The Pushcart Prize XXXVIII: Best of the Small Presses 2014

The Pushcart Prize XXXVIII: Best of the Small Presses 2014

by Bill Henderson
     
 

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“A stalwart and staple of American letters.” Kirkus Reviews
Winner of honors from the National Book Critics Circle, Publishers Weekly, Poets & Writers / Barnes & Noble and others, and acclaimed by readers and reviewers internationally, The Pushcart Prize series continues to be a testament to the flourishing of American fiction, essays, memoirs and…  See more details below

Overview

“A stalwart and staple of American letters.” Kirkus Reviews
Winner of honors from the National Book Critics Circle, Publishers Weekly, Poets & Writers / Barnes & Noble and others, and acclaimed by readers and reviewers internationally, The Pushcart Prize series continues to be a testament to the flourishing of American fiction, essays, memoirs and poetry in our small, independent presses. As commercial publishers consolidate into a few profit-driven conglomerates, small presses encourage literature that is lasting, important and exciting.
Edited with the assistance of over 200 distinguished Contributing Editors – including Guest Poetry Editors Patricia Smith and Arthur Sze – this volume includes over 60 fascinating works selected from thousands of nominations and hundreds of presses, a complete roster of today’s outstanding non-commercial publishers.
As David Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic commented on last year’s Pushcart Prize: “I’ve had a love of these anthologies for many years – for their diversity, their range of expression and also for their commitment to writing and publishing.”

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
The venerable literary annual turns 38, with no signs of slowing down. The Pushcart Prize volumes, notes chief editor and publisher Henderson, is "one of the last remaining collectives from the 60's and 70's," its crew numbering more than 200 contributing editors (along with guest editors, who this year include the poets Arthur Sze and Patricia Smith). As Henderson also notes, the present collection contains 68 selections, with a table of contents that reads like a well-stocked, if academic, literary conference, featuring the likes of Pam Houston, Amy Hempel, David St. John, Lorrie Moore and Louise Glück. All turn in good work; we would be surprised if it were less than competent, and in any event, none of the pros seem to be breaking a sweat. The surprises, and the best pieces here, are from relative newcomers--save for the best piece in the book, period, which is a nicely savage poem by the 15th-century rapscallion François Villon, translated by Richard Wilbur. Never mind the lame opener ("Not Lauryn Hill, the singer who did that song ‘Killing Me Softly,' but another Lauren Hill"); most of the newcomer pieces here are topical, well-crafted and often quite funny, some standouts being Steve Adams' memoir of bodywork and platonic love ("Like a first best friend, a first kiss, a first pet, I would never feel this kind of intimacy again"); Eric Fair's harrowing post–Abu Ghraib essay "Consequence"; and Sarah Frisch's lively, long and ultimately strange story "Housebreaking." Of a piece with previous Pushcart collections, all 37 of them, and a revealing picture of the state of the art in modern American letters.
Publishers Weekly
★ 08/26/2013
In its 38th edition, the Pushcart Prize anthology features a diverse selection of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction from hundreds of small presses. Exceptional fiction includes “A Full-Service Shelter,” Amy Hempel’s tale of tireless animal shelter volunteers taking on the Sisyphean task of saving animals slated for execution, as well as Lorrie Moore’s “Wings,” in which a washed-up musician finds an unlikely companion in her elderly neighbor. While some experimental fiction selections lack depth, the collection is more than redeemed by its striking nonfiction and essays, such as Andre Dubus III’s “Writing & Publishing a Memoir,” which is about reconciling his past with the version of it he presents in his coming-of-age memoir Townie; “The Healing Powers of the Western Oystercatcher,” in which Howard Norman recovers from the shock of a brutal murder-suicide that occurred in his home; and Bill Cotter’s account of being tasked with curating a collection of “the most important works of literature of all time,” in “The Gentle Man’s Library, a Nowaday Redux.” The collection’s poetry, selected by guest editors Patricia Smith and Arthur Sze, captures a variety of styles and subjects, with standouts from Louise Glück, Jeffrey Harrison, David Hernandez, and Eduardo C. Corral. With large publishing houses facing an uncertain future, the Pushcart Prize is more valuable than ever in highlighting the treasured voices thriving in America’s small presses. (Nov.)
John Sunyer - The Financial Times of London
“Great essayists are masters of opening sentences that pull you in with a precisely observed moment or epigram. This is certainly the case with the essays in this volume.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781888889703
Publisher:
Pushcart Press, The
Publication date:
11/06/2013
Series:
Pushcart Prize Series, #38
Pages:
600
Sales rank:
1,422,625
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.90(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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