Johannes Göransson

Response & Bio

Question 5. Denise Duhamel clearly states, " There may be a difference between flash fiction and prose poems, but I believe the researchers still haven't found the genes to differentiate them." In agreement, Thom Ward says that, " I have no idea what the true or sustaining definition of a prose poem or flash fiction is. Nor do I plan on ruminating over the issue." How about it? What specific genes (or, let's say, traits) have you found to differentiate between prose poetry and flash fiction? Further, Jonathan Carr says that the only restrictions writing a pp/ff entail are, "Those that the authors place on themselves." Do you believe that writing a pp/ff assumes certain accepted conventions and/or restrictions? If not, how does this idea relate to Cole Swensen's genreless writing? (see question #2). Or, like Thom Ward, do you find it useless to ruminate over the issue?

Prose poetry has its own conventions. For example, lots of people who write prose poetry tend to sound a lot like Russel Edson. He's a great poet, but most of his imitators are not. Sometimes, when I've read his poems I start to write like him too. It's infectious. Nevertheless, most of the time I feel liberated when writing in prose. For one, I don't have to waste my time with the visual appearance of the piece. The prose block may have its own look, but it usually shows a healthy disregard for visual appearance. The emphasis on visuals (as well as the Modernist emphasis on signifier) seems strangely nostalgic and brittle in this pounding hypermedia age. Perhaps most importantly, prose poems allow me the enormous delusion that I'm not even writing poetry, and that makes it all so much more fun.


Johannes Göransson grew up in Sweden, but has lived in different places around the U.S. for the past 15 years. He writes, “I have an MFA from Iowa and I have a dog named Ishmael, but I don't have custody over him.”

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