Optional Further Reading

Crystal Wilkinson, “A Meditation on Grief: Things We Carry, Things We Remember,” Kenyon Review

The image of the grandmother saving her from drowning, her dress “blossom[ing] around her like a sail” in Wilkinson’s prose poem/flash seems to be the sort of unconscious “image” that Lynda Barry talks about. Here’s what Wilkinson said about “my grandmother wading in to save me and her dress billowing out” in a recent interview about her new poetry collection Perfect Black: “There are two versions of the same poem in the book that I keep going back to for form and content. … I wanted to play with form, but I also wanted to play with what prose, poetry, and a particular story has to offer … There is fiction here in that there is a speaker telling the story, and it relies on language and repetition to do its work, and then sort of embedded in the middle of it is a truth. The almost-drowning is a very real truth and became almost a haunt in a lot of my work because it actually happened to me. It is sort of an emotional landscape touchstone that I come back to often. It is an abiding image that I carry throughout all my work of this almost drowning and my grandmother wading in to save me with her dress billowing out. That’s a perfect example of poetry meeting nonfiction, of me no longer being a sort of bifurcated writer, a fiction self and a poet self.”

Here’s the full interview.

Laura Todd Cairns, “My First Weapon,” Hobart

Jacqueline Doyle, “Jack-in-the-Box,” Birkensnake

Kat Moore, “Photo of a Nine Year Old Girl Smoking,” CRAFT

Moore doesn’t provide the well-known 1990 photograph by Mary Ellen Mark that inspired her flash fiction, but you can see the photo in this NPR article about the later life of the 9-year-old girl.

Maria Romasco Moore calls her book Ghostographs: An Album a “novella-in-flash.” In a roundtable interview in Entropy, Moore said, “For years I’d wanted to write something inspired by the photographs I’d collected. Flash vignettes made the most sense, since each picture already seemed to me like a small window into a self-contained world. The story-lines and themes flowed from there.”

Check it out here.

Here’s a short book trailer (1:40) that includes many of the photographs she writes about: