I am an avid fan of good science fiction art especially city/landscapes and recently I have been taking inspiration from them to write poems.  The best science-fiction blends the fantastical possibilities of the future with some comment on the human condition so I challenge you to write some Sci-Fi poetry.

“What is Sci-Fi poetry? You know what they say about definitions—everybody has one. To be sure, it is poetry (we'll leave that definition to you), but it's poetry with some element of speculation—usually science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Some folks include surrealism, some straight science.”
                                                  From the Science Fiction Poetry Association

Look at the series of pictures provided (or find your own) and really study one you take a liking to or even a dislike to. Write a poem about that future as though you are living in it.


You can talk about the larger picture presented:
  • How the landscape of Earth has changed.
  • How the human race had to move because we destroyed our planet?
  • What kind of future job you might have.
  • Where you are living in this scene.
  • Traveling to foreign planets.
  • Technology and its impact.
Or you can zoom in on a window, a light, a door, an alley somewhere in the picture and imagine a more domestic scene.  Talk about what is going on and try to tie the little scene to a larger idea.
  • Is there a lover’s quarrel going on?
  • A drug deal?
  • A business meeting?
  • Sex?
  • Is a family having dinner?
  • Is a mad scientist trying to take over the world?
  • Did the robot butler suddenly start question its existence?
  • Did the automated vacuum droid suck up the cat or your underwear?
Like any form or style of poetry Sci-fi poetry comes in many voices and so here are some examples to show you the myriad of directions you can take this prompt:

Old Robots Are The Worst
by Bruce Boston

Lurching down the stairs,
asking questions twice,
pacing in lopsided circles
as they speculate aloud
on the cycles of man,
the transpiration of tragedy,
debating the industrial revolution
and its ultimate unravelling
in sonorous undertones.

And all the while
they are talking and pacing
and avoiding our calls,
we must wait and listen,
annoyed, yet with increasing
wonder at the depth and breadth
of their encyclopaedic knowledge,
the strained eclectic range
of their misunderstandings.

And all the while
their tedious palaver grows
more sophistic and abstruse,
the nictitating shutters
of their eyes send and receive
signals we have yet to translate,
a cyberglyph of a language
composed of tics and winks
and lightning exclamations.

At last they come to answer,
to wheel us to the elevators,
and you know, despite their
incompetence and intransigence,
beyond their endless babbling,
one gets attached to the old things,
inured to their clank and shuffle,
accustomed to the slow caress
of their crinkled rubber flesh.

The Internet in Heaven
by Sara Polsky

The morning heaven's cybercafe opens, you're among the first
who line up outside, nostalgic for the days when you actually
paid with a coin from the heavy foreign handful in your pocket,
always more than seemed fair for ten minutes.
When you sign on, my instant message service creaks like a door's hinges
not oiled enough to admit a ghost. I don't remember
choosing the setting, and changing it would be far easier
than erasing the same sound from door or bone. But I don't.
We talk, through our fingers, of everyday things:
How hard you find it to dress for the weather
in heaven this week. How, at my office, birthday cakes now come
from a bakery you never tried but would have loved.
I press the video button in vain, wanting to know without asking
whether you carry tissues in the coins' old place in your pocket
in case of tears as we type. I keep the light off, the brightness up,
so I can be sure both our faces are glowing.

The Mesozoic Tour Guide
by Ken Lu

Do not pet the dinosaurs,
Or try to feed them popcorn.
They're used to ferns and ginkgos, not
Gelatinized angiosperms.

If baby theropods warble,
It means they like your yellow dress.
Keep your arms inside at all times.
This is not a diorama.

Should that ankylosaur charge,
Poof—automatically we'll
Jump a few million years ahead
To catch the earliest birds.

Let's camp on that hill tonight,
Under younger stars. Instead
Of Orion, which won't gel till
Next eon, we'll look for Bronto.

I'll go slow, to give you a chance
For some majestic pictures. But
Where or when was that turn to see
The nesting pterodactyl pair?

Oh, forgive me. I'm distracted.
It's all because of my husband.
Fifty-six tours ago, he left
The trail to chase a dragonfly

As big as our cat. "Wonderful!"
He shouted, and disappeared
Through a strand of fiddlehead ferns.
I have not seen him since

This Apocalypse
by Andrea Blythe

All the clocks stop at midnight.
A butterfly flaps its wings,
and they shred under the brunt force
of shifting poles. White-jacketed scientists
in white rooms stand passive as two colliding atoms
give birth to a black hole—ravenous child
that drinks and drinks, and is never sated.
An improbable combination of zeroes and ones
creates silicon sentience; every computer
experiences epiphany; every machine begins
to erase the futile gestures of humanity.
Saucers hang like lazy silver cigars, each full
of little grey aliens with little grey zap guns.
The dead get up, take a stroll, and famished from their repose,
crack open skulls like walnuts. The four horsemen
(those real live cowboys) ride in, whooping, hollering,
and make a great ruckus on their express train steeds.
A meteor swings in, joins the hullabaloo; the sun swells
and bursts with pride; and mushroom clouds bloom like poppies.
Meanwhile, Christ and Muhammad slice open wormholes,
and usher refugees to salvation. Buddha sits serene
on a Himalayan mountaintop, grooving to the poetry
of unraveling reality, palms open as if to offer
a last chance at transcendence. Beneath the curve
of a porcelain blue tsunami, Cthulhu stretches
his long, long limbs and crawls out of bed. And in Tokyo,
Godzilla offers his home town a final flaming kiss goodnight.

11th Hour Sonnet
by Andrew Kozma

The sheets are filled with dog hair, but the dogs
are missing. All the doors are open. The earth
is rejecting the rain. Water tests our worth
through slow disintegration. All the cogs

of our lives have broken teeth. Nothing holds
its place no matter how hard you nail it down.
Water lips the steps. The sun scolds
us with its absence. Out the window, the town

stretches like a corpse no one will claim, and yet,
though the rising water smells of sulfur, and the phones
are severed ears, you wilt under the net
of my hands as if these troubles are our loans

on life come back to give evidence. Who cares what they say?
Even we don't know what we've done. How could they?

by Bear

In upper left of the cover a yellow window light clings like tree sap
to a redwood spire of future-metal angled over the blue-black city like
a cyborg brontosaurus necking to devour the future-cityscape horizon.

You never give this square beacon of humanity credence or voice.
It is one in a swarm of fireflies swarming future-towers and landing pads,
and fogged in ports, and dark future-alleyways, common like air.

On the other side of the pane a couple fighting over dirty dishes isn’t really
arguing over the burnt pan and unwashed spoons it is something outside
the ruined casserole, maybe it is infidelity, maybe addiction, maybe it is outside

the apartment; crime, poverty, revolution maybe, maybe it is larger
than even the sprout of future-world iron and future-world steel, maybe
it is the end of their world and all grievances and regrets have reared up

in an army of cybernetic  emotions programmed to destroy the other.
But you only ever notice the flat spheroid starship sailing smoothly
like a stingray across the foreground to the skyline’s fading cerulean dusk.