It seems that certain art forms rise and fall over time -- or maybe all art forms do. The 60's were great for rock music, the 1600's for painting, etc. The 80's were definitely a wonderful time for the short story. Kicked off by Carver, the decade really just exploded with new and interesting voices: Laurie Moore, Charles Baxter, Amy Hempel, Grace Paley, Ann Beattie, Rick Bass, Richard Ford, etc.
Or do I just think that because I started reading short stories then, and was all pre-cynical and loving everything?
I feel like short stories are at a low ebb now, though there are some signs of strength and originality, like the quasi-science fiction stuff by Kelly Link. I'm not sure if the lack of short story energy is on the part of writers, readers, or publishers, or if it's just one of those cyclical things. Another possible explanation is that the personal essay and memoir have largely eclipsed fiction. If that's the case, then I guess that memoir has about two or three years to run its course, and then fiction -- including short fiction -- will rise again. (Hmm... that has a kind of "famous last words" ring about it...)
Meanwhile, according to the very cool blog Syntax of Things, February is SoTShoStoWriMo, or Syntax of Things Short Story Writing Month. I have been enjoying NaNoWriMo for a couple of years now, so maybe I'll give it a try. In any case, I highly suggest checking out the blog, as well as the other literary blogs we've linked to.
I certainly would love to see a short story renaissance.