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The Pushcart Prize XXXVIII: Best of the…
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The Pushcart Prize XXXVIII: Best of the Small Presses 2014 Edition (The…

by Bill Henderson

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This anthology reminded me why I love nonfiction so much. While there are plenty of great poems and short stories as well, 2014 was clearly the year of the essay as far as I'm concerned. I read the book cover-to-cover, rating each piece on a 5-point scale, but if you're the type who likes to skip around, the following pieces are not to be missed (ranked in order, including only pieces rated as 5 or 4.5). Of course, these are my tastes, and I know I've left a lot of great pieces off, so I strongly advocate for reading them all.

BEST NONFICTION
1. Adams - "Touch" (I sobbed like a baby on this one.)
2. Cotter - "The Gentleman's Library, A Nowaday Redux"
3. Fair - "Consequence" (Also highly emotional.)
4. Dubus - Writing and Publishing a Memoir: What the Hell Have I Done?"
5. Zolot - "The Piece Need Not Be Built"
6. Baxter - "What Happens in Hell"
7. Heinlein - "A Portrait of the Writer as a Rabbit" (Also made me ball my eyes out.)
8. Crowther - "Out of Date: The Joys of Obsolescence"
9. Houston - "Corn Maze"
10. Wilbanks - "Father of Disorder"

BEST POETRY
1. Rose - "Ways to Begin a Poem"
2. Donnelly - "The Earth Itself"
3. Lindsay - "Origin"
4. Fritz Goldberg - "My Neighbor's Body"
5. Wicker - "Interrupting Aubade Ending in Epiphany"
6. Komunyakaa - "Islands"
7. Dickman - "Akhmatova"
8. Hernandez - "All-American"
9. Diaz - "Cranes, Mafiosos and a Polaroid Camera"
10. Hicok - "Getting By"
11. Somers-Willett - "Tallahatchie"
12. Nutter - "Love Like That"
13. Corral - "In Colorado My Father Scoured and Stacked Dishes"
14. Dawes - "The Separation/Retention"

BEST FICTION
1. Bucak - "Iconography" (Slight weeping.)
2. Nunez - "Imagination"
3. Rivecca - "Philanthropy"
4. Moore - "Wings"
5. Foreman - "Cadiz, Missouri"
6. Frisch - "Housebreaking"
7. Unferth - "Likable"
8. Coover - "The Reader" ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
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Human snowball / Davy Rothbart -- Enlightenment / Natasha Trethewey -- Corn maze / Pam Houston -- Ming / Jill McDonough -- A full-service shelter / Amy Hempel -- During a break from feeling / Mary Ruefle -- Thirst / Taymiya R. Zaman -- Blues in five/four, the violence in Chicago / Afaa Michael Weaver -- What happens in Hell / Charles Baxter -- After suicide / Matt Rasmussen -- Teen culture / Elizabeth Ellen -- Last call / Saeed Jones -- The healing power of the western oystercatcher / Howard Norman -- Cranes, mafiosos and a polaroid camera / Natalie Diaz -- God of ducks / Tina Louise Blevins -- The ultrasound / David Hornibrook -- Lorry raja / Madhuri Vijay -- Origin / Sarah Lindsay -- The dead / Stephen Dixon -- from That once were beautiful children / Claudia Rankine -- Touch / Steve Adams -- Late oracle sonnet / David St. John -- Wings / Lorrie Moore -- Self-portrait with exit wounds / Ocean Vuong -- Reliquaries / Paul Zimmer -- Listening to Virginia / Jeffrey Harrison -- Iconography / Ay?se Papatya Bucak -- Tallahatchie / Susan B.A. Somers-Willett -- Father of disorder / Jessica Wilbanks -- Your body down in gold / Carl Phillips -- The piece need not be built / Andrew Zolot -- The monster : classifications and explanations / Susan Slaviero -- Don't let them catch you / Molly Patterson -- The seperation/retention / Kwame Dawes -- Writing & publishing a memoir : what the hell have I done? / Andre Dubus III -- A summer garden / Louise Gl?uck -- Donate! / Jack Livings -- Things to think about / Scott Beal -- The Field Museum / Roger Reeves -- A portrait of the writer as a rabbit / Sabine Heinlein -- There were such things / W.S. Di Piero -- Likable / Deb Olin Unferth -- The story / B.H. Fairchild -- Consequence / Eric Fair -- The lit cloud / Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge -- The reader / Robert Coover -- Islands / Yusef Komunyakaa -- Confessions of a recovering environmentalist / Paul Kingsnorth -- Ways to begin a poem / Rachel Rose -- In Colorado my father scoured and stacked dishes / Eduardo C. Corral -- Housebreaking / Sarah Frisch -- W.C. Fields takes a walk / Paisley Rekdal -- Out of date : the joys of obsolescence / Hal Crowther -- My neighbor's body / Beckian Fritz Goldberg -- Philanthropy / Suzanne Rivecca -- Interrupting aubade ending in epiphany / Marcus Wicker -- Painting the summer palace of the queen / Philip Kelly -- Villon's epitaph (Ballade of the hanged men) / Fran?cois Villon -- If the man took / Joanna Ruocco -- All-American / David Hernandez -- The waste land app / Tess Taylor -- Akhmatova / Matthew Dickman -- Cadiz, Missouri / Robert Long Foreman -- Getting by / Bob Hicok -- Imagination / Sigrid Nunez -- The earth itself / Timothy Donnelly -- Love like that / Jude Nutter -- The gentleman's library, a nowaday redux / Bill Cotter -- Self-portrait as superman (alternate take) / Jake Adam York.… (more)

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