Home > Contests and prizes > Pushcart Prize nominations 2009

Pushcart Prize nominations 2009

November 15, 2009

UPDATE (11/30): Here are our six nominations. Thanks to everyone who left comments and emailed suggestions.

Miracle Fish,” by Karla Huston and Cathryn Cofell

Patty-Cake,” by Karen Stromberg

Economy of the Untameable,” by Jane Rice

Economies,” by Monica Raymond

Some Yellow Tulips,” by Pamela Johnson Parker

Islam for Americans,” by Khadija Anderson


In the spirit of rewarding a few of our otherwise unpaid authors for the use of their work, this year we thought we’d start sending in nominations for the Pushcart Prize. International readers or those outside the North American small press literary scene might be unaware of it, but in many circles the Pushcart is so prestigious that a mere nomination is considered worthy of mention in an author’s bio — as if the highly subjective and arbitrary selections of a couple of yahoos like us says anything meaningful.

But then we thought: why not ask qarrtsiluni readers to help find our six nominations? That seems like one way to make them a bit more meaningful. Any work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry that has appeared in qarrtsiluni since January 1 would be eligible (here are the minimal guidelines), which encompasses the Mutating the Signature and Economy issues as well as the currently unfolding Words of Power. Remember to hit the “Older entries” link at the bottom of each page to navigate through an issue. Grab permalinks by clicking on the titles.

Please leave suggestions in the comment thread for this post (or if you’re shy, email us: qarrtsiluni [at] gmail [dot] com), up to six nominations per commenter. And tell us why. We are much more likely to be swayed by articulate arguments and personal reactions than by numbers of “votes”; this isn’t a popularity contest. Please don’t nominate your own works! Aside from that, anyone is welcome to make suggestions, including first-time readers, but we will probably give somewhat greater weight to suggestions from those who regularly comment here, indicating a long-term engagement with the magazine.

We need to print out and mail in our nominations no later than December 1, so we’ll be making our final decision before the end of the month, and will announce the nominations by an update to this post. In the meantime, we’d really appreciate your help in combing through the archives.

—Beth and Dave

  1. Julie
    November 15, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I would recommend nominating Space Walk, July 31, 2009, by Glenda-Bailey Mershon. This is a wonderful, whimsical story that deserves attention! Julie Lamberti

  2. November 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Please nominate Glenda Bailey-Mershon’s “Space Walk” for a Pushcart Prize. The writing is seamless and elegant, leaning toward a lyrical magical realism. It delights and resonates! Christine Swanberg

  3. Kimmy Vqn Kooten
    November 15, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    “Space Walk” has my nomination for the Pushcart Prize written by Glenda Bailey-Mershon. Her story was filled with every bit of imagination, color, shape, adventure…I was entertained throughout… from beginning to end!

  4. November 15, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I love most of qaartsiluni, but I have particularly enjoyed, this past year, poems by Alex Cigale. His economy of line is matched by colorful and sometimes stark imagery. But it is his themes that catch me and set me thinking. “How Appurtenances are Made Sacred” particularly moved me, with its list of cherished but few possessions set against the finality of the funeral pyre. “Ceremony: The Opening of a Mouth” recalls the power of naming. I think he richly deserves a Pushcart nomination.

  5. November 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    oh, the choice!

    one poem that i returned to several times, and that still is on my mind – without looking through the issues — is “Evening” by Angela Koh.

  6. November 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm


    I wish to recommend that you nominate “Space Walk” by Glenda Bailey-Mershon for the Pushcart Prize. It is both smart and brave. Magical in both concept and language. Filled with wonder and grace.

  7. Karen
    November 15, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    The following three poems touched me deeply when I first read them and they continue to do so:

    “Islam for Americans” by Khadija Anderson, Words of Power, Nov 6,
    for fulfilling the promise of her title, particularly the portrait of Allah and for opening a window on the joy and pride of a woman wearing tradition dress.

    “Faggot” by Dustin Brookshire, Words of Power, Oct 27
    for its anger, its honesty, its declaration of power and for doing all that in so few words.

    “God’s Hearing” by Oriana, Words of Power, (under the title “Grandmother Praying”) Oct. 10, for her stunning portrait of the human spirit shining in the face of probable annihilation.

    Karen Stromberg

  8. Terri Chastain
    November 15, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I recommend Space Walk by Glenda Bailey-Mershon for your Pushcart Prize nomination. The imagery is so beautiful that it’s like a prose poem. Additionally, the beauty of the language is matched by the tale she spins, which is engaging from beginning to end, with one of the most imaginative stories I’ve read this year.

  9. John
    November 15, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    “Faggot” by Dustin Brookshire. I second Karen’s statement. I really enjoyed the poem.

  10. Pamela
    November 15, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I recommend “Faggot,” by Dustin Brookshire and “Paper Covers Rock,” by Chelia Courington. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about either of them.

  11. Jan Kent
    November 15, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Long after I read Glenda Bailey-Mershon’s Space Walk I could close my eyes and see the colorful, magical, whimsical images with which she told her story. I hope you will consider her work for your Pushcart Prize nomination.

  12. November 15, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    I have to agree with others who have suggested “Faggot.” It’s excruciatingly beautiful and very human.

  13. November 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I recommend nominating Glenda Bailey-Mershon’s story “Space Walk” for the Pushcart Prize. In addition to the beautiful, poetic imagery, I was struck by the magical romance set in an everyday place.

  14. November 16, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I loved “What the Forest Said” by Jessamyn Smyth (Economy). The quiet mystery in that piece had me going back to it again and again. “Faggot” and “Islam for Americans” also really stuck with me long after reading them.

  15. November 16, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Monica Raymond’s Economies is spare and unerring, a sauce reduced from a world. “Retina caged/and set singing” invokes the trapped songbird, the art (not science) of visual perception, sf movies of the brain-in-the-jar: it lingers with me yet.

  16. November 19, 2009 at 6:52 am

    I’d like to nominate Economy of the Untamable by Jane Rice and Math Tutor by Pia Taavila for their economy of form and word.

  17. Ana
    November 19, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    My nominations, though I probably missed some excellent works of art….
    “Expansion at a Time of Great Leavings” by Deb Scott
    For the thoughtful meditation brought about by the story. For readability: simple, accessible images, words, structure. For the attention to details.
    “A quick visit to Joaquín’s, and a ceremony” by Nathan Horowitz
    For the richness of language and hyperbolic, surrealist images that makes reading the story an amazing adventure as much as it was (I guess) living it.
    “Grandmother’s Praying” by Oriana
    In particular the second poem “God’s Hearing”, for the powerful combination of simplicity and dramatic lyricism.

    “Lust in Translation” by Bryan Borland . For me it is amazing how , in spite of the explicitness of language, it avoids vulgarity. It might have to do with the irony….
    “Revelation of the common man” By E.A.P and Dana Guthrie Martin
    For the direct tone, sharp images and significance.

  18. Greg
    November 20, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    After only a few months of regular reading, and spotty browsing through the back issues of qarrtsiluni, I can tell you some of the entries I have most enjoyed reading. The Man Who Spoke the Law, by James Brush. Recasting tired statements of outcome-based-education as words of wisdom from the lips of the most humble, perhaps a seer. So many layers, and a wonderful oral presentation by James Brush.

    A quick visit to Joaquín’s, and a ceremony, by Nathan Horowitz drew me into his challenging world. I had to look up more of his stories after reading this one, both at qarrtsiluni and at Scribd.

    Islam for Americans may have done its job, as my eyes opened to the pride of a wrapped piece of candy, a swaddled jewel, a perfect woman under my packaging.

  19. November 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Peg Duthie’s “I am waiting for the right instant to say your name” for its pithiness, its punch, the distilled power of fairy tale made modern but kept essential.

  20. December 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Let’s hear it for the girls!

    • December 1, 2009 at 2:05 pm

      Women writers FTW.

  1. November 15, 2009 at 1:40 pm
  2. November 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm
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