Tag Archives: scifaiku

Scifaiku: Planet Pluto

Illustration of Planet Pluto poem

Planet Pluto
in the kuiper belt
dwarves mingle with comets
size doesn’t matter

A Scifaiku by Wendy Van Camp
Illustrated by Wendy Van Camp

This scifaiku poem is inspired by the status of the ninth planet of our solar system. Pluto had been regarded as a planet for decades, but recently was downgraded to being a dwarf planet. There are those who would see this world restored to full planet status.

This poem appears in “The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection” available on AMAZON.

Scifaiku Poetry Workshop at Janet Goeske Center

Poetry is special to me. I am a published poet of many years and I specialize in scifaiku poetry. This is science fiction themed haiku. This past December, I had the pleasure of teaching a scifaiku poetry workshop in Riverside, CA.

The Janet Goeske Center hosts over 200 classes for the active seniors of its area. The instructor of the literature class, Celena Diana, has been teaching literature at the Center for the past eight years and her class is ongoing and open to members there. She invites readers for their Tuesday Literary Series.

Celena had invited me to be a speaker to her class back in 2018 and we scheduled ahead of full year before I arrived. She told me I could read any of my work to the class. Most of my writing peers had read from their prose. I asked if I could read poetry and talk about the local poetry community. She agreed.

I started the workshop by reading a selection of poems from my new poetry collection “The Planets”. Followed by several of my longer science fiction themed poems. After the reading, I passed around a stack of my scifaiku art prints as a sort of “show & tell” item. These are illustrations of the scifaiku poetry I sell across the United States at various science fiction art shows.

The artwork was a prompt for a long Q&A session. We discussed: journaling, fountain pens, creating artwork with your poems, places to publish science fiction poetry, where to find inspiration, etc. I did not have to pick and choose who to talk to, their teacher handled all that. It made my job easier and it seemed to give confidence to the students.

I finished the Q&A by telling the story of how I became a poet. In “The Poet In Spite of Herself” I explain the accidental way I stumbled into a scifaiku poetry workshop at a local science fiction convention. There I wrote my first scifaiku poem and sold it on the spot. Being budding poets themselves and unsure if they could write a poem in this unique form, the story gave them the confidence that anyone could write scifaiku.

This led to the workshop. Instead of slides, I have a large paper poster board that can folds into a triangle so that it pops up on its own. My analog slides are pre-made for the class. On the back of the poster board, is a functioning whiteboard that I use for brainstorming during the class. I use this because most of the time I am teaching small groups without access to audio/visual supplies. Since this was a large class of 20 with a professional whiteboard on the wall, I ended up using the larger provided whiteboard. The workshop started with explaining the parts of scifaiku, the form that the poetry takes, and how to brainstorm ideas via my method of generating phrases that become the final poem.

I found the group to be exciting to teach because they were a highly creative group of writers delighted to discover a new form of poetry. The class ran longer than the one hour I had been scheduled for, but their teacher told me to go ahead and finish because the students were engaged. At the end of the session, I asked the students to write their scifaiku poem and we would share the poetry after the break.

While the students grabbed a cup of coffee or a snack, I signed a few books, had several further discussions about poetry and illustration before we resumed the workshop. I asked if anyone wanted to read the poem they wrote. Six people raised their hands. The poems they recited were excellent! I was so pleased. As a teacher, you don’t always know how well your class will respond to the course. Evidently, I made a favorable impression. Their teacher Celena kept telling her students to submit their work to their group anthology or to a manuscript they were collating with her guidance. They were excited about poetry and kept telling me what a fun time they had. I had a great time with them too!


I enjoy teaching and prompting poetry in my local area. If your writing group is in the Los Angeles area, I am open to teaching my poetry workshop to your group. Contact me via my website if you are interested.

A Primer on Speculative Poetry by Kimberly Nugent

When Wendy approached me about writing an article for “No Wasted Ink,” I was thrilled and immediately began to waffle about which idea to put to digital paper. Despite a career in editing, I kept coming back to a topic about which both Wendy and I are passionate, speculative poetry. Genre poetry has a lovely community of poets, and a thriving market for both paid and unpaid submissions.

Like a lot of creators, I had a long break from poetry until editing an e-zine that featured speculative poetry. I was fascinated and thrilled! So, I began writing again. Whether you are returning to poetry, looking for a change in your existing poetry, or would like to write for the first time, I have a few tips for writing in general, and a few specific to speculative poetry.

Keep a notebook. This notebook can be a 99-cent special or something bound in leather, but whatever you pick, keep it with you. And keep your favorite writing implement in stock. Keep pencils in your car, pens in your purse, grab some markers, something that will make a mark. I previously kept notes digitally but have since switched back to physical writing. Not only do you not have to worry about backups or where you saved that file, you will find the thought required to put words on paper also puts contemplation into your ideas and word choices.

Write. Just write in that lovely notebook. It can be anything from words and phrases to outlines and perhaps even a rough draft. But don’t worry about form—yet. The goal here is just to create the words that will build your poetry. Feel free to be wordy. Write in the margins, make notes. The more words in your notebook, the easier to compose your verses. Also, I find inspiration in various media, especially scientific articles and lectures! Your muse can be anywhere, so be sure to jot down all your ideas.

Buy a good form reference book. Now that you have those lovely thoughts and phrases, combine them into the forms that feel natural to the ideas when writing your final poem. I suggest buying at least one (or more!) form reference books. Two of my favorites are “The Prosody Handbook: A Guide to Poetic Form” by Beum and Shapiro and “The Book of Forms” by Turco. The more you write and create, the more you should challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone. If you generally write a sonnet, try an epic poem or haiku! What specifically sets speculative poetry apart is the topic. The is sky is NOT the limit! Putting the fantastical, science fiction, and even mythological themes into form (and yes, you can include free verse) is what will set you apart from flash fiction and the short story.

After you write your poetry, always let it sit overnight before you make any changes. Like prose writing, a little distance between yourself and the words will make the editing process easier. Now is also the time to share your work with a trusted listener or reader. Your sounding board should give both praise and constructive feedback.

Your edits are complete, your trusted evaluator has appraised your efforts, and you are ready to submit your first poem! But, where? The largest poetry-only markets typically shy away from genre poetry, however, there are organization specifically for the speculative poet. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) and Horror Writers Association are both excellent resources for a genre poet. Also, look for publications and journals that are focused on certain forms in addition to genre-specific publications.

When you have decided on a market, read the submission guidelines carefully. Always follow their directions and pay close attention to if the market accepts simultaneous submissions or those that have been previously published. I also highly recommend you keep a log of your submissions so you can keep track of where you place your poems, and which publications you should follow up with.

The most important thing after submitting your work is to congratulate yourself! Whether your first submission or your 100th is your first published poem, creating a work you can be proud to submit is an accomplishment in itself.


Kimberly Nugent lives near the beautiful Sandia Mountain range and edits speculative fiction and RPGs. She spends her free time with her family, cats, and various nerdy hobbies! You can find her on Twitter at @BlueTeaEditing

Quantum Visions Next launches at #LosCon46

Quantum Visions Next. Volume 8 of an annual science fiction short story and poetry anthology

For the last five years, I have participated in an anthology of science fiction short stories and poetry created by editor Jude-Marie Green. The writers all used to be part of a science fiction writing critique group in the Los Angeles area. While the critique group has dissolved, Jude-Marie continues to invite us to participate in the anthology. My fellow writers are WOTF award winners, clairon graduates, or people involved in the sciences. I’m honored to be included in the project.

In previous years, Quantum Visions was printed and stapled by hand chapbook style. Each year, the annual would be launched at LosCon in Los Angeles, CA.  Many of the attendees look forward to purchasing and having all the authors sign the book at the convention.

I have sold these chapbook issues at various book tables for the last few years.  This year, our editor has decided to place the anthology on Amazon, both as an ebook and as a paperback. It looks quite professional and the stories this year are the best we’ve offered to date.  At last Quantum Visions is available to all my readers.

This year’s edition features my flash fiction, We Can Rebuild Him, and five of my illustrated scifaiku poems.

You can find the book on AMAZON

Writers of Quantum Visions Next
Writers of Quantum Visions Next: Jamie Cassidy-Curtis, David R. Moore, Wendy Van Camp, Jude-Marie Green, Chrome Oxide.

The Planets: a #scifaiku Poetry Collection Launches

THE PLANETS
a scifaiku poetry collection
written and illustrated by Wendy Van Camp
New Release #scifaiku #haiku #astropoetry
BUY THE EBOOK

The planets have fascinated humanity since the dawn of time. We’ve looked up into the heavens and wondered what these wandering stars are and why they are different from their more stationary cousins. In modern times, humans have sent probes to all the planets in our solar system, sending back tantalizing views from faraway worlds. The planets are woven into our culture and history. They are signposts of our journey ahead.

This collection of 108 science fiction haiku poems (scifaiku) will take you on a journey of exploration showcasing tiny moments of wonder with each of the planets of our solar system.

Come share in the adventure.


I’m pleased to announce the launch of my long-awaited poetry collection, “The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection”.  Scifaiku has been a passion of mine for the past four or five years. Not only do I regularly publish the poems, but I also illustrate and sell them as art prints at the various science fiction conventions that I attend.  Some of the poems in this collection have previously published in magazines such as “Far Horizons”, “Quantum Visions”, or “Lit Up” on Medium. I’ve also performed a few sets of them at live open-mic readings.

Most of the 108 short poems in this collection were written for the book and are not seen elsewhere. Likewise, all the pen and ink line art was created by me for this volume.   I felt that I should do the art myself since I have a history of illustrating my poems in the past.

This is the ebook launch of “The Planets”, but a paperback is in the works and should be available shortly for all of you who prefer paper.