The Pushcart Prize XXXIX: Best of the Small Presses, 2015 Edition

Edited by Bill Henderson, with the Pushcart Prize editors. Pushcart, $19.95 trade paper (650p) ISBN 978-1-888889-73-4
For sheer value, this annual volume tops all others, with more than 60 pieces of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The quality is exceptional; the diversity, ditto. There are scores of contributing editors and more than 20 pages of publications from which the selections are chosen. With such a range and quantity in the mix, readers will get many suggestions for further reading, whatever their taste. Higher-profile contributors include Karen Russell, Louise Glück, Rick Bass, Edward Hoagland, and Russell Banks. The pieces that bookend the anthology are memorable. Emma Duffy-Comparone’s “The Zen Thing,” a fiction debut that first appeared in One Story, follows family dynamics during a beach getaway with blithe incisiveness. Marilyn Hacker’s darker but similarly insightful poem “Ghazal” (from Little Star) examines female identity in a transfixing way. Highlights in between include Barrett Swanson’s hilarious “Anne Radcliffe, You Are Loved” (from American Short Fiction), LaToya Watkins’s evocative “The Mother” (from Ruminate), Shawn Vestal’s subtle “Winter Elders” (from Ecotone), Kathleen Ossip’s playful “Elegies” (from Poetry), and Patricia Lockwood’s scathing “Rape Joke” (from the Awl). Pushcart offers a clear and refreshingly panoramic view of the current state of creative writing. Essential reading, as always. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
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