cover image The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, 1990-91

The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, 1990-91

. Pushcart Press, $27.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-916366-65-0

A few essays, such as Judith Kitchen's ``Hide-and-Go-Seek,'' and a greater number of poems by, among others, Henri Cole, David Lehman and Karen Fish, are sprinkled throughout this 15th annual anthology of American writing published outside major commercial avenues. The vigor and variety of contemporary literature is, however, more fully displayed in the selected short stories. Many have small town or rural settings, as in Kim Herzinger's ``The Day I Met Buddy Holly'' and Will Baker's ``Field of Fire''; some are urban (Robin Hemley's ``Installations'' and ``Francis: Brother of the Universe'' by Rodney Jones). In ``Typical'' Padgett Powell depicts the inner world of a hard-drinking redneck whose hemmed-in life somehow evokes the reader's sympathy. Wonderment infuses ``My Mother and Mitch'' by Clarence Major as a young black boy observes his ladylike mother's tentative relationship with a lonely white man. Molly Best Tinsley's ``Zoe'' depicts a relationship between a mother and daughter that changes when a man enters their lives. Eschewing experimentation, most of these tales are solid accomplishments from exhibit the talent of writers to watch. (Oct.)