Each year, the editors are thrilled to nominate six extraordinary works from recent issues for publication in The Pushcart Prize Anthology: Best of the Small Presses. We are enormously proud of these contributions, and wish these contributors the best of luck!

pushcart prize nominees

Elana Bell, “Mother Country

My mother was a dead doll. I held
her hand in the land of the dead
and did not turn away.

Chris Drangle, “Sinner Wolf

Riley was aware that the appeal of MMORPGs, for him, extended beyond story and gameplay. It was the community, the balance ensured by mathematical rules, and the egalitarianism of character creation that soothed him, that provided a small measure of relief from the relentless imbalance present everywhere else in existence. Everyone started with the same number of skill points to allocate. Experience was given for effort. In real life you might be a cashier making minimum wage, or get leukemia, or be seventy-two thousand dollars in debt, but in the game it didn’t matter. You were on the same footing as millionaires, sports stars, Nobel Laureates married to supermodels. With enough work you could get what you wanted.

Donika Kelly, “Sighting: Almost

An old man hiking with his son-in-law
flatters me: You are only pretending
to be tired to make us feel

better. The truth: I have come here
to learn how not to kill myself.

Rachel Mennies, “July 16, 2016

In school, the rabbi offered me the word spirit when I asked should I already hate my body this much?

Spirit is a woman who cannot leave a woman.

Spirit has weights in her feet that keep her in her body.

Emilia Phillips, “Poem About Death Beginning with a Humblebrag and Ending with a Shower Beer

Today, for once, I did not think of Death. I avoided him like all men
in public by pretending to read, by putting in

my earbuds to drown out his I​ still need you, babys​ with Patsy Cline’s
I go out walkin’…

Courtney Faye Taylor, “Grief for the Horizontal World

Everything that I’ve ever done
I keep in a jar marked innocent
so that men can’t touch it.

Peter LaBerge
Peter LaBerge

Peter LaBerge founded The Adroit Journal in 2010, as a high school sophomore. His work appears in Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. He is the recipient of a 2020 Pushcart Prize.

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