The 2009 winners were both present to receive their plaques from Science Fiction Poetry Association President Deborah Kolodji.
Amal El-Mohtar won the short poem category (1-49 lines) for her poem “Song for an Ancient City,” which first appeared in Mythic Delirium. El-Mohtar, an Ottawa resident, is co-editor of the online poetry journal Goblin Fruit and has sold fiction to Strange Horizons, Cabinet des Fees and Shimmer. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Cornwall, England. Her winning poem was inspired by a visit she made with her family to Damascus.
Geoffrey A. Landis won the long poem category (50+ lines) for his poem “Search,” which first appeared in Helix: Speculative Fiction Quarterly. Landis, who works for NASA’s John Glenn Research Center, is not only a previous Rhysling Award winner (for “Christmas (after we all get time machines)” in 1999) but a Nebula Award winner and two-time winner of the Hugo Award, all for best short story. He lives in Ohio with his wife Mary Turzillo, also a Nebula Award-winning writer.
Novelist and poet Catherynne M. Valente, a previous Rhysling Award winner and also a winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award and the Mythopoeic Award, was also present. She and El-Mohtar read their collaborative poem from Lone Star Stories, “Damascus Divides the Lovers by Zero, or the City is Never Finished,” which placed third in this year’s long poem category. Kolodji presented her and El-Mohtar with Rhysling runner-up certificates.
The remainder of the Rhysling Award winning poems, announced at ReaderCon in July, were: