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The Pushcart Prize XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses

Overview

The 37th edition of ?A distinguished annual literary event.? - New York Times Book Review
For well over three decades, the Pushcart Prize has presented a stunning annual celebration of stories, poems, essays and memoirs from our small presses. Once again this dynamic series proves that small is beautiful.
These 60 brilliant selections, culled from 8000 nominations and hundreds of presses provide "essential ...

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Overview

The 37th edition of “A distinguished annual literary event.” - New York Times Book Review
For well over three decades, the Pushcart Prize has presented a stunning annual celebration of stories, poems, essays and memoirs from our small presses. Once again this dynamic series proves that small is beautiful.
These 60 brilliant selections, culled from 8000 nominations and hundreds of presses provide "essential reading" (Kirkus) for avid readers of modern literature.
The Pushcart Prize has been named a notable book of the year by the New York Times, picked for several Book of the Month club selections, hailed by Publishers Weekly "as among the most influential books" in American publishing history, and recently awarded The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement award by the National Book Critics Circle.
This year distinguished poets Bob Hicok and Maxine Kumin serve as poetry co-editors.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It's been a good year at the small presses, and the 37th annual Pushcart Prize anthology is proof—much of the writing here, amassed from numerous publications, is excellent. In the stellar short fiction piece entitled "A Family Restaurant," Karen Russell describes the titular eatery's "‘WORLD-FAMOUS' FROSTY TREAT, MAMA'S DEATHBED SHERBET!;" the late Harry Crews offers a frightening bit of memoir; and Marilynne Robinson addresses the uses of narrative and sanity in her sharp essay, "On ‘Beauty.'" Barely 20 pages later, the collection takes a dramatic turn—and it is these tectonic shifts that make this compilation so alluring—to Kent Russell's headlong nonfiction dive into the bawdy and bloody world of the American Juggalo. Interspersed throughout are some wonderful poems, including Diane Suess's "Everything Is Sexual or Nothing Is," and a smattering of mostly disappointing genre fiction. As is to be expected with an anthology of this size and scope, not everything works. Some of the pieces are saccharine, others fall flat. But on the whole, Henderson and company's selections are fresh and compelling, and provide an excellent glimpse into the state of the art outside of publishing's Big Six. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
An old literary warhorse plods along, with no sign of going lame--but without much energy, either. Readers who have followed Pushcart from day one--or year 36, for that matter--will know the formula: From a mountain of submissions curated by a small army of guest editors, Henderson mounds up a smaller mountain of "important works" by way of a sampling of the annual zeitgeist. As ever, the anthology numbers about 600 pages; as ever, it's fronted by a nicely ill-tempered complaint about the decline of publishing (a decline four decades running, that) and the end of the literary world as we know it; as ever, its organization shows no apparent reason, its poetry seldom a rhyme. And, as ever, there's a mix of contributors: Some are well into their careers, some at the end, others at the very beginning. Most are allied to the academy and its mutual and reciprocal logrolling rituals. There are plenty of good things here, including stories by Wendell Berry and Joyce Carol Oates, stalwarts ever, and a deliciously enigmatic poem by Jane Hirshfeld. But there are no real surprises. The tropes and props are remarkably constant from year to year: alcoholism, failed love, old movies, dreams. (Always dreams.) And there's no shortage of carefully crafted phrases, sanded to a fine gloss but never quite memorable ("Call me a Trendmonger, but I've sprung for a tree house"; "When midwestern bugs hit your windshield, they chink like marbles"). A trend in this year's batch: As with the larger society, guns and their associated violence seem to be ever more evident ("At her hip she carries handcuffs, a telescoping baton, a .40 caliber Glock") in these pages. Essential for writers real and potential studying the market and otherwise reading the tea leaves. For others, not so much.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781888889659
  • Publisher: Pushcart Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/15/2012
  • Edition description: 2013 Edition
  • Pages: 595
  • Sales rank: 733,896
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.80 (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.

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