From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The 33rd Pushcart anthology demonstrates that independent presses still publish much of the world's most engaging literature. McSweeney's
nominated Wells Tower's standout story, Retreat, in which aging property developer Matthew Lattimore seeks assistance from (while simultaneously antagonizing) his brother, his carpenter and the very wilds of Maine. Man and Wife, Katie Chase's piece from the Missouri Review
, tells the story of Mary Ellen, whose parents and neighbors marry off nine-year-old girls in a world eerily similar to our own. In her AGNI
essay, Bendithion, Harrison Solow considers the enigmatic otherworldliness of the world-class tenor and Welsh postmaster, Timothy Evans. And Sylvester Stallone shows aspiring novelist Jeremy Collins something about the artist's life in the funny and moving Georgia Review
essay, Shadow Boxing. Poems by emerging and established poets such as Ciaran Barry, Bruce Smith and Derek Walcott pepper this must-have book for contemporary literature lovers. (Dec.)
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Despite claims that reading is in decline, there is certainly no downswing in the need to write. Literature remains vital, if underappreciated, as the range of expression, the spectrum of ideas, and the depth of feeling in contemporary writing grows and blossoms. Open the latest Pushcart gathering of the best of the small presses, and enter a cosmos of candor, humor, conviction, and lyricism. The more than 60 striking, diverse works showcased here include bracing poems by Kurt Brown, Derek Walcott, and Elinor Wylie; essays of earth, faith, and love by Krista Bremer, Brenda Miller, and Christian Wiman; and fresh and compelling fiction by Beena Kamlani, Jack Livings, and Elizabeth Tallent. Thoughtfully dedicated to the late Raymond J. Smith, editor and publisher of the Ontario Review and Ontario Review Press, who, in the words of Pushcart editor Henderson, gave “countless authors hope,” this generous, glimmering, and hopeful Pushcart Prize volume affirms the love readers and writers alike share for the art and spirit of strong writing, and the awareness and communion literature engenders. --Donna Seaman