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2014 Pushcart nominees

7 Oct

We have nominated six of our beautiful writers for the 2014 Pushcart prize. We urge you to read their nominated work and seek out their writing wherever you can find it.

“Why Wolves Take the Calves First,” a short story published in PRJ3. Christopher DiCicco loves his wife and children—and writing short stories in the attic of his home in Yardley, Pennsylvania. His work has recently appeared in Nib Magazine,Intellectual Refuge, Sundog Lit, Cease, Cows! and Bohemia Arts & Literary Magazine—and is forthcoming in The Cossack Review, Flash Fiction Online, and WhiskeyPaper. You can follow him on twitter @ChrisDiCicco or visit him at

“Back to the Old House,” a poem published in PRJ3. Robert Fanning is the author of American Prophet (2009), The Seed Thieves (2006), and Old Bright Wheel (2003), which won the Ledge Press Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Poetry, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, the Atlanta Review, the Hawaii Review, and other journals. A professor of creative writing at Central Michigan University, Fanning’s writing awards include a Creative Artist Grant from ArtServe Michigan, the Inkwell Poetry Award, and the Foley Poetry Award.

The Plum,” a poem published in PRJ3. Richard J. Heby is a freelance writer and New York City native. He enjoys photography, nature, and philosophy.

Ill Not in the Mind,” a story published in PRJ3. Anthony Martin (@pen_tight) is a mutt mixed with a little Timber Journal, Cheap Pop, The Conium Review, WhiskeyPaper, Squawk Back, and Lunch Ticket, among other wicked things.

Slow Wave,” a story published in PRJ3. Amanda Miska lives and writes in Northern Virginia. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming from Whiskey Paper, Buffalo Almanack, CHEAP POP, jmww, Cartagena, The Collapsar, Storychord, Five Quarterly, Cartridge Lit, Cactus Heart, and Counterexample Poetics. She is the fiction curator at Luna Luna Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @akmiska.

Oh Ezra,” a poem published as part of the Prints Project. Eric M. R. Webb is a poet, teaches literature and writing at Northern Virginia Community College, and will soon begin a regular reading series and parallel ‘zine near where he lives; find him at

Pushcart nominee: Sean Thomas Dougherty. Willing to Exchange:

2 Dec

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

Our last nominee is Sean Thomas Dougherty. Sean is the author or editor of 13 books including the forthcoming New and Selected All I Ask for is Longing Poems 1994-2014 (2014 BOA Editions) Scything Grace (2013 Etruscan Press), Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line (2010 BOA Editions), the novella The Blue City (2008 Marick Press) and Broken Halllelujahs (2007 BOA Editions). His awards include two PA Council for the Arts Fellowships in Poetry, and a Fulbright Lectureship to the Balkans where he appeared on National television in Macedonia and Albania. He works in a pool hall, gives readings around the country, and teaches creative writing part-time.

Willing to Exchange:

Jeans for a dress, slacks for a shirt,
a torpedo for turmeric: your voice
for all the things you never said. Shoes
the wrong size. Old boyfriends for old bosses.
An anthology of sighs for a calendar
of false rumors. Heels for flats. Ravishing
for plain. Plain for vanilla. Vanilla f
or blue Italian ices we shared. The unchartered
for a map, lighting for a lightning bug (firefly
for a last match). A light bulb
for a shadow—one to keep you company.
The ATM for Ms Kolokowski the bank teller
you always wanted to kiss. Jasmine
for myrrh. Night for blur. Blur for clear
as a day of childhood sunlight
at the playground and your mother
is still alive, smoking a cigarette
by the chain-link fence. Your mother
for your drowned brother. Your drowned brother
for your overdosed friend. The dead
for the living. Please forgive me. Forgiveness
for sacrifice. Sacrifice for a trip to France.
The weight of magnesium for a thimbleful of salt.
The salt inside tears for a fifth of Scotch.
At the funeral of your drowned brother.
The day you told me you were leaving. To be left
at the train station. For taxi fare to Coney Island.
For a Coney with all the works. For a walk on the boardwalk
alone. For the argument that lasted into the AM,
the one where you threw the clock at my head
and yelled I was taking too long,
and how you didn’t understand why
I was laughing because it was metaphor. Any metaphor
for the weight of your hand. The rain, for near
any light. Three days of being seven, for five years
of being a teenager. The year seventeen
for the year thirty six (but would thirty six
have sucked if not for seventeen?) Any precise
and honest answer for the most obtuse question.
A knife to cut the rope. Duck tape to fix it.
Bound for freedom. Freedom for sanctuary. Body
for Ethereal. Ethereal for the black earth, a hemp robe,
and paraplegic braces. A wood stove in winter
for a garden of sunflowers in summer. Lilacs
for lilies. Lilies for orchids. A dozen orchids
for a Chinese dragon kite. Eating Duck Chow Fon
slowly with my father (for the silence, any wrong word).
Three nights in jail for disorderly conduct for a bladder infection
on the crowded Amtrak. (That one’s a steal—remember
where we were going, we couldn’t find a urinal
but the city was full of sparklers), just before they burnt out
the children would throw them
like shooting stars. How they disappeared
into the dark. A broken thing
for the black itself. A rechargeable battery for a free pass
to the Museum of Laments. Your absence
for anything, anything—

Pushcart nominee. Matthew Kabik. In the Orchard, in the Field.

1 Dec

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

One of our nominees is Matthew Kabik, whose story created a buzz among other contributors once they all started reading through the issue galleys. Matthew has other published stories linked to his website, Matchstick Circus.

An excerpt from “In the Orchard, in the Field”:

“Well, what sort of help are you needing?”
“Thank you mister, we’re in a spot. We’ve been traveling from a few states over to here. The old girl is having a hell of a time with it.”
“Sorry, sir. God I’m sorry, I have a sailor’s mouth and should speak more clearly. The truck, sir. The truck seems to be giving up the ghost.”
“Looks about time for it,” Harry said evenly. He tried to smile, but he was afraid it may come out more like a grimace. Instead he rubbed his palms together absently and walked towards the truck.
“You’re right. Shoulda gave up on her a long time ago. But I guess things just turn out the way they do,” Abe said through over-smiling teeth.
Harry nodded to Sarah as he got closer, who smiled and stood next to Abe. Harry allowed himself to notice the way she walked. A girl who just gained the hips of womanhood. He focused his eyes back to the truck.
“You see, I think the alternator is shot. I had an old Pontiac that was doing the same thing,” Abe said quickly. His voice sounded strained to Harry, maybe rehearsed was a better word.
“To be honest with you, I’m not much of a mechanic.”
“I thought all farmers were.”
“Not much of a farmer, either,” Harry said dryly, smiling more to himself than anyone.
“Oh, well I was kinda hoping for something else,” Abe said from behind.

Pushcart nominee: Robert Daniels. County Employee.

30 Nov

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

Today’s nominee is Rob Daniels, a creative writing major at Cleveland State University. His major focus for writing is in both poetry and playwrighting. He is a long term vegetarian, avid bike rider, and out and proud comic book nerd. 


 County Employee

Enough with paper trail chains. Enough…five years
treading through shit without much luck. Five years-

early mornings- this is life?- quick coffee driving
end to end of this crooked county for a buck. Five years

spent, elbow deep, latex connections, other peoples’ time.
Ceil blue waders, fade with the murk and the muck. Five years,

mourning in afternoons, and in the night- permanently
raw- hearing Mr. Daniels!!! In tuts and clucks. Five years

in windowless pink and green basements, casting now shadows,
drifting- smile face façade- left to dodge and duck. If I’ve years

robbed from me- you do not think of me- mornings,
maybe mourning shouldn’t be why I wake up. Five years?

Pushcart nominee: Jose Padua. Gin and the River.

29 Nov

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

Today’s nominee is Jose Padua. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in Bomb, Salon, The Weeklings, and many other places. He was a featured reader at the 2012 Split This Rock poetry festival. He and his wife, the poet Heather Davis, write the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.


Gin and the River

If the river could speak like gin,
the greater the flow the more
the woods that surround us
would sound like stray dogs,
the more the water flooding
the banks would warm us rather
than chill us like a scene in a scary
movie. If the river could speak like
gin, the closer we’d be to Asia, the
continent, not the Italian actress, but
maybe her, too. We’d be close
enough to walk to the Great Wall
and then we’d walk the Great Wall,
gazing out at the hills of northern China
and southern Inner Mongolia, walking
and gazing until our feet get sore or
until someone calls us and tells us
it’s time to come home. If the river
could speak like gin we’d come
to the river more often with juice
and tonic and lemons. We’d bring
the knife and we’d cut the lemons
into wedges right there, savoring
the sting of lemon juice on our fingers,
then licking our fingers and making
funny faces that last as long as the wait
between the lightning flash and the thunder.
And then we’d drink the river, even though
it isn’t really gin, because the river spoke
to us, because it acted like gin. Because
when the river speaks to us like gin we
believe it more. We pull our glass tumblers
down from the top shelf and we walk—
through a darkness so thick we have to
push it aside with our hands and kick
it away with our feet—to the river,
ready to go crazy like static on the
radio, ready to drink until everything
in space is dark again, until our
fingers feel numb with the power.




Pushcart nominee: Robert Gray. The Day I Was Born.

27 Nov

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

Today’s nominee is Robert Gray. Rob is the author of two books of poems, DREW: Poems from Blue Water and I Wish That I Were Langston Hughes. He is currently at the University of South Alabama, where he works in the Innovation in Learning Center and teaches in the English Department. He lives in Mobile, Alabama.

The Day I Was Born

whenever i say i’m from alabama
people seem to want to ask
what it was like to hold that fire hose
if i ever had to answer i’d tell them
i was born the day that happened
they seem to want to ask
what it was like to bomb that church
and kill those little girls
i was born that day as well
i was born the day they marched across
the edmund pettus bridge
the day wallace made his stand
the day martin had his dream
the day he saw the mountaintop
and the day after that
i was born innocent
free of all the blood
shed that day
but i was born into blood
i still am washing from my hands

Pushcart nominee: Tobi Cogswell

26 Nov

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

The first nominee is Tobi Cogswell, already a multiple Pushcart nominee.  In 2012 and 2013, she was short-listed for the Fermoy International Poetry Festival. In 2013, she received Honorable Mention for the Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize. Her latest chapbook is “Lapses & Absences”, (Blue Horse Press).  She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review.

The Color of Forgiveness

The shade of blue on his tattoo was the amethyst
of bruises and missed directions,
of billowing factories,
sump pumps and lunchpails,
and the river, soiled and lovely.
The amethyst of pounded knuckles four days later
wrapped in ice, so blue it turns white,
color that has witnessed
its share of events in a city turned bad
but still beautiful, in the way that Old Jim,
shuffling and clumsy, buys one rose
on Sundays to take to his wife,
her eyes greyed-over with age and tired,
to see her smile, in her jewel-toned sweater,
the color that always made him happy
to know he was coming back
from a back-breaking day, the color
of midnight guiding him home.




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