In this course, students will explore the art of flash fiction and create a portfolio of miniature stories (100 to 700 words per story). Flash fiction, once marginal, has now gained mainstream acceptance and is also known as microfiction, microstories, miniatures, short-shorts, short short stories, very short stories, prose poetry, postcard fiction, sudden fiction, and nanofiction. The form takes the popular writer's adage less is more quite seriously, giving students the opportunity to create dynamic, compact, and highly polished jewels in a relatively short space of time. Gesturing toward the transcendent, liberatory capacity of the form, flash fiction exponent, Stuart Dybek, states, “Within the constraint of their small boundaries the writer discovers great freedom.” Students will read selections from works by famous and lesser-known exponents of the form: Yasunari Kawabata, Gertrude Stein, Lydia Davis, James Wright, Stuart Dybek, Luis Cernuda, Charles Simic, Margaret Atwood and others. Students will be encouraged to playfully experiment with the form and discover for themselves if it is “rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of the psyche, the prickings of consciousness” as stated by French poet and art critic, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), a critical founding figure of the form.