>I think you’ve been waiting for Bateau. This is a brand new literary magazine established by poet James Grinwis. Each copy is a work of art, really, printed by letterpress and beautifully designed. And then there’s the content. It is filled with 80 pages of imaginative poetry, flash fiction, playlets and comics, and there’s more continuity to that combination than you might think.
As a fiction writer, the flash pieces were my focus. Among writers and editors there is a diversity of opinion as to what constitutes flash fiction. Length is only one parameter and the upper limit for Bateau is 500 words. Some writers view flash fiction as simply a compressed short story. Others feel that compression isn’t enough, that the narrative needs to by lyrical and perhaps startling. In the hands of a poet, it isn’t a surprise to see flash fiction that is more akin to prose poetry – short lyrical prose pieces that don’t necessarily include a time-based narrative that you would expect in fiction. At least the latter is my impression of what might find favor at this magazine.
Having said that, “Ji Mo” by Patrick Dacey does move through time. “Ji Mo has a dream to go to New Zealand.” It isn’t a traditional narrative, but there is a story here. Then there’s “Girl With Wings” by Janet Thorning. I love this story about a child born with wings who learns to fly when she’s four. “Madame, why are you staring at me?” Hah! Why indeed?
The poetry also appeals to me. I liked “Dispensation” by Peter Jay Shippy (“It was Sunday, a lovely summer day/It was Friday at the start of autumn”) and I especially liked “Used Books” by Sarah Sloat (“I like them dog-eared and lawnsoft,/ and savor the character of winestain/ and thumbsmudge”)
There’s more. Order a copy and find out yourself.