Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Interview and Anthology Review

There's an interview with me in the Jan/Feb/Mar 2007 issue of Mslexia: For Women Who Write (a print publication in England). It's titled "The Joy of Writing Flash Fiction". Editor Daneet Steffens is a joy to work with (so patient and so professional). The magazine itself is excellent-- beautifully executed. In this issue they also ran one of my flash fiction stories as an illo for the interview. You can see the contents of this issue at http://www.mslexia.co.uk/
In my newsletter, Flash Fiction Flash, ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FlashFictionFlash )I ran an anthology review. So for those who don't subscribe to my free monthly newsletter, you can read that review here.

(Review by Pamelyn Casto)

PP/FF: An Anthology
Buffalo, New York:
Starcherone Books, 2006.
Edited by Peter Connors

(This is a new feature of the newsletter-- brief reviews of flash literature anthologies or collections I've read.)

PP/FF is an anthology any lover of literary flash fiction and prose poetry will be interested in reading. As editor Peter Connors says in the introduction, "PP/FF is prose poetry and flash fiction balanced on a makeshift teeter-totter that never lands."

The anthology is 236 pages of fascinating reading. Some of the writers who have stories within include Stuart Dybek, Peter Markus, Jessica Treat, Lydia Davis, Derek White, Ethan Paquin, Kim Addonizio, Brian Clements, Mark Tursi (and many other fine writers).

Below are some of the stories I find most interesting. There are many others but here are three of my personal favorites. (I have to keep the review short so a choice of three will be my magic number.)

Darryl Scroggins' mini-novel titled Prairie Shapes, A Flash Novel. Who says a novel must be so many pages long? Why can't it be super short, as is Scroggins' novel? Scroggins' novel is about sixteen pages long and isdivided into twenty "chapters." Interesting.

Jessica Treat's disturbing story titled "Drive." It uses "you" address and is about a narrator who hits someone on the road late at night as she's driving all alone. The man wasn't killed but only bumped and he asks for a ride and the narrator agrees to give him one. In this "drive"all sorts of drives are illustrated and enacted (and suggested). The narrator could be any of us and that makes the "you" address especially effective.

Anthony Tognazzini's "Same Game." This story is a modern version of The Ant and the Grasshopper and the outstanding story isn't even a full page long-- about as brief as Aesop's old tale. But it's an even more memorable and disturbing piece (without the moral Aesop gives).

PP/FF shows how blurry the line between flash fiction and prose poetry. As editor, Connors brings the writers of both together to create an interesting and provocative anthology. The stories range from a brief quarter of a page to three or four pages long. (Scroggins' novel is sixteen pages long.) The pieces run the gamut from more straightforward stories to highly experimental styles. It's a compendium of fascinating and provocative prose poetry and flash fiction. May the blurry "teeter-totter"continue its fascinating movement. Ordering information for PP/FF: http://www.starcherone.com/ppff.htm (and here you can see a list of all writers with work included).



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