The Pushcart Prize 2006: XXX: The Best of the Small Presses

Bill Henderson, Editor, Pushcart Prize Editors, Manufactured by The Pushcart Prize 2006: XXX: The Best of the Small Presses ARRAY(0x221b118) $16.95 (539p) ISBN 978-1-888889-41-3

This venerable annual has perfected its own brand of DIY publishing: have the editors of little magazines and presses send you their favorite piece from the past year year, then, with the help of friends, cull your own favorites and, with donations from other friends, publish an anthology. Henderson, a longtime Hamptons resident and Pushcart Press founder, has used this formula successfully for 30 years, and the results remain at the very least solid and entertaining, if predictable. At its core are the short stories that, this year, are often devastatingly centered on cancer (e.g., "Hunters," by John Fulton, from the Southern Review ). Then there are the Harper's -like funny-serious political critiques (George Gessert's "Notes on Uranium Weapons and Kitsch," from the Northwest Review ); the poems, this year selected by David Baker and Linda Gregerson; and the stick-in-your-mind wild cards ("Songs from the Black Chair," Charles Barber writing about his job at the Bellevue Men's Shelter, from the Bellevue Literary Review and the University of Nebraska Press). Henderson's intro gives a thumbnail of the project's history and serves as an elegy for writer and former NEA chair Frank Conroy, who died this year and who was a "friend and supporter." Simply picking up the book makes one feel like that, too. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/21/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
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