April is Furry Poetry Month – guest post by Shining River.
by Patch O'Furr
In the United States and Canada, the month of April is celebrated as National Poetry Month, a tradition in the United States since 1996 and in Canada since 1998. Many literary magazines, libraries, authors, schools, and websites participate in this in a wide variety of ways. Since 2015, writers of the furry community have been celebrating their own version of this, which we may now call Furry Poetry Month.
The writing of poetry by furries, whether they be dedicated writers or occasional writers of poems, is not just a recent development. Poems can be found online in the Usenet newsgroup alt.lifestyle.furry, of the 1990’s. A once-active site that featured furry literature was Anthrozine. Starting as early as their second issue in 2005, twenty-six furry poems were published over the years that the site was maintained by Michael Bard and Quentin Long.
Poetry probably appeared on Fur Affinity user pages soon after it’s beginning in 2005. Over the years, approximately eight groups have been created to feature poetry and other writing. Most of these groups have had little activity in recent months, some of them not for several years. The Poets Guild began in 2009 features two poetry anthologies and four dozen individual poems that are posted on the site. Their activity declined for a year or so but has recently had an increase in posting. The most active FA group for poetry at this time is Poetic Furs. Begun in 2015, they have featured an interview with a different poet each month.
Over the years there have been some printed versions of furry poetry. This writer still has his copy of the 1999 Conifur NorthWest furcon con book and we find on page 41-42 what might best be described as a rap, but it’s still poetry, titled “I Am The Very Model Of A Furry Individual” by Mee-Shee. Another example was the first volume of Allasso in 2012, edited by Brian Lee Cook, which contained seven poems along with fiction short stories.
More recently, poetry has been featured on Adjective Species. Their first publishing of a furry poem, “Whiskey Sour”, by Lunostophiles, appeared in 2013.
In March of 2015 an essay written by this writer, titled “Finding the Animals in Modern Poetry”, was followed by the creation of the “Inaugural Adjective Species Poetry Collection”. It was curated by Lunostophiles. This featured original animal themed poems from thirteen writers of the furry community. The following year in April, Adjective Species published another essay by this writer, “Finding the Animals in Cowboy Poetry”, which was soon followed by the “Second Adjective Species Poetry Collection”, with nine poems contributed. This was curated by a prominent furry writer, Poetigress. Also at that time seven original poems written by Poetigress were published over three days.
The Furry Writers Guild was founded in 2010 to be a group for writers to share their experiences and to provide information about writing and publishing. In April of 2015 on their site forum, a new discussion board for poetry was created. Also at this time, Laura “Munchkin” Govednik and Altivo Overo developed the idea for a book of poetry featuring animal themed poems from Furry Writers Guild writers. The sales of the book would be donated to an animal charity. This successful project, titled “Civilized Beasts”, appeared in December 2015, published by Weasel Press.
In 2016, the project was begun again, as reported here on Dogpatch Press. Poem submissions are closed at this time and the release of the new book has not yet been announced.
Finally, the enjoyment of poetry does not have to be just a solitary, silent, experience. There are many un-traditional ways of creating and experiencing poetry. Recitation and performance of poetry occasionally occurs in the furry community. Fursuiter rap performances on Youtube are a good example, and this writer enjoyed poetry readings by two furry writers at Rainfurrest 2015. You might find a way to poetically express yourself with some of these activities: https://www.poets.org/national
Poetry comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors, much like the fursuits of the furry community. Poetry written by others can put into words the ideas and emotions that we ourselves may not have the skill to express. Poetry that we write can be a way to gather together our thoughts and emotions and get a clear look at them. Somewhere out there in the world there is a poem, or maybe many poems, that is good for each one of us.
– Shining River