Pushcart Nominations: First Words

I’m just back from the post office over on Main Street, where I put this year’s nominations for The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses in the mail. Here’s a selection from the opening lines of each of this year’s nominees–I hope that you’ll join me in congratulating these writers, and that you’ll enjoy revisiting these pieces as much as I have.

The professor says take
a dogtail. She says take, for instance,
rain water, which pleases by connection
with rebirth and root soak and glut (most likely).

–from “Schools of the Theorems of Joy”
by Maggie Evans McGuinness, in Issue Sixteen

I could teach a class
in a tiny return module before
it exploded and
broke everyone’s heart.

–from The Yelp Poems Project
by John Paul Calavitta, in Issue Sixteen

at the butterfly garden: one with glasses and wearing a light-blue hat,
one with a tucked-in shirt, holding his shoulders back
like a soldier, and one in a windbreaker, taking pictures.

–from “Three Old Men”
by Hope Coulter, in Issue Seventeen

The owls were out
in the tree yesterday.
People milled around,
tugged on recalcitrant dogs,
herded flocks of children.

–from “Owls”
by Becky Boling, in Issue Seventeen

From a Mississippi sandbar
I jumped on iron,
the river’s tooth waiting
in welcoming water

–from “Lacerations”
by Steven McCown, in Issue Seventeen

we could only take the boat so far up the side canyon from the pecos river until we had to beach it on the sandstone of the canyon floor tying it to a nearby dark gray limestone boulder—just because.

–from “Evolution”
by Raymond P. Hammond, in Issue Eighteen

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