Contemporary Verse Novels continued . . .
Okay, so, this is important (and many thanks to A. D. Jameson for pointing this out in my previous post’s comments): A book should probably not be called a Contemporary Verse Novel if it is not written in verse, which is to say, if it is neither lineated nor metered. Seems obvious, right?
Verse vs. Prose Poems
Well, this raises some interesting questions. First, I suppose we should talk about prose poems (which share a tricky, fine line with that so-called “flash fiction” that at one very small time in our recent history seemed to be all the rage but mostly now people just sort of are annoyed by, as they’d much rather just consider these to be stories, and not even short short stories or very short stories or sudden fictions or anything other than, simply, you know, stories. Am I wrong about this?). I should also clarify that the reason I have these more prose-oriented books on my reading list (Walser, Mathews, Boully, Saterstrom, Ruefle, the Roubauds) is because I’m very interested in hybrid genres, that this study is probably more about hybridity than anything else. But, when studying poetry, one must make arguments for reading what the establishment might consider “not poetry,” especially where credits toward degrees are concerned, yes?
Owl City: I steal, therefore...
I’ve been thinking about comments that darby and Mike Meginnis made on Amber’s recent post “I Don’t Like Crap Games.” In response, darby wrote:
[…] im saying dont think/worry about what editors want. dont worry about “what they like.” read what you like and write what you like. dont study a journal just to try to get published by them. first, you should love what you write. then you should love what you read. then think about maybe this fits here maybe.
Mike then added:
Yeah, I pretty much agree with Darby’s thinking on this. When editors ask me to figure out what they like I don’t think very much of them. That’s their job. My job is to make what I like. Sure, it’s possible to take that attitude too far, but editors who want fewer submissions can limit their window for slush or etc. I want everyone to submit to Uncanny Valley who wants to so I can choose the best possible, coolest work. I don’t want them worrying in particular about what I want. And I never worry too much about what they want.
I agree with Darby and Mike (and I admire Mike’s editorial stance); I’ve said things like this myself: writers should write whatever they want to write, and damn everyone else’s eyes.
But today I want to try thinking past that thought. Why do I want to write what I want to write? And is it really entirely my decision?
New Diane Williams flash fiction in my November 2009 Harper’s. They had John Edgar Wideman a while back, Martone, others.
Because flash fiction is here, to stay, so deal. Deal, people. It will exist in this world like noble, slow, wise, proud, nervous mahogany. I do mean solid.