The Rhysling Awards, named for Robert A. Heinlein’s poet from The Green Hills of Earth, were established by the Science Fiction Poetry Association in 1978. Both the association and the award were founded by Suzette Haden Elgin. Each year, awards are given for Short Form poetry and Long Form poetry. The first three years of the award resulted in ties, with three poems tying in the first year, and two each tying in the second and third year.
Robert Frazier’s poem “Encased in the Amber of Eternity” depicts a Pacific Northwest in the aftermath of a nuclear war that has depopulated the North American continent (and presumably most of the rest of the world). His imagery moves briskly from descriptions of various objects associated with lights and fire representing the falling missiles, to the bone-like remnants of human civilization, represented by Portland. The poem’s narrator, who seems to be a survivalist type, has managed to come through the catastrophe and offers a glimpse of hope that he will be able to find other survivors to rebuilt some sort of civilization, or, even if it is only him, at least he is still around.