Monday, June 20, 2016

Between the Lines: Phillip Sterling's Island

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate

Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Phillip Sterling

Phillip Sterling

Phillip Sterling likes his writing short. In his poetry, he captures the passing image. In his prose, he writes a quick vignette, enjoying the word play. But he passes on the novel; it's just not his thing. Instead, Sterling has gained acclaim for his collection of flash fiction, In Which Brief Stories are Told, and even shorter "micro-fiction," Animal Husbandry. He wrote his newest poetry collection, And for All This (Ridgeway Press, 2015) while he was artist-in- residence on Isle Royale in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

On Saturday, June 25, from noon to 4 p.m., Sterling will lead a workshop called "Flash Fiction Writing" at Kazoo Books on Parkview Avenue in Kalamazoo. The event is for youth in grades 7 through 12 and costs $35.
“Gloria Tiller, the owner at Kazoo Books, wanted to aim the workshop toward youth,” Sterling says. “It’s really fun. We do a number of exercises that focus on the basic structure of a very short story, which is very similar to a paragraph. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, even though it is very short.”
Sterling says flash fiction tends to be around 500 to 800 words long, although magazines that publish the genre set their own rules for length. Some pieces have as many as a thousand words.
Sterling writes both poetry and prose, but when it comes to choosing between them, he jokes: “It depends on ...

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