Short Prose Forms

WRIT S4308
3 points
Session, Day & Time: TBA
Instructor: Justin Taylor
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How short can a story be? Can we create the beauty and richness of a novel in a piece that is as short as a sentence, at the most only a page or two? In this course, we'll explore what we can (and can't ) do in work that is under 2,000 words as we look at the increasingly popular and innovative form of the "short short"prose poems, flash fiction and brief (very brief) personal essays under 2,000 words. The form offers the writer the chance to hone in on and focus on their craft, by paying close attention to detail, language, character, voice and tone, while also creating work that is immediate, urgent and often extraordinarily innovative. Students will write and discuss short pieces that may be fragments, moments or lists, surreal or dreamlike, traditional or experimental, but are always, as the author Jayne Anne Phillips says, "Fast, precise, over. And not over. The one-page fiction should hang in the air of the mind like an image made of smoke."

This course is primarily a workshop, so students will write 3-4 pieces (in and out of class), and we'll also read and discuss short pieces by Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, Mavis Gallant, Dave Eggers, Christine Schutt, Jamaica Kincaid, Michael Ondaatje, and Lydia Davis.

Tuition & Fees
For information on tuition and course fees, please refer to our Tuition & Fees page.

Materials Fee: $20
For questions about School of the Arts course content, please write to our summer team at For all other Summer Program questions, including admissions, registration, and billing, please contact the School of Continuing Education summer team at, or 212-854-9666.

About the Instructor
Justin Taylor
Justin Taylor is the author of the story collection Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, The Believer, Tablet, Tin House and the New York Times Book Review. more
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