Pushcart Prizes!

Well, nominations at least. I’m not a magician, after all, or (and this might be even cooler) a publishing heavy. It’s the first time we’ve done this in our 3+ years, and while it was hard to decide who to nominate, I think I picked some of the best stuff we’ve published in the past year.

By the way, the Pushcart Prize, for those not in the know (according to Wikipedia):

“The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize by Pushcart Press that honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot” published in the small presses over the previous year.”

Wikipedia does not mention that it’s kind of a big deal, and about the best thing a poem published by a small press like ours can be awarded with. Of course, small press includes places like the Kenyon Review, who on average pull down about nine wins a year, but whatever.

So, without further ado, here are the nominated writers, along with links so you can purchase a copy and read them yourself:

Jeanann Verlee – Issue 9 – Impermanence

E.H. Brogan – Issue 10 – My Loneliness Keeps Me Company

Rachna Kulshrestha – Issue 12 – hair

Anna Weaver – Issue 13 – avocado

Jackson Burgess – Issue 13 – Poultry Plant

(Issue 12’s sold out, so you don’t get to reach Rachna’s story until she wins the whole damn thing and a real, big time publisher puts her story into a collection. Maybe be faster with your three dollars next time, you lousy bum?)

Congratulations to all of the writers and best of luck to them. Feel free to pressure Bill Henderson (nicely, no violence, I know how you people are) to make one or two or all of the above writers winners.

Issue 14 will now take your poems, stories, and art!

It’s that time again, folks. You know this works by now: two months open, one month closed. The submissions guidelines are here. You’ve got roughly two months to get them in, but I’m bored now, so give me something to read today.

As for our usual contest, we’ve got ourselves a fine theme: belief. Do with that what you will; write about a 9/11 truther, your belief in your dancing abilities (or lack thereof), send me a hymn for all I care, just make it good. The details are here, but the general gist is that the deadline is January 1, and the best poem and best story win $20 each, or if we can’t find one or the other, the sole winner takes all (like Anna Weaver did in Issue 13, and hey, did you know we sell that here?)

I hope to be reading your work sometime soon.


Issue 13!

It’s here’s it’s here it’s here – picture me dancing in one place, giddy as a school girl.

Want to know who our gracious, wonderfully talented writers for Issue 13 are? For poetry: Anna Weaver, Jackson Burgess, Riley Vuyovich, Jess Pauscher, Hillary Kobernick, Cynthia Gallaher, Lynn Hoffman, Ariel Fintushel, and Tim Duffy. For our cover art, Sarah “Sapphene” Soltan provided this, a piece called “Shame.”



By way of explaination, At twenty-one years old, Sarah “Sapphene” Soltan currently studies game design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has always loved the fine arts for their ability to visualize difficult topics and emotions, but her dreams at the moment reside in creating art for video games that engage the player in the same way one might view a fine art piece.

Before attending SCAD, Sarah photographed “Shame” as part of a series to create more dialogue and understanding about eating disorders.


Next, you may have noticed that there were no prose authors mentioned. This is not by design! Unfortunately, none of the 100+ stories we received were right for us, but we did find a whole lot of great poems, so fuck it, I went with it. This, however, means there was no winner for the fiction category of our contest, meaning that the poetry winner doubled their money into $40.

And that winner is Anna Weaver, for her poem “avocado (for Jocelyn)!

Congrats to her! Congrats to everyone! Buy, buy, buy (here, at this link or from the Buy tab above)!

Interview with Issue 12’s Terry Allen

Here’s Terry Allen, author of “We Sat on the Fantail and Talked Quietly,” giving some really thoughtful and useful answers to my questions.

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Describe your writing in 25 words or less.

I like to tell stories, hopefully with a sense of empathy and humor.

Tell us about your poem “We Stood on the Fantail and Talked Quietly.”

During the summer of 1967, before my senior year in college, I worked on Lake Michigan where I spent three months crossing between Muskegon, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin with only three half-days off the ship.  At the time, I just knew that if a pterodactyl flew over my hometown of Kansas City, that I’d be the last to know.

Who or what inspires you to write?

I’m most influenced by film and have been my entire life, even when writing or directing stage plays or most recently turning to poetry.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll and Mark Twain would be high on my list, as well as modern noirish writers like James Lee Burke and Stuart Neville.  Screenwriters would include Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, John Huston, Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen.  For poetry, there are none better than Ron Koertge and Louis Jenkins.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a piece about a Civil War reenactor whose specialty is dying on the battlefield.  He likes getting killed early and spending plenty of time bloating, which in my poem turns his mind to thoughts about Ambrose Bierce.

Where can we read your work next?

I have a poem appearing in I-70 Review later this month.  It’s one of my personal favorites: “You Can’t Change the Past.”

Do you have any advice for fellow writers?

Experiment with point of view.  I never automatically believe that the narrator in a piece of prose fiction or the persona in a poem is the writer.  It’s fun and often rewarding to pick someone who is very far removed from ourselves to tell the story.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Don’t be surprised that what goes in is what comes out.  What we listen to, what we see, what we read, what we experience will come out when we sit down to write.  So, why not make those experience varied and rich.

Interview with Issue 12’s Rachna Kulshrestha + Issue 13’s closed for submissions

If you didn’t already read all over the rest of the site, we’re currently closed to submissions until November 1. Thank you to everyone who sent me their work. I enjoyed reading all of it, sincerely or ironically.

But! We still have Issue 12 business for the next few weeks. Here’s Rachna, who gave us both a poem and a story for Issue 12.

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Describe your writing in 25 words or less.

Tell us about your story “hair.”
When I was 11-12 years old, I had to shave my head.  Since then, I’ve always wanted to write about it: the significance of hair in a girl’s life. The story originated from a personal experience and took a shape of its own.

And then there’s your poem “The Hispanic at the 7-11.”
Oh yes, another one that started with an image I saw not too long ago before I wrote the poem. It took me several weeks to write. I kept on going back and forth trying to make it as perfect as I could.
Who or what inspires you to write?
Experiences of my life. A lot of reading and day dreaming.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez and all the authors whose stories have been published in the the Best American Short Stories series .
What are you working on right now?
A couple of flash pieces and a poem.
Where can we read your work next?
Isthmus, Limestone Journal, Avalon Literary Review, Carbon Culture, Chiron Review.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
Write, edit, submit. If rejected, keep editing, keep submitting. Don’t give up.

Interview with John Hanson, one of Issue 12’s contest winners

Thanks for taking the time to come to Bop Dead City’s site, first of all. Send your work or buy someone else’s while you’re here.

Issue 13’s coming along swimmingly, as we’ve already gone through a couple hundred submissions from around the world and whittled it down to about 10 pieces so far, but we’ve got room for your poem or story, provided it’s 1) good and 2) in the inbox on September 1 or earlier.

In the meantime, enjoy the start of our interview series with our Issue 12 authors, beginning with John. His story ” Portrait of Jan and Ola in Berlin” got him $20 and probably the accomplishment that will appear on his tombstone.


Describe your writing in 25 words or less.

Swimming through shit to find gold.

Tell us about your contest winning story “Portrait of Jan and Ola in Berlin.”

The story’s about a boy and girl meeting in the great, seedy international metropolis of Berlin. Their brief romance is silhouetted by a world they are completely at odds with; it’s made stronger because of that. It’s kind of Holden-Caulfieldy in a way I suppose, a little more optimistic though.

Is this your first contest win? How did it feel?

It is my first, really unexpected and thrilling.

Who or what inspires you to write?

I remember finishing reading my first Tom Robbins at around midnight, I stayed up until seven writing longhand trying to get down a few words or a sentence that would resemble one of his.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Hermann Hesse, Anaïs Nin, Milan Kundera, pretty much all of the Russians, Clarice Lispector

What are you working on right now?

Destroying my liver. And a satirical novel set in my home city of Melbourne.

Where can we read your work next?

I’ve got a piece coming up in the Eunoia Review and The Zodiac Review.

Do you have any advice for fellow writers?

Bukowski said it best- don’t try. It can’t hurt to indulge all your emotions either.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks again and keep it all up.

We’re now available at Seasick Records!


The very first store where you can buy yourself a copy of Bop Dead City is Seasick Records in Birmingham, Alabama. They’re a pretty awesome record store/cassette store/barber shop (and now can add bookstore, I guess, to those slashes). Fantastic selection of records with a cool motherfucker running the whole thing. You can buy them starting tomorrow for just $3 and save yourself the whole dollar in shipping.

The address, if you’re passing through, is 5508 Crestwood Blvd. Birmingham, AL 35212, or about five minutes from my house. If anyone else has a place they think might want to carry Bop Dead City (Birmingham, Alabama, Michigan, UK where ever), drop me a line.


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