Bio & Response

Ginger Knowlton

Ginger Knowlton lives north of Boulder, Colorado. Recent work has appeared in Segue, 5_trope, and The Evansville Review. More work is forthcoming in The Chimera Review and Poetry Midwest. She has received awards from the Academy of American Poets and Rocky Mountain Women's Institute. A few of her paintings are held in private collections across the country. She teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Question #3: Regarding differentiation between flash fiction and prose poetry, Tony Leuzzi wrote, “If the writing contains a compressed plot, with character and motive, then I am inclined to think, ‘flash fiction.’ If the reading experience forces me into unexpected directions, where a loss of control is expected, then I am probably in the realm of a prose poem.” Peter Johnson also noted, “ I agree with Todorov when he says that all genres come from previous genres, but that doesn’t mean Schlegel was wrong when he said, “ Every poem is a genre in itself.” What criteria do you use to distinguish between prose poems and flash fictions? Is Schlegel correct in his assessment? If so, is there any point in designating genre?

As a rather “genre-less” writer, I take great comfort from a comment that I heard one afternoon (from Bin Ramke, who will, I hope, forgive me if I botch this paraphrase) that a poem teaches us how it wants to be read. Bin may have said how it could be read or would be read, but I remember “wants to be read, ” probably because the poem, in this sense, has agency and life. I’m rather wary of searching too long for a classification for things; the beauty of classification, to me, is most easily evidenced in fields like ecology or contemporary physics, where the classifications themselves are always full of potential and change, as I believe they should be in literature. There may be value in debating whether a passage of writing qualifies as a prose poem or a flash fiction, but the real fun lies in the odd, peculiar, and graceful movements of the writing itself.