The Marie Alexander Series is dedicated to promoting the appreciation and enjoyment of prose poetry.

[Read More]





by Kim Chinquee

 She sleeps with the tiger. She rests on his shoulder and touches his fur. He is meaty and gentle, with big teeth he only shows with a yawn. She wakes from a dream and feels the tiger’s paw on her arm, and she wonders if there is a boy, her boy, in the next room. Not really a boy now. A man with a stuffed bear, and the bear is getting up to use the bathroom. She looks at her husband—in her dream there is Discovery, that mirage, the circus, tigers in big cages, a man, a bear, a trapeze artist. She hears flushing from the bathroom. She starts to get up to check if the bear is real and is her son a boy or man now? She moves closer to her husband. She pulls herself under him, like a blanket, hearing his heart thump evenly.

About the Author

Kim Chinquee grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. She served as a medical lab tech in the Air Force, and was stationed in Mississippi, Texas, England, Germany and North Dakota. She received her M.A. in creative writing from the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers, her M.F.A. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Henfield Prize. She is the author of the collections Oh Baby and Pretty, and her work has appeared in journals and anthologies including The Nation, NOON, The Huffington Post, Conjunctions, Willow Springs, Denver Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, American Short Fiction, Green Mountains Review, New York Tyrant, Fiction, Mississippi Review, and several others. She lives in Buffalo, New York, where she teaches creative writing.



These brief snapshots of conversations in specific settings manage to seem not like fragments of lost wholes but like vivid distillations of essential dramas, each a variation on the shared subject of thwarted intimacy. Though each snapshot is complete in itself, the book gathers mass and momentum, and so achieves a singular power.
— Carl Dennis
In her new book of very short stories, Kim Chinquee works the flash fiction form in much the same way that Raymond Carver worked somewhat longer story forms: with a stunningly complex simplicity. There is always a roiling subtext beneath the seemingly placid surfaces and tones of Chinquee’s stories, a dichotomy which speaks to deep truths about the human condition. Kim Chinquee is a true artist with a true vision, and Pretty is a brilliant book.
— Robert Olen Butler
Kim Chinquee writes with remarkable heart and grace. Her wise capsulizings of love’s devastations and of life’s roil and disappointments come at you with a sorrowing precision that comforts even as it haunts.
— Gary Lutz
In her new collection of prose poems/flash fictions, Pretty, Kim Chinquee peels back the surface layers of human experience, giving her readers poignant glimpses of a girl struggling with identity, longing, and unrequited love. But these are not the fanciful farces we were fed as young girls; the lessons Chinquee’s character Elle learns as she grows from a young girl to maturity are raw, candid, and unapologetic…her stories leave us with questions such as: What constitutes truth? How do the roles we play influence others? In what ways do we sabotage ourselves? And that’s what good writing should do—leave us wondering, experiencing, and discovering again and again.
— Julie Colombo, Rain Taxi
…the book as a whole moves toward becoming a major work of art. If the individual flashes don’t always come to more then a premonition, together they can take on a haunting wholeness—call it a gestalt. This is something I found lacking in another collection I read recently, Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer-winning Olive Kitteredge (2008), a novel in stories, Strout’s prose, like Moore’s, is richly textured, and her novelistic approach to stories is expansive: yet, in terms of their protagonists, neither of their books is more various, or deeper, than Chinquee’s Pretty. In fact, I dare say they are less so. Strout or Moore may tell you everything you want to know about a character, but also more than you want to know; Chinquee tells you less, and leaves you desiring.
— Robert Shapard, American Book Review
Once asked why he kept making small films in terms of characters and length—chamber pieces for lack of a better word—Ingmar Bergman quoted Frederic Chopin’s answer to a woman who asked why he concentrated more on sonatas and concertos instead of that grand, opulent form—the symphony: ‘My kingdom is a small one, but I am its king.’ People have voiced similar concerns about flash fiction or very short fiction or any of the other diminutives for the form that currently saturates the internet. In the spirit of her Northern European brothers I offer Kim Chinquee as the answer—the queen of flash fiction—and her most recent collection, Pretty. In curt sentences detailing many unsettled lives, Chinquee constructs a mosaic of despair in modern day America.
— Greg Gerke, The Rumpus

Release DateApril 2010




Dimensions6 x 0.2 x 9 inches

Angles of Approach

Angles of Approach

Reaching Out to the World

Reaching Out to the World