Denise Duhamel

Response & Bio

Question 1. What is the difference between a prose poem and a flash fiction?

Prose poetry and flash fiction are kissing cousins. They are kissing on Jerry Springer, knowing they're cousins, and screaming "So what?" as the audience hisses. They're kissing one One Life to Live, unaware one's aunt is the other's mother. A prose poem suffers from amnesia, and when her friends tell her about her past, nothing they describe produces in her even a flicker. In a flash, she thinks: they are wrong--something tells me I was once a short short. Flash fiction looks into the mirror and sees a prose poem. A prose poem parts his hair on the left instead of the middle, and his barber tells him he's flash fiction. A prose poem walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "What'll you have? The usual paragraph?" A flash fiction walks into the doctor's office and the doctor says, "How's that stanza feeling?" There may be a difference between flash fiction and prose poems, but I believe the researchers still haven't found the genes that differentiate them.


Denise Duhamel is the author of 13 books and chapbooks, the most recent of which is Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001.) She has edited, with her husband Nick Carbo, Sweet Jesus: Poems about the Ultimate Icon, due out from the Anthology Press in time for Christmas 2002.

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