Studies in Writing: Short Form Prose

English 4040/7040
Short Form Prose: Flash Non-Fiction, Microessay, Prose Poem, Zuihitsu, Haibun, and more
Section 1
Aliki Barnstone

This course focuses on reading and writing pieces that are 750 words or less. We will journey in the art of short non-fiction prose in its various forms—including flash non-fiction, micro-essay, prose poem, zuihitsu, haibun, and more—and make discoveries about ourselves and our capacity write short form prose inventively, playfully, experimentally. At the core of this course is the idea that art generates art. This means that our readings teach us about the legacy of non-fiction forms and about the possibilities of the future, so we will read widely and attentively. Together we will develop a vocabulary for understanding the distinctions between and intersections of short non-fiction forms, and we will encourage each other to explore those forms ourselves.

In addition to writing in response to our reading, we will explore the generative power of other arts and history. We’ll engage in ways to generate writing through games and prompts, journaling, and visits to the Missouri State Historical Society, Special Collections and Rare Books in Ellis Library, and perhaps various art galleries in town. In our reading and writing we will explore family, the spirit of place, history, collage, the possibilities of mixed media and collaboration, and more.

Students are required write and revise 12 short pieces, which they will gather in a chapbook, keep a reading and writing notebook, and be an attentive and active participant.