Today’s nonfiction writers have at hand a number of forms other than the essay and the memoir. There’s the flash essay, of course, and literary journalism. Then there’s the catch-all form of nonfiction known as the lyric essay. So, what do they all mean?
It’s easy to find an anthology on the flash form, possibly because Dinty W. Moore made the form famous in Brevity. He also edited the Rose Metal Press Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction, an anthology that contains a rather academic intro to discuss the flash essay, several examples of it by Nicole Walker, the late Judith Kitchen (likely the quintessential expert on the form and its biggest champion), and many others. These writers also offer writing prompts or assignments that let writers start off with a bang.
David Shields and Elizabeth Cooperman have compiled another anthology of short essays called Life Is Short— Art Is Shorter. The book claims to be a “rally for compression, concise, and velocity.” It begins a chaotic mess potentially intended to be a collage essay masking as an introduction by Shields. The rest, however, is another worthy collection of examples of the flash essay and prose poems. They’re gathered into sections called “Object,” “Prose Poem,” “Image Becomes Metaphor.” There are also sections that demonstrate the collage essay, trick stories, and criticism as autobiography as written by the likes of Lauren Slater, Lydia Davis, and Anne Lamott.
Check out the full post, including more examples of alternatives and places to find these forms.