Question #3) In considering similarities/differences
between prose poems and
flash fictions, Andrew Michael Roberts discusses James Tate’s
of the Hawk: “The book’s cover advertises the contents
as poems, yet
the line breaks are arbitrary, and many of the pieces are so narrative
that one might consider them short fictions. Who’s to say?”
The first thing that I would like to point out in response to this
statement is that the line breaks in James Tate's recent prose
poems are not arbitrary. A little research will show that the poems
appeared with the same line breaks in poetry journals as they did
in his books. And in a talk at the New School in Manhattan, Tate
admitted to controlling the line breaks in his prose poems because
he liked the way they looked. In a review of Tate, Charles Simic
said that Tate was breaking down the barriers of just what is poetry.
That could be the case. But it also seems a little like Tate is
having his cake and eating it too. Maybe that is the truest sign
that my favorite underdog is now on top.
The lines are, in fact, getting quite blurred. I almost think that
the only telling difference between prose poetry and flash fiction
is who wrote the piece. If James Tate wrote it, it is poetry. If
Barry Yourgrau wrote it, it's flash fiction.
Gene Myers is a journalist living in Northern
New Jersey. He has
contributed original material to, and appeared in, The Muse
theater piece incorporating poetry and music. His work has been
featured in Tight, Graven Images & Candlestones, and as an
Books broadside. A chapbook is forthcoming from Dragonfly Press.
Myers hosts a monthly poetry-reading series Montclair, NJ, featuring
renowned younger poets, including Matthew Rohrer, Matthea Harvey,
Anselm Berrigan, Matthew Zapruder and Rachel Zucker.
He is also the Poetry Editor of nowCulture magazine.