story/poem/song/novel/piece of artwork is ready to make its own way in the world? Should it even go out to the world? How true is the idea that a work of art is never truly finished, just abandoned? Join Ronnie SeagrenGary JonasCarrie VaughnRebecca LeeChaz Kemp, and me to wrap up the con.

As usual, MHC45 is being held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel – Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver CO.  See you there!