‘Shot of Short’ #40: Graduate Seminar by Dennis Cooper

Title: Graduate Seminar by Dennis Cooper
Date Read: 13 June 2009
Available Online?: YES (as one of the stories posted by Harper Perennial on their website Fifty-Two Stories, which promises a new (or classic) short story from their collection, posted every week throughout 2009)
Briefly: In a story presented completely in two-way dialogue, an insistent art student hounds an artist about the details that surround his most controversial and famous work. What unfolds is the revelation that the artist’s work is about as controversial as it gets.
Afterthoughts: Wow what a real talent Mr. Cooper is. To tell a story this good is 500 words? Wow! What I love is the gradual release of detail from Cooper; detail which grows more and more shocking as the story unfolds. No excuse for not reading this one folks. It’s only going to take 5-10 minutes out of your time and you won’t regret it.
Notable Quote: “That’s Ty Wilson, need I say, who, according to the history books, collaborated with me on Railroad Tie, and who is now of course very famous, more famous in fact than myself, even though he never made a single artwork on his own and did nothing with regards to Railroad Tie apart from appearing in it.”

Rating: ★★★★½

*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I need to go back to this site. I read one back in Feb. and was impressed. This one has me intrigued, too.