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Winner of Publishers Weekly's Carey-Thomas Award, selected many times as an "Outstanding Book of the Year" by The New York Times Book Review, and chosen for two Book of the Month Club QPBC selections, the annual Pushcart Prize sets the standard of excellence for literary anthologies. Each year it presents the most distinguished short stories, essays and poetry first published by small presses and magazines nationwide and each year it ...
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Winner of Publishers Weekly's Carey-Thomas Award, selected many times as an "Outstanding Book of the Year" by The New York Times Book Review, and chosen for two Book of the Month Club QPBC selections, the annual Pushcart Prize sets the standard of excellence for literary anthologies. Each year it presents the most distinguished short stories, essays and poetry first published by small presses and magazines nationwide and each year it is hailed as a touchstone of literary discovery. This year The Pushcart Prize surpasses its own reputation with an astonishing diversity of writers, some renowned and many others destined for fame. Selected from the pages of Ontario Review, Agni, Exquisite Corpse, Iowa Review, Threepenny Review, Black Sparrow Press, Witness, Georgia Review, Triquarterly, Bomb, Caribbean Writer and dozens more, The Pushcart Prize XIX picked witht the participation of over 180 outstanding contributing editors, brings together the finest writing in America today, and continues its tradition of introducing to a wider public the dazzling literary galaxy of the small press.
Over sixty selections of the best poetry, essays, and short fiction have been selected out of thousands of nominations from Pushcart staff contributing editors and hundreds of small presses. The result is an introduction to a literary world that few readers have access to--the world where much of today's significant writing is published.
Series editor and publisher Henderson has long had a sharp eye for talent and for the quirky, if not the trendy. Here, despite the expected occasional dud, he has culled interesting works from 44 sources ranging from the high-profile Paris Review to the low- profile The Baffler. The latter publication, in fact, chips in with one of the anthology's highlights, a lengthy essay titled "Dark Age: Why Johnny Can't Dissent," by Tom Frank. Among other astute jabs, Frank eschews what passes for political "dialogue" from public officials and those on the campaign trail in favor of business journals and papers like the Wall Street Journal. There, he says, is the place "to find serious talk about national affairs." Barry Lopez's tribute to the late Wallace Stegner is also a gem, as is Hope Edelman's "Bruce Springsteen and the Story of Us," wherein she confesses to losing her virginity to the throbbing beat of "Hungry Heart." There's a potent short story by S.L. Wisenberg called "Big Ruthie Imagines Sex Without Pain," which may remind some of Grace Paley, and another fine piece of work by Daniel Orozco, "The Bridge," in which a member of a painting crew comes face-to-face with a woman who's just leapt to her death. The poetry entries don't always measure up. Lackluster poems from Czeslaw Milosz and Seamus Heaney are offset by sharp work from Kim Addonizio and Loretta Collins, whose "Fetish" is a wickedly funny paean to shoes.
The Pushcart series is the best of its kind and a worthy effort simply because Henderson ignores the latest trends and fads and zeroes in on quality wherever he happens to find it.