A poet’s view …

Today, I  return to my writing prompt challenge and fall back on the familiar standard of Poetry Wednesday

Before you dazzle me with your wit, please enjoy this selection from my journal, Mad Mother From Brooklyn, the summer of 1976 …

Memories …

I’ve tucked all the corners
Tight
Trimmed the edges
Brushed away the dust
That fell in the space you
Used to fill

Still you have not come

If it’s night and horizons dim
Softly melting into
Blue and gray

If it’s warm inside and
Ovens bake
Dipping into
Sticky and sweet

Where is the sight of it
The taste of it
To fill a hungry soul?

#############

A Silver Web …

I’ll practice every day
Until it becomes natural

Take up the task
Working harder each time

Obliterate every thought
Of you
And your real world

Until it intrudes on some cold
Morning when the dream has forgotten
The purpose and lets it in
Shattering the fragile silver web

###########

Untitled …

Inside of me there is an
Un-Godly animal sound

It moans all through the night, Mama
And it keeps me running passed the boundaries
And over the fences

‘cept I don’t know where to, Mama
Where to ?

################

When we love …

When we love I am standing
Before a stranger
Awkward in my nakedness

The plans of each act
I have memorized
Scatter about the floor
With my garments
And I am left
With the finest performance of all

The improvisation of this one
Sweet moment

So nice to feel creation
Building
A mountain with bare hands
Beneath me

##########

There is no purpose
To this

Mean block of time

It screams naked through
The cold city streets
Leaving a trail of useless
Rubble in its wake

Naked woman of bones
Finding no fat
No lean
Moving on

Finding no shelter from
The north wind
Tireless and howling
Long wind traveling
Through a silent night

Naked woman of bones
Finding no fat
No lean
Moving on

To a time
That has gone
Beyond her reach

############

By definition …

The length of “flash” fiction differs depending upon where you do your research on the internet.

Both “flash fiction” and poetry challenge the writer and the reader to complete an entire story in the shortest time possible. While there are epic poems that are thousands of words in length, i.e. Waste Land by T.S. Elliot or Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, the genre lends itself to short, sweet, snippets … a love story, a sad tale, or if you prefer a bit of tragedy, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.

Flash fiction is a style of extreme brevity. “There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction. Wikepedia  

The roots of short fiction can be traced back to Aesop’s Fables and has been used by such noteables as Anton Chekhov, O. Henry, Franze Kafka, Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut.  One example of this style in modern classics is In Our Time, a collection of 18 very short pieces in Hemingway’s first short-story collection.

Also called sudden fiction, short/short, postcard or micro fiction, the standard lengths of these stories are as short as 150, but no more than 1,000 words.

Access to the Internet has had an impact on the awareness of flash fiction, with websites and zines such as Flash Fiction Online being devoted entirely to the style. Find and like them on Facebook.

Flash fiction (also called micro fiction, sudden fiction, or short short stories) refers to fiction stories of around 700 words or less. The qualifying standard for flash fiction varies among organizations, with some setting the maximum word count as little as 150 and others raising it to 1000, but the exact word count matters little. The idea is that flash fiction, being so short, encompasses literary theory quite differently from traditional short stories given that the physical boundaries for flash fiction preclude otherwise available options. This is not to say flash fiction subscribes to a rigid formula – just the opposite. Forms of flash fiction tend to vary markedly, and resemble anything from prose poetry to grocery shopping lists. “Part of the fun of writing [flash fiction] is the sense of slipping through the seams,” says Sudden Fiction author Stuart Dybek. “Within the constraint of of their small boundaries the writer discovers great freedom.Read more.

The experts might differ in terms of length, but one thing they all agree upon, is their assessment that “flash” is fun.

It is the best of  fun to create a whole story in short stacks or micro minutes that leaves the reader wanting more and can stay with them for hours afterwards.

Anne R. Allen had an interesting post, Why You Should be Writing Short Fiction (read post here). This post discusses the resurgence of the short story in today’s market. My comment that week sited the dozens of writers from our past that used short fiction for most of their writing careers. And as I’ve done at least twice before on this blog … it is a question of not when but … when everything old is new again.

change

By the by, since I brought up Walt Whitman, it was common in Great Britain and the United States during Whitman’s time for authors to “self publish.” Clapbooks were often done by those we think of as very successful poets. Many other famous writers of poetry and the short story genre, not only published themselves, they formed “author collectives,” and published each other. Sound familiar?

So the next time you have a really great idea, before you get too excited, do your research and you’ll find … someone has been there and done that.

Sentence prompts ...

Yes Pilgrims, it is that time of the year when once more I challenge you to provide the fodder for my Flash Fiction. So put on your thinking caps (cliché alert) and dig into your gray matter. Leave a sentence in comments and I will give you a story of no more than 1,000 words.

I might also post this challenge on Facebook or canvas my writer’s group. And for those who have contributed in the past, be aware, if you don’t leave a sentence for me this week, I will nag until you do.

Tell me dear ones, who is your favorite poet?

And … can you name one  famous writer

who worked exclusively in short, shorts?

fOIS In The City

Photography from Jen G, my talented daughter.
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11 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction, Poetry Wednesday

11 responses to “A poet’s view …

  1. I don’t read poetry so I don’t have anyone to honk my horn about nor do I know any writer who writes short fiction. Sorry.
    But I do have a line for you:
    Jenny stared out the window at the rain drops spattering off the leaves of the willow tree, wondering how the hell her life had spun so out of control.

  2. christicorbett

    My favorite poet is Walt Whitman (I gave my husband a picture frame with one of Whitman’s poems in it for a wedding gift) and my favorite poem is Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”.

    Christi Corbett

  3. annerallen

    These poems are great, Florence! I love the line “Mean block of time”. I think I’m going through one of those right now. Love your style and insight.

    Thanks much for the shout-out for my post on short fiction. It got a lot of people excited about writing shorter pieces. It’s a great way to get your name out there, so agents sit up and take notice when they get your query.

    How about: “She wasn’t like the others.”

  4. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was my favorite poet until I read your poems :-)

  5. Florence – I don’t have a favorite poet but I do have a favorite book: ‘ten poems to change your life’ by Roger Housden. The book is small in size but oh so powerful.
    I’m still thinking about that ‘sentence.’
    I apologize for being so tardy with this post response. Your poetry sings a quality all your own.

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