Friday, 24 June 2016

Sudden Prose Reprints: Jennifer Kronovet's "With the Boy, Outside"

I was very impressed with Jennifer Kronovet's chapbook, Case Study: With: this is the first of four prose poems I'll be reprinting. Thanks to Jennifer for permission and to her publisher, rob mclennan, for bringing her work to my attention.

With the Boy, Outside

Twigs collect by the side of the path. Wild flowers space themselves. Pigeons respond instantly to being chased. If I look through the boy—to loss, to a future, to else—nothing is enough to hold the ground into one place. This is your foot, I say. But people don’t talk like that. I watch people gather their faces into thoughts I can’t hear. This is the space between us, I say waving my hands to make the distance.

Jennifer Kronovet
Case Study: With (above/ground, 2015)

Friday, 17 June 2016

Sudden Prose Reprints: Sarah Burgoyne's "The Basket Waltz"

The Basket Waltz

It was around that time of year when everyone decides to take their chances. The baker transformed into a cut of meat, and the funeral was solemn, the casket oddly-shaped. We hadn't learned any better, but then again, there was no one there to teach us. Asleep in the wild country, we watched the moths go up in flame.

Lay me down, prophets, and let me watch you read into things. It only took a couple of years to learn that the oracle can be sometimes wrong. One day, I taught her how to French braid her hair and from then on, braids became powerful symbols of widows. She told her secrets only to the dog, and when she died, the dog ran off into the woods, taking our bones with him.

When my daughter returns as an old woman, she’ll take up country singing. I’ll take up lodging in a nearby tree next to several spiders. We’ll spend our last days comparing webs, though I never will feel at the centre of mine. When my daughter passes, I’ll spin each note of "Walkin' After Midnight" into perfect white skeins of yarn.

Sarah Burgoyne
A Precarious Life on the Sea
above/ground press, 2016

To order a copy of A Precarious Life on the Sea, send cheques ($4 CAD, with $2 additional for postage outside Canada) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1H 7M9 or paypal at

Friday, 10 June 2016

Sudden Prose Reprints: "Rain" by Julia Webb


Daddy said that the FLOODS were coming and we believed him − it rained for days and we didn’t go out. Alice was grumpy because the holidays were being wasted but I didn’t mind I LIKE staying indoors. I decided to get everything out of the cupboard in our room. First I found NOAH’S ARK and lined up all the animals, but some of them wouldn’t stand up because they had broken legs. Next I played with Tiny Tears, but she couldn’t cry anymore. Then I tried to draw an Ark on the Etch-a- sketch but I couldn’t make the sides straight so I gave up and decided to find all my cuddly animals and get them ready for the REAL ARK. At dinner time on the fifth day of rain Daddy said that ALL THE SINNERS IN THE WORLD WOULD DROWN AND GOOD RIDDANCE, and I held Easter Bunny tight between my knees so he knew I would save him, and so that Daddy would not make me take him back upstairs because WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TOYS AT THE TABLE. That night I had a nightmare about water coming in the window and I woke up screaming. Mama said to Daddy NOW look what you’ve done! And she gave me a glass of milk and a biscuit even though we aren’t allowed to eat in bed. I saved the biscuit under my pillow because there won’t be much food on the Ark. When they had gone I couldn’t get back to sleep − I was too busy remembering all the BAD THINGS that I had done like writing POO in the back of a school book, and I decided that I would have to build MY OWN ARK in case Daddy couldn’t save me. I must have fallen asleep praying because the next minute the SUN was shining and Alice was bouncing on my bed saying Get up Lazy Bones the rain’s gone, and Mama says if we clear up we can go to the shops! And I knew that my prayers HAD been answered, and that I should try hard not to sin anymore. But I DID want some sweets, and as Mama says I AM ONLY A CHILD, so I kicked the mess under Alice’s bed, and wondered whether Daddy would buy me a new Tiny Tears if I accidently broke her arm off, because if I’m not going to die yet I WOULD like a doll who can REALLY CRY!

Julia Webb
Bird Sisters (Nine Arches, 2016)

Friday, 3 June 2016

Sudden Prose Reprints: "The Piano Lesson" by Julia Webb

The Piano Lesson

When I asked Daddy if I could learn the piano, he said NO because MUSIC IS THE DEVIL’S WORK. When Daddy was away doing GOD’S WORK Mama took us to visit the end-of- the-row neighbours. They are secret friends because they are BAPTISTS. They have our house back-to- front and a real live piano which sometimes I am allowed to play. Steve taught me COCKLES AND MUSSELS ALIVE ALIVE-O and in bed that night I sang the song to Alice. I was just getting to the good bit about the GHOST when Daddy banged in shouting STOP THAT NOISE, DON’T YOU KNOW THAT DUBLIN IS FULL OF HEATHENS AND PAPISTS? I didn’t know what a papist was, but I asked Daddy is Molly Malone a Papist? which made Alice snort with laughter. Daddy didn’t answer; he just slammed out again muttering about Papists and the devil. I hummed Cockles and Mussels under my breath until I fell asleep, and that night I dreamt that I was Molly Malone and my barrow looked a lot like a piano but with limpets stuck all over it like the rocks on the beach at the Sunday School outing.

Julia Webb
Bird Sisters (Nine Arches, 2016)