Readers’ Award winner and former Asimov’s editorial assistant Darrell Schweitzer is back with his latest poem in our current issue. Here, he details his history with our magazine and offers advice for writers hoping to make it in its pages.
Asimov’s Editors: What is the story behind this piece?
Darrel Schweitzer: This is rather like asking where a writer gets ideas. There are two schools on this question, Poughkeepsie and Schenectady. For some reason upstate New York seems to be so rich in ideas that they are an item of export. But seriously, a poem like this is a science-fictional notion which has been distilled down beyond the level of a short story. The image, or myth, or whatever is best expressed in such a compressed form.
The “story” behind this particular piece is the realization that time-travelers from the future, unless there has been a serious interruption in civilization in the meantime, will not need to come back to learn our history. They will already know it. It will be their past.
AE: What made you think of Asimov’s for this piece?
DS: Asimov’s is the best market for SF poetry. I always send such attempts there first. There is no actual center in American poetry, just a series of isolated readerships, some associated with various schools or magazines, or with academia. Asimov’s reaches quite a large readership, as far as poetry-publishing magazines go. A literary magazine with a circulation of even 10,000 readers would be quite extraordinary. Do all Asimov’s readers read and value the poetry therein? I don’t know. Do all the readers of The New Yorker read the poetry that magazine publishes?
AE: What is your history with Asimov’s?
DS: I was an editorial assistant for the magazine during George Scithers’s editorship, 1977–82. My involvement in later years has hardly been central to the magazine’s history. Some poetry. I won the 2006 Readers’ Award for Best Poem for “Remembering the Future.”