The co-editors of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions are pleased to announce they have nominated five authors from the Fall 2012 edition for the 38th annual Pushcart Prize: The Best of the Small Presses.
Poets Brandi Katherine Herrera, Penelope Scambly Schott, and Jaime R. Wood join prose writers Nicole Rosevear and Robin Schauffler to represent VoiceCatcher in one of the most honored literary projects in America. Since 1976 hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in annual Pushcart collections. Meet our nominees:
Brandi Katherine Herrera: “spoon”
Brandi Katherine Herrera is a Portland-based poet, journalist and editor who holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University. Her poetry, stories and reviews have appeared in Charlotte, Written River, The Oregonian, Fish Bones Poetry Review and others. She is also the co-editor of The Lake Rises, a forthcoming WITNESS POST Series anthology (Stockport Flats, 2013).
I’m both delighted and honored that the editors have chosen to nominate “spoon.” I have an antique dessert spoon to thank for this poem. It spent many hours resting on my desk all summer. I used it to stir cream into my coffee. I pondered the inner lives of the people who had likely used it throughout its lifespan. I held it, and studied it, and invented its history. I never know exactly where a poem is going to take me, and spoon is the iteration I felt most satisfied with. It’s a poem of witness that employs a familiar object as a conduit to childhood memories, to examine a stranger’s loneliness and isolation, and as a touch point for the goings on of the greater world.
Nicole Rosevear: “One Small Thing Right”
Nicole Rosevear lives, writes and plays in Portland, Oregon, the only city she has ever called home. She is a part-time English instructor at Clackamas Community College, a sometimes avid bicyclist and spends an embarrassing amount of time being schooled in cribbage by her teenage son. She has been published in The Bennington Review, Lewis and Clark Review, online at intentionalducati.org, and has work forthcoming in the North American Review.
This nomination is the most wonderful surprise to me! For a few years now, I’ve been almost convinced that this funky, short not-quite-a-story about a woman and her blue baking dish was doomed to never finding a published home. It was too short, too plotless, too melancholy, too vague. So I was thrilled when it was accepted by the kind and encouraging group of editors at VoiceCatcher, and the subsequent Pushcart nomination is more than I could have dreamed up for this little batch of words. I’m so glad now that I didn’t give up hope on it finding a home eventually, because the home it’s ended up in is such a good one.
Robin Schauffler: “High Priest”
Robin Schauffler writes and teaches in Portland, Oregon. A visual artist and an avid outdoorswoman, she travels whenever life permits. From 1997 to 2000 she and her husband Peter lived and worked in Morelia, Mexico. “High Priest” is one chapter from her not-yet-published memoir of that time. Her work has appeared in Open Spaces, Oregon English Journal, Street Roots, The Sun (“Readers Write”) and Oregon Quarterly online.
“High Priest” began as a scribbled journal entry on a cranky rain-soaked morning, and I have worked on and believed in the piece through many rejections. It is gratifying to see it so warmly embraced by the editors of VoiceCatcher. This is my second Pushcart nomination. The first was from Open Spaces for “The Other Side,” another chapter of my memoir of life in Mexico.
Penelope Scambly Schott: “Memorial Day on South Greeley Avenue”
Penelope Scambly Schott’s verse biography A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth received the 2008 Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her most recent book, Crow Mercies, 2010, was awarded the Sarah Lantz Memorial Award from Calyx Press. Penelope has worked as a home health aide, an artist’s model, a donut maker in a cider mill, and – more than anything else – a teacher. She offers poetry workshops out in Dufur, Oregon. Her chapbook Lovesong for Dufur is forthcoming this spring from Windfall Press. She is also a proud “co-typist” of a brand new book Rumi and Lily: An Internet Love Story by her dog Lily Schott Sweetdog and a passionate poodle in West Virginia named Rumi Noir.
My Girl Scout troop really did march on South Greeley Avenue in Chappaqua, New York – the town where Hillary and Bill Clinton now live – and I remember taking my role as flag carrier very seriously. I was aware of history, indeed burdened by history, and I also felt my mother’s constant hovering sadness/anger over her brother’s death in WWII. I wanted to be heroic but my only women role models were Amelia Earhart and Joan of Arc, both of whom had died in the attempt. In the poem I am remembering and only slightly mocking my grandiose idea of my own importance in the parade.
Jaime R. Wood: “Swan Song”
Jaime R. Wood is the author of Living Voices: Multicultural Poetry in the Middle School Classroom (NCTE 2006). Her poems have appeared in Dislocate, Matter, Weird Sisters, Rivets, Juked, ZYZZYVA and DIAGRAM. She currently teaches in the English department at Clackamas and Mt. Hood Community Colleges and lives in Portland with her husband and their family of cats.
[This Pushcart nomination] is the kind of thing I’ve been working toward my whole life. I write for myself. I write because I’m happier when I do, but to have someone else acknowledge that I made something good … it’s priceless.
“Swan Song” is about the phenomenon of trying to rationalize an irrational act. Life wants to perpetuate life. But sometimes that axiom fails, and we want to know why. The poem takes my uncle Chris’s suicidal act moment by moment. It considers the leaves, the crickets, the breeze, and wonders which factors were present that day and whether it would have made a difference to him. So if I think of my uncle out there, alone, heart pounding under a milk grey sky, I mourn differently than if I saw him smiling calmly, saying goodbye to the world on his own terms.
VoiceCatcher congratulates each of these extraordinary authors. Winners of the Pushcart Prize will be announced in April.