Our 2018 Pushcart Nominees
2018 has been an amazing year of poetry for us—we couldn’t have been more honored to share the work of our amazingly talented contributors. Thank you to everyone who sent us poetry, hearts laid bare. Please enjoy below our selection of poets nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
A boy once called me a beech leaf—
too straight-veined & sharp around
the edges to love, he said. Clearly,
he was no dendrologist.
Selected by Tyehimba Jess as the second runner up for the Award for New Poets, Matty Layne Glasgow’s poem playfully bristles between fragility and loving violence. Simple in conceit, complex in execution, “deciduous qween, IV” is a treat for lovers, for poets—even for saggy-bottomed folks just taking a walk through the local park.
If faceless men came into that room then they have no names
and if I could scream into that room I’d shout: Talitha kum!
meaning Little girl, I say to you, get up!
“Tim” haunts. The poem measures itself between memory and violence, an obsessive absence performed, absorbed, delivered. Tiana Clark has earned the $5000 prize and 2017 OPEN award, because this poem, in language simple and subtle and dangerous, demands it.
At his deportation hearing
my uncle wears a suit & a flag
patterned tie. In detention
centers, clothing is the number one
cause of suicide: sleeves knotted
into nooses, shirts wadded down
Kristin Chang’s “Dress code for an immigration interview” received the highest scores from judges Don Share, Nicole Sealey, and Matthew Zapruder in our Industry Prize—a well deserved recognition for such a promising emerging poet. The poem is political in all the right ways, tender in all the right ways, dangerous in all the right ways.
Eight months pregnant when your mother began hospice,
you sat in the driveway, belly ovoid as an imperial Fabergé
egg on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution, or so you joked
with your dying mother whose love of metaphor shone
through the morphine fog and night air in Baton Rouge
“Louisiana Requiem” hangs itself on your heart like Spanish moss. The poem expands with grace, like a full womb, from the first line to the last. Heather Treseler earned the $2000 prize and Summer Poetry Award, because this poem, in language lush and maternal and profound, demands it.
“After Reading DJ Khaled Will Not Perform Oral Sex On His Wife Despite Demanding That She Must, I Consider My Relationships” by Leila Chatti
… The first time
I touched myself, it was spring
and the dogwood outside
heady with blooming.
I thought God was what opened
inside me; I thought
God. The first time a boy
touched me, he said I could
rape you, if I wanted—
Leila Chatti’s poem on the perennial politics of sex and power won 2nd place in the Summer Poetry Award. “After Reading…” exemplifies some of the best poetic-moves that today’s poets enjoy making: the collision of pop culture inanity with profound and transcendent truth, and an unforgiving existential commitment in the face of bodily violence and objectification.
“The Anorexic’s Aubade” by Kirk Schlueter
Selected by Victoria Chang as the winner of our Award for New Poets, Schlueter’s poem is to be published on December 28th—stay tuned!