KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Nonfiction: 1294 words

Introduction: Our Fifth Year!

by Clare MacQueen, Publisher

Welcome to Issue 9 of KYSO Flash, which marks the beginning of our fifth year of publishing. Hooray! To celebrate, we outdid ourselves by gathering quite the cornucopia for those who adore short-form writing, and visual art: 134 wonderful works (109 written and 25 visual artworks) by a total of 56 contributors, 22 of whom are appearing in this journal for the first time—welcome aboard! Of the written works, 88 (or 81%) are previously unpublished.

We believe there’s something here for everyone. KF-9 is huge, book-length, and of course no one would expect busy folks to read the entire issue in one sitting. Instead, we hope you begin with your favorite genres and then visit us here again tomorrow and the next day, and the next, etc...


Speaking of welcoming folks aboard: We’re excited to debut the writing of Carrie Close, whose flash fiction Leprechaun is her first publication anywhere. Ms. Close studies Creative Writing at the University of Maine, and we thank Bill Mesce (author, screenwriter, and professor) for giving us the heads-up about her story. We hope it’s only the first of many that she publishes with us.

Cool news: Poet and professor Kika Dorsey has joined us as a Contributing Editor. It’s our honor and good fortune to have her on the team. More than a dozen of her fine works (poems, prose poems, haibun, and micro-fictions) appear in KYSO Flash thus far, three of which we nominated last year for these awards: the Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, and Best of the Net. Ms. Dorsey is also writing longer fiction these days, including this flash in KF-9: A Stained Canvas.

We’re also pleased to present in this issue three fictions each by Roberta Beary, Elizabeth Kerlikowske, and Ashley Shelby; two by Julie Gard; one each by Peter Fiore, Dan Gilmore, Tim Hawkins, Lynn Mundell, Lynn Pattison, Alexis Rhone Fancher, John L. Stanizzi, and Francine Witte; and a haibun story by Alexis Rotella.

These accomplished artists also create in other forms, too, such as CNF, digital art, haibun, photography, poetry, and prose poetry, some of which appear in KF-9 as well.

A shout-out of admiration to fiction writer Arthur Klepchukov for his determination to succeed and his commitment to sharing details of his submissions journey via Arsenal of Words. I think his blog could be helpful for any writer who’s discouraged after only half a dozen rejections (wink wink).

I got to know Klepchukov a bit via email after he submitted stories to us for the first time a couple of months ago. As an editor, I couldn’t help but be impressed that he’s not afraid to use the semi-colon; plus, he caught a goof I made three years ago in my template for the KF publishing contract and had overlooked ever since—thanks again, Art! I also learned more about him by reading a few of his blog posts, where I saw that it only took 128 submissions and 93 rejections to achieve his first fiction publication. Now that’s an inspiring example of believing in yourself and in your work.

We’re honored to present Klepchukov’s bleedin’ peach here in KF-9, and we look forward to publishing more of his stories in the future.

Featured Artists

As you may have discovered from reading our previous issues (KF-6 in particular), my co-editor, Jack Cooper, and I are great fans of ekphrastic works—especially those that are imaginative and out of the ordinary, those that transcend mere physical descriptions of an artwork (or a film, or song, or even a perfume) and show us an unusual and/or surprising way of experiencing the piece.

Which is why we’re delighted to present six works by Elizabeth Kerlikowske that were inspired by paintings by Mary Hatch.

More Ekphrasis to Enjoy in KF-9

Claire Everett: tanka tales

Ian Ganassi: prose poem

Sonja Johanson: haibun

Ellaraine Lockie: tanka + photograph

Kimmo Rosenthal: CNF

Charles D. Tarlton: As you also may have gathered from past issues, we’re quite fond of Tarlton’s ekphrastic tanka prose, many of which I would venture to call flash-length critical reviews. To my mind, they’re not only educational, but also entertaining and illuminating. I’ve learned much from them and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. Fellow fans may have noticed that Tarlton’s inventory of these ETP now seems large enough to fill a book...

Poetry and Hybrids Galore!

Under this general category, we are thrilled and honored to present more than five dozen works, many of which I think are simply exquisite. A total of 25 poets are represented within these genres:

nearly two dozen lineated poems

more than two dozen prose poems

ten haibun

eight tanka forms

And Humor? In a Lit Journal?

Yes, indeed. Our Table of Contents includes for the first time a Humor section, with works by Roberta Beary, Dan Gilmore, Bob Lucky, Larry Silberfein, and John L. Stanizzi. Speaking especially for myself, I believe that laughter is more important than ever in troubled and uncertain times like these. Hugs of gratitude to these writers for making me laugh out loud.

Climate-Impact Writing

As serious as this subject is, I couldn’t help but laugh now and then through my tears while reading poet John Olson’s commentary on moving to a new planet. He posted this synopsis to Facebook:

The world is broken. We broke it. We broke the weather. We broke the oceans. We broke the lakes and forests. We broke the animals. We broke the insects. We broke the dirt. We broke Greenland. We broke privacy and solitude. We broke silence and fog. We broke the sky. The jet stream and polar vortices have gone insane. They howl their way around the world like Slinkys on methamphetamine. Catastrophic floods in France. Eight years of drought in California. Iguanas dropping out of the trees in Florida. I don’t think we’ll be getting our deposit back.
—Condensed by the author from Planet Hunting (Tillalala Chronicles, 25 February 2018); appears here with his permission

Works by Olson in KF-9 include a lyric/craft essay, Please, Somebody Help Me; and [Five Commentaries on Imminent Doom].

We also present four timely works by Ashley Shelby: a triptych of first-impact micro-fictions and an essay, Toward a New Climate Change Genre: First Impact Fiction, in which she writes:

...By rendering a First Impact world, where readers see both the familiar and the slightly strange, we [fiction writers] may be able to, through art and imagination, send the message that scientists and journalists have thus failed to effectively deliver...
Nonfiction and Visual Art

In addition to nonfiction and artworks listed above, you will also find:

Lyric memoirs by Cherie Hunter Day, Whitney Egstad, and Dan Gilmore

CNF by Melanie Dunbar and Lynn Mundell

Five digital artworks by Alexis Rotella, as well as five photographs of calcite and copper by Cindy L. Sheppard (one of our Contributing Editors)

Finally, there’s Bill Mohr’s marvelous review of Enter Here, the full-length collection of erotic poetry by Alexis Rhone Fancher:

“One should be warned, as one often is in literature with directional indicators: reading these poems will arouse you, not so much carnally but with an adamant curiosity about that bondage that sexual desire imposes on us, if we but give it the slightest opening. The photograph on the book’s cover sums up how huge the consent is once we crack the door even slightly.” Cover of Enter Here, narrative and erotic poetry by Alexis Rhone Fancher
KYSO Flash (2017)
Thank You!

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