Our 2017 Pushcart Choices
WE HAVE an image in our heads of a back room at Pushcart Press. In the room are envelopes– stacks of postmarked envelopes. Corridors of mountains of stacks of mailed envelopes sent by every literary press or project in America– nominations for the 2017 Pushcart Prize. Ours is there, in the room, somewhere, among them.
We’re optimists, so we designed our mailing and its Intro letter– and chose our nominees– with a goal in mind: winning the elusive prize. The odds? What are odds!? We sneer at the odds! We have no “name” writers, and we aren’t a name ourselves to the good people at Wainscott, New York. But we’re here and we believe in ourselves and our project.
This year we published a number of excellent stories, poems, and profiles. Many could have been nominated. We used reasoning and rationalizations to make our selections– all such decisions are ultimately arbitrary, based on whim and whisper as much as logic. So it was with us.
OUR SELECTIONS and the reasons for them:
“Elusive Instinct” by Ana Prundaru.
Simple, clear writing. Perfectly easy to get into, but with marked style as well. No easy trick to accomplish. A story whose tone and mood fits the stylish aesthetic to which we aspire.
“Dry Bones” by Sonia Christensen, and “The Fetus” by Clint Margrave.
Two well-written, powerful stories which begin with intriguing openings. Read the first sentences of both of them. The titles themselves are provocative and visual. More than this, the stories are works of art with depth of meaning to them.
“Operative 73 Takes a Swim” by Wred Fright.
This one is so different from the norm in execution, ideas, and plot we believe it would catch anyone’s eye. Even in Wainscott, should any eye happen to glance at it, within the mountains and stacks. Like the others, it’s also a terrific little tale. Wred has published work with New Pop Lit on several occasions, is overdue for recognition from us. The lesson: keep sending us work!
Finally, we nominated two short-but-striking Appreciations of American writers, which we published as part of the ongoing All-Time American Writers Tournament.
One, about Philip K. Dick, is by D.C. Miller. The other, about Gene Wolfe, is by Robin Wyatt Dunn. Two able wordsmiths who can do much with a limited amount of words.
We love and respect all the writers we’ve published, and all who’ve submitted work. Without the writer we’re nowhere– just a blank screen awaiting the magic of art.