We at New Pop Lit have joined the annual flood of mail sent off to the good people at Pushcart Press in Wainscott, New York, in the form of six nominations for consideration for Pushcart Prizes. Winners are included in the Pushcart Prize annual collection.
Every year the Pushcart people receive thousands of nominations from hundreds of literary outfits. The competition is stiff, to say the least.
If the editors have a bias, it’s understandably toward print journals, as they continue to operate in print. They may also be biased toward “name” writers– we’ve seen the likes of Joyce Carol Oates and Mary Gaitskill in their collection. This is understandable also. The Pushcart people seek credibility and recognition, just like the rest of us.
What should be our objectives when deciding which works published in the past year to nominate?
1.) To nominate some of our best/favorite writings. Including work that pleased our readers.
2.) To present an eclectic mix. We’ve included in our nominations this year a poem and a book review. “Eclectic” in our mind includes mixing younger and older writers.
3.) To give ourselves an outside chance that one of our nominations wins a Pushcart Prize. Which means, long stories or essays are out. As a print publication, Pushcart has strictly limited space. If an upstart like ourselves has ANY shot to be included, it’s with a short work that grabs their attention.
Perhaps the best story we published in the past year was “Lucid Dreamer,” by Scott Cannon. It starts slow, and is quite long. This excluded it, in our eyes, from being nominated. Fortunately, we ran a shorter work by Scott in 2016 which is also an excellent story.
The other side of the coin is that we nominated not one of the “flash fiction” stories we published. Which brings us to our fourth criterion:
4.) To indulge our capricious whims. We’re writers– artists– ourselves. Which means at some point we throw away logic and operate on emotion and instinct. if we don’t have fun doing this project– what’s the point?
–“Clarity,” a story by Alex Bernstein.
–“Ergo Propter Hoc,” a story by Scott Cannon.
–“Diminutives,” a story by Samuel Stevens.
–“The Old Neighborhood,” a story by Andy Tu.
–“Colapinto’s Undone,” a book review by Andrea Gregovich.
–“Death in the Medicine Cabinet,” a poem by Blixa BelGrande.
Many thanks also to Anne Leigh Parrish, Tom Ray, Jess Mize, Ian Lahey, Erin Chapman, “Fishspit,” Tarzana Joe, Dan Nielsen, Wred Fright, and the other talented writers we could’ve or should’ve nominated this year.
Thanks most of all to the people at Pushcart Press. The best way to support what they do is to purchase one of their collections– at a bookstore near you.