Guest Author - Jessica Smith
For those interested in poems of the fantastical strain, the online journal Goblin Fruit is a great place to look both for submissions and reading pleasure.
This poetry quarterly perfectly fits the definition of fantasy poetry. Each issue features poems carefully and tastefully chosen by its editors: Amal El-Mohtar and Jessica P. Wick, each successful poets in their own right. Goblin Fruit, in its own words, seeks to publish “poetry that treats mythic, surreal, fantasy and folkloric themes, or approaches other themes in a fantastical way.” And this it does, consistently. Many poems are re-tellings of fairy tales, or even fairy tales with a new, fantastical twist. Others involve goblins, fairies, changelings and other mythical creatures. Some poems rhyme and read like songs, while others trade dialogue back and forth, or give rich descriptions in free verse. Such variety can keep a reader entranced through an entire issue, and on into the archives.
Notable poems include:
"Basho Climbs Mount Olympus” by Deborah P. Kolodji (2007 Winter issue) – a series of haiku done in the style of the traveling Japanese poet Basho, cleverly intertwined with Greek mythology.
“twelve dancing princesses” by A. Harvey-Fitzhenry (2008 Spring issue) – a long poem about the fairy tale of the mysterious dancing princesses, and the prince who must seek why they dance. Told in the voice of the youngest princess, it gives a darkened twist to the tale, and the motives of the girls themselves.
“The Dead Sidekick” by Lon Prater (2008 Summer issue) – a darkly humorous play on William Carlos Williams' “The Red Wheelbarrow” with a fantasy twist.
“The Changeling Always Wins” by Nicole Kornher-Stace (featured in 2010) – a unique look at the myth of changeling children (or are they?). In this and other poems, Kornher-Stace displays her gift of description and running dialogue which does not ramble but enchants, and leaves the reader begging for more.
Uniquely, many of the poems in Goblin Fruit are also offered in audio format, read by the authors themselves. Hearing the piece performed in the poet's own voice increases its impact.
At the bottom of each poem is a blurb with information about the author. In following the theme of “goblin fruit,” many authors describe their favorite fruits in interesting and engaging ways. On the whole, the “voice” of the magazine's editors is light with a humorous twist, which nicely compliments the high quality and occasional seriousness of its content.
Illuminating the beauty of the poetry is the artwork of Oliver Hunter, whose magnificently fantastical images twining around the borders make this magazine one of the most aesthetically pleasing to be found. Each issue features a unique set of illustrations in the different seasonal themes of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Particularly stunning are the Spring 2009 issue featuring a fairy queen in a shell carriage drawn by seahorses, and the Summer 2010 issue with a fox and skull tangled in raspberries and brambles.
Goblin Fruit is available free of charge online at www.goblinfruit.net. The site includes the current issue as well as links to all previous issues in the archives.