New Flash Fiction Review’s Prose Poetry Issue, guest-edited by Nin Andrews
When Meg Pokrass asked me to edit the New Flash Fiction Review, I said yes with enthusiasm. After all, flash fiction is one of my favorite literary forms, second only to my love of prose poetry. Of course you might ask, What is the difference? (I have been asked this so often.) Or you might even mistake one form for the other.
So I will happily tell you that the difference between these forms is much like the difference between night and day. While you might think that these are opposites, this is not really the case. Both, after all, are mere times of the day. While some folks enjoy the lit hours, other people prefer not to wear sunglasses or a hat just to step outside, and are terrified of being burned by the sun’s dangerous rays. And of course, both are unavoidable experiences in the course of even the most humdrum of daily lives.
Okay, I admit it. That might not be the best explanation. Perhaps you would like a better one, or at least a more apt comparison. So I will tell you that the difference between these hybrid forms is also like the difference between salt and pepper. While at first taste, they seem quite different, they are both mere condiments on the kitchen table. And while one is deemed healthful and can be used in excess, assuming one can take the heat, the other makes a wonderful preservative and has been valued throughout the ages by men and women around the globe. For ultimate pleasure, one should consider ample use of
Guest-editing this review was, for me, an experience of great pleasure. I was inspired by the range of work, from the short and witty one-line stories by Siel Ju to the longer flash fiction of David Lehman whose stories are so delightful and reminiscent of his poetry, I had to smile. Also, there is the magical realism I admire so much in the prose poetry of Claire Bateman, Amelia Martens, Shivani Mehta, Tom Whalen, and Jeff Freidman. Jeff Freidman opens one of his poems, “When the dybbuk knocked on the door, we at first didn’t answer, ” and I was sucked in, just as I was entranced and moved by the fractured fairytale by Kelli Russell Agodon and the confessional tale by Kathleen Nalley. Also there are poets like Gary Young, Matthew Minicucci and Kathleen McGooky whom I read again and again and ask myself, How do they do that? And of course, there is the sheer fun and joy in the poems of Amy Breau’s who began her poem, “I was prepared to answer the first question, have you killed someone?” and Denise Duhamel’s who opened one of her poems, “My husband thinks I’m a dirty old woman!” and Maureen Seaton, “The only way we can properly forge into the dark future is to bring along our oboes.” Finally, I convinced Meg Pokrass, the queen of flash fiction herself, to allow me to use some of her work. A natural and a master of the form, I think flash fiction flows out of her as a matter of daily discourse.
Nin Andrews’ poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, Agni, The Paris Review, and four editions of Best American Poetry. The author of 6 chapbooks and 6 full-length poetry collections., she has won two Ohio individual artist grants, the Pearl Chapbook Contest, the Kent State University chapbook contest, and the Gerald Cable Poetry Award. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux, called Someone Wants to Steal My Name. Her book, Why God Is a Woman, was published by BOA Editions in 2015. You can find out what Nin is up to over at her website: ninandrews.com