KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
“Flash isn’t a fad, it’s an art; and while I hope people can have fun with it, its pursuit should still be taken seriously.”
— Tara L. Masih, editor of Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction


Contemporary Works We Like

Strongly encouraged reading, particularly for writers of all genres: Brought to a Boil: An Essay on Experimental Poetry by John Olson, award-winning author of four novels and nine books of poems and prose poems

Haiku: a poetry of absence or an absence of poetry? (subtitled “Minimalism in Contemporary English Language Haiku”), a paper presented by Lynne Rees at the PALA (Poetics and Linguistics Association) 2015 Conference at Canterbury University, Kent, United Kingdom (16 July 2015)

New Online Mag Showcases Wealth of Flash Fiction Forms, review of KYSO Flash Winter 2015 by Michael Pritchett in The Review Review (July 2015)

Six Questions for Clare MacQueen, Editor-in-Chief, KYSO Flash, by Jim Harrington in Six Questions for... (26 June 2015)

Ten Things I Look For When Selecting Submissions, by Cara Cochran in The Review Review (April 2015)

25 Tanka Prose: Introduction: TP or not TP, That Is the Question, by Bob Lucky in Atlas Poetica: A Journal of Poetry of Place in Contemporary Tanka (July 2011)

A Note on Flash Fiction: Essay in New World Writing (Spring 2014) in which Robert Shapard discusses, “Can fiction keep up with rapidly changing technology?”

More than the Birds, Bees, and Trees: A Closer Look at Writing Haibun, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, at

Points of Entry: Article by David Orr in The New York Times (November 22, 2013) on “The wrangling over poetry’s accessibility”

The Surprising Power of Stories That Are Shorter Than Short Stories: Article by Joe Fassler in The Atlantic (11 June 2014) in which Stuart Dybek talks about how to layer meaning into works of flash fiction

Contemporary Works We Like:

Initially, during the three-month period before the launch of our first issue in October 2014, this list was offered for potential contributors who wanted to read examples of content and style that interest us.

Even though Issues 1–12 of KYSO Flash are now available for perusal, webmaster Clare MacQueen is an archivist at heart and decided to keep this list as an additional resource. At 53 authors and 78 pieces, it is by no means exhaustive, but does illustrate a range of genres and very short pieces we appreciate.

Works referred to in the tables below are from 55 to 1,000 words long, and are published elsewhere online (with one exception: Bill Cullen’s 48-word-long haiku sequence, ”Driving Cross Country,” which appears in Issue 8 of KYSO Flash). Listings link directly to each piece.


Clare counts Kimbra Cutlip’s short story, Cavallo, among her all-time favorites. The story was nominated by Serving House Journal for a Pushcart Prize in 2011.

She also is moved to tears of admiration and gratitude by Leslie What’s essay, Why I Wash the Dead, which was first published in Parabola twelve years ago (Summer 2002); and reprinted in New Vilna Review (April 2008) and Serving House Journal (Issue 16, Spring 2017).

At ~3400 and 1963 words respectively, these pieces are too long for KYSO Flash, but what splendid reads. Highly recommended!

Subgenre Author Title
CNF Richard Reoch * A Buddhist Brawl,
from “Eight Views on the Practice of Politics”
CNF Naomi Talushkin Quotes

* Top-rated favorite

Subgenre Author Title
Essay Brian Doyle * Joyous Voladoras 1
Essay Brian Doyle * Leap
Essay Tessa Fontaine The Blind Prophets of Easter Island
Essay Roxane Gay There Are Distances Between Us
Essay Lance Larsen Tired
Essay Liz Scheid * In the Language of 2
Essay David Shields Our Time Here Will Be Brief

* Top-rated favorite

1. Stunning, on several levels

2. OMG! As in, Oh. My. Goodness!

Subgenre Author Title
Fib 3 Todd Mercer Ejection Seat
Fib Ron Riekki Numbers (Apocrypha) 4
Fib A.E. Stallings Four Fibs 5

3. Invented by Gregory K. Pincus in 2006, fibs are six-line, syllabic poems based on the Fibonacci sequence, in which the first two numbers are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc.). Fibs may also appear in stanzas of ascending and descending lines, and others may contain lines of 55 syllables or more.

4. This poem takes liberties with the “traditional” fib structure by turning it upside-down. Plus, it contains multitudes and contradictions. Definitely worth reading.

5. A fine quartet which illustrates nicely that fibs are serious poetry, with rhymes no less. And dialogue. And a liberal infusion of wit.

Subgenre Author Title
Flash Fiction Kimbra Cutlip Wednesday Wings
Flash Fiction Jim Ray Daniels Soul Sacrifice 6
Flash Fiction Frances Lefkowitz From Five Works:
Some Kind of Welfare; She Forgot the Place; and Inhaling the Future
Flash Fiction Ravi Mangla Feats of Strength 7
Flash Fiction Tara L. Masih * The Red Door
Flash Fiction Bruce Holland Rogers Periwinkles
Flash Fiction, Triptych Gail Louise Segal Excavation
Flash Fiction Emma Torzs Poolside 6
Flash Fiction Sarena Ulibarri * Lily Pad Interlude
Flash Fiction Barry Yourgrau Prelude 7

* Top-rated favorite

6. Appears on Wigleaf’s list of Top 50 Very Short Stories, 2014

7. Appears on Wigleaf’s list of Top 50 Very Short Stories, 2011

Subgenre Author Title
Haibun 8 Matthew Caretti * Immolation 9
Haiku Sequence William Cullen, Jr. Driving Cross Country 10
Haibun Margaret Dornaus Love Letter to a Dead Poet
Haibun Michael McClintock The Importance of Goldfish
Haibun Robert Root Mirrors
Haibun Pat Tompkins A Kind of Dinosaur?
Haibun Pat Tompkins Thumbs Down

* Top-rated favorite

8. Haibun Definitions at Contemporary Haibun Online

 9. Only 55 words, yet it describes the ultimate: a loving-kindness for others which most of us cannot fathom.

 10. A blend of traditional and contemporary, a timely commentary, a concise travelogue (tip of the hat to Basho), and a fine example of the skillful use of the 5-7-5 syllabic pattern.

Subgenre Author Title
Memoir Judson Mitcham The Signature of God
Memoir David Sedaris * Big Boy
Memoir Paul Vega * Whiteout

* Top-rated favorite

Subgenre Author Title
Micro Essay Robert Olen Butler A Short Short Theory
Micro Essay Steve Davenport Dear Money Shot
Micro Essay Kathleen Norris Rain
Micro Essay Nicole Walker Five Micro-Essays:
Microbags, Microchips, Microtrain, Microsoccer, and Microsmooth
(see also Commentary)
Subgenre Author Title
Micro Fiction Roxane Gay La Lonchera
Micro Fiction Frances Lefkowitz From Five Works:
Sharks; and The Man with the Bottle and the Nerve
Micro Fiction Tara L. Masih The VW and the Caddy 10
Micro Fiction Deb Olin Unferth Minor Robberies
Micro Fiction Leslie What * Dog Eat Dog
Micro Fiction Leslie What * Milkweed
Micro Fiction Barry Yourgrau * Sunday Morning

* Top-rated favorite

10. A remarkable story told within 60 words, including the title.

Genre Author Title
Poetry Francesca Bell * I Long to Hold the Poetry Editor’s Penis in My Hand
Poetry Catherine Carter Day of the Dead
Poetry, Ekphrastic Kate Daniels * War Photograph 11
Poetry Seamus Heaney Personal Helicon
Poetry, Ekphrastic David Kirby Two Poems:
The Wedding Photo; and Delacroix’s Lib­erty on the
Poetry Steve Kowit * A Prayer
Poetry Dorianne Laux This Close 12
Poetry Alison Luterman * Jesus Incognito
Poetry Sharon Olds First Sex
Poetry Sharon Olds * The Pope’s Penis
Poetry Peter Pereira Holy Shit
Poetry Jennifer Perrine Two Poems:
Humility|Pride; and Envy|Kindness

* Top-rated favorite!

11. Based on Nick Ut’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning image, “Napalm Girl”

12. Blog-entry reprint has two typos: In line 6, “Head” should read “Heat” and in Line 11, the comma after “Eyes” is missing.

Genre Author Title
Prose Poetry Nin Andrews Adolescence
Prose Poetry Nin Andrews Spontaneous Breasts
(see also Commentary)
Prose Poetry Maxine Chernoff How Lies Grow
Prose Poetry Maxine Chernoff * Wearing Moe
Prose Poetry Genevieve Fitzgerald One Foot on Each Side
(on page 7 of Journal)
Prose Poetry Lynn Kilpatrick Two Pieces:
Temptations; and The guy who planted those flowers
Prose Poetry Alison Luterman * What About God
Prose Poetry John Yau * By the Green Hills of Manhattan
Prose Poetry John Yau Questionnaire

* Top-rated favorite

Note: Yes, Carolyn Forché’s prose poem, “The Colonel,” is brilliant, a classic. It’s also very well-known and thus highly visible. One such resource is Poetry Foundation, where visitors can also listen to a reading of the work that Forché calls a “documentary poem.”


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