University of Iowa

Flash Fictions, Prose Poems, Micro Memoirs

Weeklong June 09 to June 14 2019

Without fretting over the boundaries separating these closely related genres, the class will focus on learning and putting into practice principles that allow extremely short narrative works to achieve great emotional, imaginative, and sensory power. Reading as a writer (itself a rewarding and essential activity), you will explore the techniques involved in a variety of published very short narratives in different genres. You will begin and employ a special kind of writer’s notebook, designed to bring to your workbench experiences and areas of expertise and knowledge that are invaluable resources for distinctive, powerful writing (in short or long forms). You will have the option of surveying longer pieces you have already written or are working on, looking for vivid, self-contained passages that can be extracted (copied, not cut), shaped, polished, and published on their own.


Drawing on memory, attention, imagination, and technique, you will generate during the course of the week the first draft of four or five new pieces of potentially publishable writing—very short stories, prose poems, or brief memoirs. You will receive reader response to each of these pieces from the instructor and others in the workshop, and in turn you will practice responding usefully to your classmates’ new drafts. Although the workshop is not focused on genre labeling, we won’t ignore distinctions, either; we will stay alert to the particular demands and opportunities each genre presents and ask ourselves periodically whether a shift of genre might help a piece achieve its richest potential.


In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts; provide feedback on writing you bring from home or produce in our week.


Hybrid Forms