When most of us think of Furry writing we think of your standard novels, novellas, short stories, even comics, but one form that doesn’t get the same attention is poetry. Mainly cause there hasn’t been too many opportunities in the fandom to showcase anthropomorphic poems. There are a few exceptions like Heat and the soon to be released anthology Wolf Warrior III which offer collections that mix poems with short stories, but there hasn’t been an anthology dedicated to poetry alone. Until last year when Laura “Munchkin” Govednik released Civilized Beast. Now she’s back again for round two. Civilized Beast 2016 is open for submission.
So where did the idea of doing a poem anthology come from?
The idea for Civilized Beasts started in the Furry Writer’s Guild. I was surprised to find there were other members and future members who also had a high interest in poetry and hoped to see more of it in the community. Through various discussions, I realized that a poetry collection about animals for animals could be a great way for people in and out of the furry community to connect.
When it comes to theme, Civilized Beasts does the same thing as Heat by having a generally open theme for everyone to play with.
The theme this year is the same as last year: Animals, be it the outside observation of animals, in the mind of an animal, or the symbolism of an animal. By leaving the theme so open, it allowed poets a lot of freedom last year, and an incredible variety of poetry was submitted because of it. It is my hope that poets will be just as inspired this year, so I decided not to limit the theme.
Munchkin is looking for all kinds of poems. Whether they are your traditional rhymes, sonnets, haiku, or free verse. You are free to write what speaks to you. Munchkin wants you to think outside the box. To go wild. There’s even no word count limit to your poems.
For anyone interested, there’s no maximum or minimum line count, though longer poems will be looked at more critically since we only have so many pages to work with.
The only thing to be aware of is that the poems must be suitable for a general audience.
We’re aiming to keep all the poems rated GA (General Audience) so that people can comfortably share Civilized Beasts with children and adults alike. Variety is the spice of life, so anything from insects to whales, from the loyal canine curled up at your feet to the wild lion stalking to the Savannah to the weary elephant in the zoo, from the possible thoughts of the mouse near your dust board to the undeniable pull of the wild found within us all, we want to see it.
Munchkin herself has been an active member in the writing community. Having works published in both ROAR Vol. 6 and Will of the Alpha 3. Writing about walking, talking animals since she was a child.
I was writing stories about anthropomorphic characters since around 1994, at the age of ten, though back then I had no idea what the word was for it or that there was an entire community of people also interested in half human, half animal creatures. They fascinated me though, and was only further fueled by my love for animals. I became focused on stories that could explain how they came to exist and how their differences from humans would change things for them, and I’m not ashamed to say that I was a huge Animorphs fan. It wasn’t until 2002 that a friend introduced me to a role playing site for furries, and I felt like I had finally found home. Funny enough, it took eleven more years before I learned that there was an actual writing niche in the community thanks to the Furry Writer’s Guild, and that feeling of finding home blossomed anew.
As her involvement in the fandom grew, so did her roles.
I’ve been a beta reader over the years, but Civilized Beasts 2015 Edition was my first official editing job. I seem to have a bad habit of diving into things head first when it comes to the furry community, though I have no regrets. I’ve had one other editing job since (Fragments of Life’s Heart, through Weasel Press as well, an anthology all about love), and learned there’s a vast difference between editing for a collection of poems and editing for a collection of stories.
Civilized Beasts is a non-paying anthology. Contributors will be given a copy of the book, but all profits of the book will go to the charity, Wildlife Conservation Society.
The Wildlife Conservation Society is a non-for-profit group that works toward not only helping to save endangered wildlife, but also various habitats. They’ve taken amazing steps in conservation and have played a large role in saving endangered species. I wanted to stick with the animal theme and donate to a group that was involved worldwide, while also making certain that the money donated would go to the intended cause. The WCS has an amazing track record with this compared to other groups I looked into, and a couple members of the Furry Writer’s Guild had worked with them before with positive results.
The deadline is October 1st and must be submitted to Civ.Beasts@gmail.com. More info about poem requirements can be found here. If you want to see what poems got accepted last year, pick up a copy of Civilized Beasts 2015 for reference. Go forth my Furry friends and let your muse flow. To bring to life a poem that will make the heart grow.