Pushcart Nominations 2021

I’m happy to share this year’s nominations for The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses with you. Selecting these pieces was both a joy and a challenge–we publish only pieces that we absolutely love, so choosing just a half a dozen of those was difficult, but I greatly enjoyed the chance to revisit each of this year’s issues.

Below, you’ll find a selection from the opening lines of each of this year’s nominee. I hope that you’ll join me in congratulating these writers, and that you’ll enjoy rereading these pieces as much as I have.


When the bougainvillea starts to shed, bleeding
itself to death all over the country, we expect winter

“Where Winter Does Not Go” by Tan Lixin
from from Issue 22: Fall 2021


it is not easy to say this is a river, its surface green and, on windless days,
without a ripple, although its currents, like sinews, ripple, and it is a river
of muscle under a smooth, gray-green, rippling flesh of water.

“How the Snake Got its Name” by Mary Magagna
from Issue 19: Winter 2021


in the ruins of our girlhood
we knew how to love like it was in our blood
before we learned to speak

“burning women” by Anna Ferris
from Issue 22: Fall 2021


A fallen wasps’ nest—swept up with signs
left behind from the weekend’s marriage market.

“Aubade: People’s Park” by Ana Pugach
from Issue 22: Fall 2021


     They say that when read by moonlight, the regional field guide describes a variety of exotic creatures and explains where to find them. You don’t see how this is possible since moonlight is just reflected sunlight. Regardless, on a clear night, you try it.

“Field Guide by Moonlight” by Soramimi Hanarejima
from Issue 20: Spring 2021


our love affair was brief
after all I was
only in third grade

“Tonsillectomy” by Becky Boling
from Issue 22: Fall 2021

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