I’m happy to say it’s been a good literary week for me, even if I only made moderate progress on the novel front.
The goodness of this week came in the form of a cool surprise: one of the roving editors (I’m sure they have a far more specific job title than “roving editor,” but I can’t say I know it) for The Pushcart Press has informed me that she’s nominated two of my poems, “Electromagnetic Compatibility” and “No Good Thing,” from this issue of the Cincinnati Review, for this year’s Pushcart Prize. Now it’s pretty exciting to get one nomination, but two nominations in one day? That’s an excellent feeling.
I know it’s around this time of year when everyone begins to pooh-pooh the Pushcart nomination season, and say “oh, who hasn’t been nominated?,” sport this Barrelhouse T-Shirt (which, actually, is pretty funny), or make any variety of jaded remarks about the prize and its fairness or lack thereof. And I think that’s a shame.
Of course, no nominee has particularly good odds of being included in the final anthology. But I think taking a defeated view of the anthology or the way in which it’s assembled is a mistake that really only denigrates the fine work Bill Henderson has done over the past several decades: bringing the work of the small press to the reading public. Henderson is doing what most of us editors dream of in introducing readers to small literary magazines and small presses across the country. He and the others at the Pushcart Press have worked with a fierce dedication to the small press, and I feel quite lucky to have any one of the members of that literary powerhouse looking over my work.
And obviously quite a number people will be nominated. But isn’t that part of the beauty? To have someone–a magazine editor or a roving one–single out one’s work and say “hey, this is really great!” or, better still, “this may even be important!”…well, those are the moments that keep us going as writers, laboring away in this strange little life of our choosing. The more worthy writers who can have those moments of validation? The better, I say.
But, man, I still kind of like that Barrelhouse shirt.