Nomination season is always a heated time in our office. We are usually a friendly and collegial bunch, but when asked to select just six pieces of poetry and prose from our two hearty 2013 issues, things can get ugly. We question one another’s aesthetic judgment. We raise our voices. Dinner party invitations are rescinded. We make plans to hurt each other in small and undetectable ways. This time, the tension boiled over with the long-expected battle of the Brians, a shoving match by the file cabinets between Associate Editor Brian Trapp and Assistant Editor Brian Brodeur. They were separated. No one was hurt. It was over a poem.
The heart of the problem—and we don’t mean to brag—is that all of our poems and stories are so good. We chose them for a reason. On this blog, we’ve already sung the praises of D. J. Thielke’s story “Frantic Hearts,” Michael Barach’s poem “Penis Interview,” Julianna Baggott’s essay “My Mother in Her Mail-Order Scott Paper Company Dress: A Portrait of Intergenerational Neuroses,” Erin Belieu’s poem “Olentangy River,” Hugh Sheehy’s story “The Secret Boyfriend,” Naomi Guttman’s poem “Domestic Dirge,” and Ian Stansel’s “Traveling Light.” And there are so many other amazing poems, essays, and stories in issues 9.2 and 10.1 still awaiting paeans. In other words, we could be here all day. So we’ll cut to the chase.
Here is our list. I hope you are happy, Pushcart. Our office friendships are wrecked, but our nominations are things of beauty. At least we have that.
Margaret Luongo , “Word Problem”
Alexander Lumans, “Give Your Man His Due”
Aharon Levy, “Philomela in Tribeca”
Rebecca Lehman, “Exoskeleton”
Joseph P. Wood, “Birmingham”
Andre Bagoo, “White Street”