...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

July 13, 2006

Wednesday is Poetry Day: Joe Haldeman

Victor here, off from work and a bit groggy still from anaesthetic. Long story.

I'm sorry annika is having computer difficulties and I hope she doesn't mind my jumping the gun. If she does, I'm blaming the anaesthetic, but Wednesday's just arent' the same without poetry.

I also blame the anaesthetic for any typos and major errors in grammar.

Joe Haldeman is a Viet Nam vet and science-fiction writer whose first novel, The Forever War, won both the Hugo and Nebula awards as best SF novel of the year. He's written many, many SF novels and short stories since, and also a fair bit of poetry.

His works frequently include military themes, and this is reflected in his poetry. Of course, I can't find one poem of his I'm particularly looking for; I fear the book it was in may have been given away during a move. It's a shame: It didn't really rhyme; instead, words were repeated in a specific pattern which gave it the quality of a chant. It's a shame you won't be reading it today.

Instead, I'll present one of his science fiction poems. As far as I know, Mr. Haldeman might be the first to combine science fiction and poetry. This particular example tells a story--a science fiction story, to be sure, but a story nevertheless, and to me it seems this story could only be told as a poem. It was linked from his website and also has a copyright notice at the bottom. Because of that, I present only the first stanza (I don't think the anaesthetic defense would protect annika) and I hope you click the link to finish the poem. I find it's quite touching.

Eighteen years old, October eleventh

Drunk for the first time in her life,
she tossed her head in a horsey laugh
and that new opal gift sailed off her sore earlobe,
in a graceful parabola,
pinged twice on the stone porch floor,
and rolled off to hide behind the rose bushes.

Read the rest of 'Eighteen years old, October eleventh'

Posted by Victor, Jul. 13, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Poetry


I always thought the Forever war would make a kick ass mini series.

Posted by: kyle8 on Jul. 13, 2006

That poem is genius. Of course, I might be biased since I turned 18 on October eleventh...

Posted by: Sarah on Jul. 15, 2006