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Editor Lynne Barrett on Tigertail Anthology of Flash Fiction

​Tigertail releases a print poetry publication annually, each with a different guest editor. This year's annual, the ninth in their series, was edited by Lynne Barrett, Professor of English at Florida International University, and has moved into prose.

Authors submitted prose poetry, flash fiction, and flash nonfiction with a word limit of 305, in honor of our local area code. We had the opportunity to speak to Barrett in anticipation of the upcoming release party. 

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Miami New Times: How did this issue of Tigertail's print annual get started? Did you come up with the idea, and how?
Lynne Barrett:

Mary Luft, the Executive Director and Founder of Tigertail, invites in a

different guest editor each year for the print annual.  For the first

eight years, the collections centered on poetry, but when I was asked to

be this year's guest editor, I suggested that we look for short prose

poems, flash fiction, and flash nonfiction by writers with some

connection to Florida.  I came up with the phrase "Florida Flash" for

the concept, and set a maximum word count of 305, the original South

Florida area code.

How did you choose the 54 authors?
I contacted Florida writers I knew who were writing prose poems or flash prose pieces, asking them to submit and to recommend other writers of these forms who had some connection to Florida. There was a fairly short submission period, but lots of work came in. To have as many voices as the publication could hold and a diversity of subjects and approaches, I decided to limit it to one piece per contributor.

What does Florida mean to you and did any particular writer nail that for you?
I have written about Florida a lot myself. Most of the stories in my

new collection, Magpies,  are set there. Yet the writers came up with

subjects and angles that are distinctly their own, showing Florida's

complex mix of the powerful and the fragile--true of its environment,

and true of its humans, too. I could not choose one piece that says it

all, but together I think the 54 pieces make a mosaic about what it's

like here: sexy and sad, dismaying and dazzling. You can go from

Christopher Louvet's rhythmic and beautiful prose poem "A Partial

Taxonomy of Waves" to Geoffrey Philp's funny, wry story about a couple

who postpone their affair for years. Or read Joe Clifford's 19 word

story about a murder, Denise Delgado's imaginary radio script about the

plight of older people in Florida, and N. M. Kelby's piece that captures

homesickness in the form of a definition of the word "transplant."

What are your goals for the collection?
Working as an editor, you pick work you want people to see and enjoy. I

hope many will come out to the launch reading and the Book Fair panel,

or will order the collection from Tigertail or Books and Books.  I've

heard from a few teachers that they think the book would be a fresh way

to teach creative writing students in Florida about writing prose poetry

and short narrative.

WLRN-Miami Herald

News--inspired by the book--is going to invite their audience to submit

pieces of 305 words or less (prose poems, fiction, or nonfiction) that

take place in South Florida. Some of the authors from Tigertail, A South

Florida Annual: Florida Flash, will be reading on the air, and

submissions to the "South Florida Flash" contest will be accepted

starting Monday, October 17 and ending Sunday, November 13, the first day of

Miami Book Fair International. So I think we're going to have a great

time with flash writing in the 305.

Tigertail, A South Florida Annual: Florida Flash launch party at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables), Monday, October 17 at

8 p.m. Admission is free. Visit tigertail.org.

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