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 Most summer courses are offered at the standard Continuing Education tuition rate of $1,512 per point ($4,536 for a 3-point course and $9,072 for a six-point intensive). For more detailed information, please see "tuition and fees": http://arts.columbia.edu/summer/tuition-fees
Materials fee: $20
About the instructor
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, TheBeliever, Tablet, Tin House and the New York Times Book Review.His second story collection, Flings, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August 2014. He lives in Brooklyn and at http://www.justindtaylor.net/ .