The Pushcart Prize XXXVI: Best of the Small Presses 2012

The Pushcart Prize XXXVI: Best of the Small Presses 2012

by Bill Henderson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The most honored literary series in America celebrates thirty-six years of continuous publication.
"As ever, an essential barometer for spotting literary trends and for writers figuring out where to send the next submission. And, as ever, essential, period," said Kirkus Reviews about 2010's Pushcart Prize XXXV. "An exciting overview of American literature," noted…  See more details below

Overview

The most honored literary series in America celebrates thirty-six years of continuous publication.
"As ever, an essential barometer for spotting literary trends and for writers figuring out where to send the next submission. And, as ever, essential, period," said Kirkus Reviews about 2010's Pushcart Prize XXXV. "An exciting overview of American literature," noted Booklist, and Publishers Weekly added, "A monumental year."
In The Pushcart Prize XXXVI more than sixty selections of memoirs, poetry, essays, and short stories have been picked from thousands of nominations by Pushcart Press staff editors and hundreds of small presses.
This year Michael Waters and Laura Kasischke will serve as guest poetry editors. The result: "The most creative, generous, and democratic of any of the annual volumes" (Rick Moody).
Among its numerous awards, the Pushcart Prize has been chosen for the Poets & Writers / Barnes & Noble "Writers for Writers" Award and the National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement recognition.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The latest Pushcart Prize anthology once again delivers the year's best writing in one accessible package. In "Mishti Kukur," Deborah Thompson recalls visiting her husband's relatives in India six years after his death, and describes the solace she finds in the stray dogs she could watch but not touch. Anis Shivani's "The MFA/Creative Writing System is a Closed, Undemocratic, Medieval Guild System That Represses Good Writing" offers excellent, necessary criticism. Outstanding poetry selections include works by Joy Katz, Mark Halliday, Douglas Goetsch, Judith Kitchen, and Stephen Dobyns. Halliday's "Meditation After an Excellent Dinner" is surely the most irreverent: "When I shop at Whole Foods I try to remember/we are all going to die because this makes the imported groceries/luminous with their being, you know, not forever." Fiction fans will find many new favorites, including Elizabeth Tallent's remarkable "Never Come Back," which tells the story of a family in turmoil after a teenager's pregnancy. In "We Don't Deserve This" by Sandra Leong, absentee parents must face their sociopath children, who have been suspended from boarding school, accused of trafficking other students. This outstanding anthology more than earns its reputation as a must-have for readers of contemporary literature.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews

The annual Pushcart Prize anthology hits three dozen with characteristic heft and customary good taste.

Volume editor Henderson's introductory essays have always been part of the charm of his annuals, prizeworthy in their own right, and this one is no exception: In the space of a few pages, he dedicates the enterprise to Reynolds Price, a founding editor and master of contemporary literature, contemplates E.F. Schumacher's "small is beautiful" ethic as it applies to the small-press world, snarks against e-books and reckons, quoting his poetry editor, that the business of being a Pushcart judge is "an impossible job." Granted, but the impossibility yields some very good work in this case. A standout on the poetry front is Douglas Goetsch's odd lyric "Black People Can't Swim," its controversy-begging title unfolding a complex tale of ethnic relations in a supposedly post-racial America. Meanwhile, stalwart Paul Zimmer, writing in theGettysburg Review(which, small-press literature being an incestuous enterprise, Goetsch edits), turns in a lively short story, "Brief Lives," that becomes a bittersweet meditation on how age divides us, with anyone old enough to remember C.P. Snow's two-cultures division suspect in this brave new world. Never mind that Zimmer's contentious cuss remembers Snow's thesis as "a good shtick for a while and he cleaned up with some best sellers." Whether there are any bestsellers here remains to be seen, but a few trends can be spotted, including a growing obsession, it would seem, with food: "Today, for no good reason, I ate two slices of toasted cinnamon/raisin bread at 9:30 a.m., a mere two hours since breakfast." "We waited for the meal to be cooked when we had food, but when we didn't, we waited for the trucks to bring food." If these concerns seem Carveresque, see editor Gerry Howard's fine disquisition on how privileged MFA students ape the working class when not despising it, then turn to Anis Shivani's essay "The MFA/Creative Writing System Is a Closed, Undemocratic Medieval Guild That Represses Good Writing," whose title says it all—and then ponder how many of these contributors participate in that system.

As ever, there are a few misfires and humdrummeries, but the Pushcart anthology remains essential for players in the writing game.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781888889642
Publisher:
Pushcart Press, The
Publication date:
11/15/2011
Series:
Pushcart Prize Series, #36
Edition description:
2012 Edition
Pages:
600
Sales rank:
1,124,003
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

Meet the Author

Bill Henderson is the founder and editor of the Pushcart Prize. He received the 2006 National Book Critic Circle’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Poets & Writers / Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award. He is also the author of several memoirs, including All My Dogs: A Life. The founder of the Lead Pencil Club, Henderson lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >