We’ve been honored to share new work by some tremendously good poets—here are our six nominees for the 2018 Pushcart anthology, featuring poetry from Kyle Dargan, Dean Rader, Maggie Smith, Brittany Leitner, madison eli johnson, and torrin a. greathouse.
Grant me this obsession: any image
depicting an entity as it disappears—
that seem far
different than cardiac arrest,
different than the plasma
that draw parched, mud-cracked.
A pure fish needs not water nor blood.
by Kyle Dargan
Kyle G. Dargan is the author of Anagnorisis: Poems, which is forthcoming from TriQuarterly/Northwestern UP this fall. His four previous collections of poetry are The Listening, which won the Cave Canem Prize; Bouquet of Hungers, which was awarded the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Logorrhea Dementia; and Honest Engine, which was a 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist and a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. All four were published by the University of Georgia Press. Dargan is the founder and editor of POST NO ILLS magazine. He works as an associate professor of literature and assistant director of creative writing at American University in Washington, D.C., where he lives.
I don’t want to be the blood on the blade,
but the world is a walking war,
and every inch of air is a wound.
Distant angel, your wings are wide
but the world is a walking war.
from Elegy Pantoum
by Dean Rader
Dean Rader’s debut collection of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize and Landscape Portrait Figure Form (2014) was named by The Barnes & Noble Review as a Best Poetry Book. Three new books appeared in 2017: Suture, collaborative poems written with Simone Muench (Black Lawrence Press), Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry (Copper Canyon), and Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, edited with Brian Clements & Alexandra Teague (Beacon). He is also the editor of 99 Poems for the 99 Percent: An Anthology of Poetry. Dean writes regularly for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post, BOMB, and The Kenyon Review. He is an Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts and a professor at the University of San Francisco.
Lay them someplace
like a sleeping child. Let them crisp and dull
in gathered dust, and wonder how much
of the dust is you.
by Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith is the author of Lamp of the Body, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, and Good Bones,the title poem from which was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International and has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, The Believer, The Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Best American Poetry, and on the CBS primetime drama Madam Secretary. Find her at www.maggiesmithpoet.com.
he holds my head in his hands and
he doesn’t call me a mexican. i think, su madre
would approve; there’s a word for brown mothers and
what they think is best: blanqueamiento.
by Brittany Leitner
3rd place in the 2018 Palette Poetry Prize, Brittany Leitner is a poet and journalist living in New York City and originally from San Antonio, Texas. Her poems have won the International Merit Award from the Atlanta Review, and have been published in Cathexis Northwest Press and The Write Launch. Her writing has also appeared in Bustle, Time Out New York, and Elite Daily. Her 2018 chapbook, 23 Emotions, is available for purchase on Amazon and in New York City bookstores.
the days are full of orange and purple / shrapnel when I leave, but at the very least dawn will be just welding sparks
by madison eli johnson
2nd place in the 2018 Palette Poetry Prize, madison eli johnson is a queer and trans black poet pisces from the south. They are a Cave Canem Fellow, a Pink Door Fellow, and a Retreat Fellow at The Watering Hole. Their work has been published in Muzzle Magazine, The Shade Poetry Journal, the Nepantla Anthology, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and them. magazine, among others. They grew up in Columbus, Georgia, and are currently based out of Columbus and Portland, Oregon.
There is a word for the fear of water, but not of drowning. Another
for the fear of darkness, but not how it hides a person’s face.
by torrin a. greathouse
Winner of the 2018 Palette Poetry Prize, torrin a. greathouse is a genderqueer trans womxn & cripple-punk currently haunting the greater Boston area. She is the author of boy/girl/ghost (TAR Chapbook Series, 2018) & winner of the Peseroff Poetry Prize, F(r)iction Poetry Prize, & the Sundog Lit Collaboration Contest with Linette Reeman. Their work is published/forthcoming in POETRY, The New York Times, Muzzle, Redivider, BOAAT, & The Rumpus. When she is not writing, her hobbies include awkwardly drinking coffee at parties & trying to find some goddamn size 13 heels.