KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Nonfiction: 999 words

Introduction: Issue 8

by Clare MacQueen, Publisher

Welcome to the Summer 2017 issue of KYSO Flash, KF-8. So glad you dropped by. Get comfy with a frosty glass of your favorite beverage, coz KF-8 is huge!

We’re thrilled to present an amazing line-up of 117 works by 65 contributors, from distinguished and seasoned pros whose names you’ll recognize to emerging artists whose careers we believe you’ll want to follow.

Featured Author

I saw this question on Facebook in July: “Who is a living [writer] doing incredible work that deserves extra attention? Why?”

My answer: John Olson!

And why? Because he lavishly delivers on his promise:

“I will make something wildly and savagely new...”

A long-time resident of Seattle, Olson is the award-winning author of four novels and nine books of poems and prose poems, including Backscatter and Larynx Galaxy. And he’s truly an original—as poet and translator Clayton Eshleman says, “He is writing the most outlandish, strange, and inventive prose poetry ever in the history of the prose poem.”

Olson also writes extraordinary essays. (Having discovered his work only a few months ago, I have yet to read his novels.) Speaking for myself, I find his essays and prose poems downright mind-boggling, mind-expanding, and mind-altering. Hallelujah, this hallucinogen is entirely legal in the USA—at least for the foreseeable future.

Check out his inspired riffs on everything from dislocating his shoulder and the debris of pain to a new grind of coffee and the mystery of grocery carts.

We also offer excerpts from longer works (and links to the full texts elsewhere):

Strange Matter: The physics and poetics of the search for the God particle
“Touching is the television of blood”: An Interview with John Olson by Jared Demick

AND for writers of all genres, especially micro-fiction and hybrids like haibun stories and tanka tales: I believe Olson’s remarkable manifesto-in-a-nutshell, Brought to a Boil: An Essay on Experimental Poetry, should be required reading. Or at least strongly encouraged.

We look forward to seeing your “wildly and savagely new” creations during our next reading period.


Given the bizarre, terrifying circuses performed on Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues in Washington, DC almost every day since 20 January 2017, we were not surprised to receive several submissions for KF-8 related to Trumpian politics. While we appreciated the chance to consider them (and could commiserate with their authors), we finally selected only one.

We feel that Dr. Gerard Sarnat’s CNF, Post DT’s Election First Hellacious Stale Breath, is a fine mix of heartfelt, anguished commentary and the polished writing that we look to publish.

We’re also delighted to republish Mikhail Iossel’s lyrical satire, Not-Evens. He posted the piece to Facebook on 12 April 2017 in response to Sean Spicer’s comment during a press briefing at the White House: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War Two. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

Additional Highlights

Thanks so much to poets Heather Beatty, Arthur Kayzakian, Joseph Millar, Gayle O’Key, Marge Piercy, and Judy Reeves, and to publisher William Harding (Garden Oak Press), for granting us permission to reprint half-a-dozen wonderful poems from the 2016-2017 San Diego Poetry Annual.

We’re pleased to be among the first to publish work by H. P. Armstrong, a student at Naropa University (home to the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics). We hope that Armstrong’s micro-fiction Starfishing is only the first of many that he places with us.

Speaking of students, Daniel Blokh is a 16-year-old poet who lives in Birmingham and attends the Alabama School of Fine Arts. KF-8 includes three of his new poems: A Trembling of Finches, A Walk, and Dress-Up. Keep your eye on this writer, too!

We’re delighted to present a 1200-word excerpt from Crossover Sci-Fi: On Breaking Down Genre Walls and Writing for Everyone, a 2300-word essay by Tara Campbell, author of the novel TreeVolution and assistant fiction editor at Barrelhouse. (Also in this issue, micro-fiction and poetry by Campbell.)

Most forms of energy, even so-called “clean and green” energy like that produced by those gorgeous wind turbines, usually come with trade-offs—or with a mournful price as described by Mitchell (Mitch) Krockmalnik Grabois in his narrative poem, Birds.

Our first cherita!* Actually, two of them in a sequence by Peter Jastermsky: receding.

As literary editor for Momentum Press forty years ago, William (Bill) Mohr published an avant-garde feminist book by Holly Prado, her prose-poem novella Feasts, which he calls “one of the classic pieces of writing in American literature.” The book’s been out of print for three decades, and in the review/notice reprinted here, he calls for the release of a new annotated edition. (Also in KF-8: a remarkable haibun and CNF in aphorisms by Mohr.)

Two poems + commentary by John Warner Smith, Baton Rouge-based author of three published books of poetry, and a manuscript of poems in homage to Muhammad Ali.

Charles D. Tarlton’s compelling tanka tale and two ekphrastic tanka prose: Ann Knickerbocker’s Interrogation II and Taking It to the Limen.

We’re thrilled to announce our nominations for the 2017 Best of the Net Anthology, including one of Tarlton’s ekphrastic tanka prose from KF-6.


KF-8 includes dozens of other fine works as well, some truly exceptional; and with a variety of styles, forms, and content, they’re likely to make you think, make you cry, make you laugh, and best of all stay with you.

If you’re on Facebook, please consider supporting our little journal—and the 300-or-so writers and artists whose works we’ve published—by “liking” our Facebook page and by sharing our link with your friends, family, colleagues, and beyond. A world of thanks!

As always, we’re glad when you visit KYSO Flash, and we hope you enjoy the delicacies you find on our menu...

* For information about cherita, including resource links, see: To the Lighthouse: Cherita, A Haiku/Tanka Inspired Form by Chen-ou Liu in his blog, NeverEndingStory (5 August 2014), the world’s first English-Chinese haiku and tanka blog.

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