Speculative poetry, like its counterpart, speculative fiction, is set in and concerns worlds that don’t exist, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and slipstream verse. In 2005, Theodora Goss, Mike Allen, and Alan DeNiro discussed speculative poetry in Strange Horizons, and in 2014 Sonya Taaffe, A.J. Odasso and Romie Stott gave their personal definitions of the term in the same magazine.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) members vote each year on the recipients of prizes in the field, including the Rhysling (for best short and long speculative poems of the year), the Dwarf Star (for best poem ten lines long or shorter), and the Elgin Award (for best speculative poetry collections).   

Of course, speculative poetry is far from new. Since human beings have been making art, they’ve reached beyond the real world to create works that give fanciful shape to their dreams and terrors. Classical speculative verse, whether epic or lyrical, includes The Odyssey, Shakespeare’s musings on Queen Mab, Coleridge’s “Christabel,” Poe’s Raven.  Theodora Goss has created a superb web site with links to classic examples of speculative verse:  Poems of the Fantastic and Macabre.  

The Journal of Mythic Arts is no longer publishing but its wonderful site is archived.  Here’s a link to the page on contemporary poetry based on traditional tales.

Following is an incomplete list of online and print magazines that publish speculative poetry (including some superb sites that are, unfortunately, defunct but still available to be read online) :