Karen & Poul Anderson – 2003

have been involved in filking for over fifty years, since before the activity actually had a name. The first known occurrence of filk in print appeared in the Winter 1953 issue of “The Zed”, Karen’s contribution to the Spectator Amateur Press Society. Titled “Barbarous Allen”, it was written by Poul under a pseudonym.

Though she did not invent the word, Karen was the first person to use the word “filk” deliberately to describe the music we make, in a 1961 edition of “The Zed”. She continued to include filk songs, some by her, some by Poul, some by both of them. Karen served on numerous concoms through the fifties and sixties, and was active in costuming as well as filking. She was a co-writer for the filk operetta “HMS Trek-a-Star,” which was performed at the 1967 Westercon and the 1968 Worldcon, and revived at Consonance 2003. Hers was the first setting of Kipling’s “Rimini”.

Poul was a prolific and deeply respected author of science fiction and fantasy. He is a SFWA Grandmaster, and a member of the SF&F Hall of Fame. These achievements are inseparable from his contributions to filk: he put lyrics in his novels. He wrote some of filk’s most enduring classics, such as “Mary O’Meara”, “The Queen of Air and Darkness”, “Ballad of the Three Kings” and, of course, “Bouncing Potatoes”, alone or in collaboration with others, starting before he met Karen. Poul is credited with defining filk as, “folk songs written by live people”.

Karen and Poul collaborated on songs, including settings of Tolkien and Kipling. They were among the founders of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) in 1966 and were active members for many years. More recently, they continued to educate the new generation of filkers about the early history of the community by giving filk history talks at conventions. They have given more than fifty years of active involvement in fandom and filk.

For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Karen and Poul Anderson are inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this twenty-ninth day of March, two thousand and three.

Poul Anderson RIP 2001
Karen Anderson RIP 2018