By Robb Murray
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — It was a day of words,
A day of rhyme.
Their poems were clever,
Dare we say sublime.
(OK, sorry about that.)
Let’s try this: The Southern Minnesota Poets Society met Saturday and hosted a special guest group. The Lady Poetesses From Hell, a mostly Twin Cities-based group of mostly women who write poems mostly about science fiction.
At Saturday’s event, held at the Twin Rivers Center for the Arts, four members of the group took turns reading poems they’d written both recently and years ago.
The subject matter included cloud spinners, vampires, miniature solar systems, myriad ways to murder someone, aliens and colonizing the moon, aunt Jane and dinosaurs as pets, among others.
One of the so-called Lady Poetesses is Mankato’s own John Rezmerski. He said he’s been with the group since the mid-1990s. Back then it was science fiction writing group that got together to critique each other’s work. When that effort petered out, they regrouped.
“We thought, ‘Let’s focus on poetry,’” Rezmerski said.
And thus, the group was born. Not long after that, the name came along. It was originally conceived as a group of women writers. But they made room for Rezmerski.
Terry A. Garey said she was around in the 1970s when the idea of science-fiction poetry was still trying to take root.
“It was a struggle at first to even get readings at sci-fi conventions,” Garey said.
Then, in the late 70s, they held the first one. From then on, it grew.
“It’s picking up now. Before, science fiction poetry would have authors listed as ‘anonymous,’” poet Rebecca Korvo said. “Not anymore.”
Nope. Today it’s an accepted part of the science fiction world, and there are several publications that feature science fiction poetry, including Starline, the poetry publication of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.
At Saturday’s reading, four poets — Rezmerski, Garey, Korvo and Ruth Berman — took turns reading. When it was over they took comments and questions from the audience.
“You sure have a lot of fun,” one attendee said. “You make it fun for us to listen to.”