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.
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."
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.
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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.