Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Bookmarks--140 And Counting

140 And Counting140 And Counting by Joanne Merriam
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In an effort to write less and say more, I have taken to using the Twitter format (@bluemonk63). Along the way, I have found several others doing the same thing, precious few of them well.

In 140 And Counting, Joanne Merriam has collected 141 pieces of microlit: tiny poems and very short stories previous published in her webzine 7X20. I had expected to find some clever little lines, the sort of thing one thinks is funny or poignant the first time it is read and tedious after the third posting. However, nearly all of them are worth reading over and over.

What should appeal to the average reader is that most of the poems will not read like the haiku so many dislike because it seems to say nothing quickly. These poems, for the most part, are well crafted and thoughtful. The best of these caused me to stop and replay them in my mind.

The stories here also work like good poems, jabbing at the senses, the heart, and the mind like a dagger making quick work of our preconceived notions about fiction. Don't be surprised if you find yourself chuckling one minute and gasping the next.

A handful of the selections didn't work for me, but there were very few of these. And when I read over them a second time, I couldn't help thinking they would work for someone, that what didn't immediately resonate with me might well spark something in another reader.

Chances are you have not heard of any of the authors in 140 and Counting. But I hope you will have before too long. Joanne Merriam has collected some terrific pieces which well represent a genre that needs to be taken seriously.

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