We are so excited to announce our 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominations for The Florida Review and Aquifer! Congratulations to the nominees!
Pushcart Prize Nominations for TFR
Amanda Hawkins, “/in the year of salt and death/” (43.1)
Nahal Suzanne Jamir, “That He Had a Father” (43.1)
Jayson Iwen, “Body: Luke & Acts” (43.2)
Hadara Bar-Nadav, “[Your mind is night]” (43.2)
Kass Fleisher, “When They’re Two” (43.2)
Jessica Treadway’s “Infinite Dimensions” (43.2)
We’ve now launched this fall’s special feature, highlighting innovative hybrid and erasure work across Aquifer: The Florida Review Online and our upcoming print issue 43.2. Twice weekly through December 26, 2019, we will be publishing a different piece of erasure work on Aquifer, with each taking advantage of the web-native format that enables us to publish genre-bending work we simply couldn’t present accurately in print. Our print issue, no less innovative (though maybe less colorful), will feature even more erasure work that challenges the norm and speaks to the topical origins and traditions of this resilient form. Be sure to subscribe to our print magazine as soon as possible if you haven’t already, and check back here as pieces are published on Aquifer every Monday and Thursday through the end of December.
Over the past fifty years, erasure has come to be known as a (mainly) poetic technique that both connects the writer/reader with an original text and also questions and transforms it, sometimes evokes a completely contrary meaning. As a form, it draws attention to writing as a “physical” object (or, more recently, as a digital object) and makes us aware of how all writings’ meanings can shift and change with varied attention and assumptions. It connects us to our literary and extra-literary writing and visual arts traditions while creating a contemporary engagement with subjects and words from works both ancient and recent. We are pleased to present in Aquifer and the print Florida Review a wide range of erasure techniques from blacking out, crossing out, blanking out, painting out, burning out, and creating collages from original material both written and visual.
Aquifer Erasure Publication Schedule:
(Links inactive until posted publication date at 8:00AM, EST)
Forthcoming Erasures in 43.2 of The Florida Review:
Sea Poems by C. R. Resetarits
“[your mind is night],” “[The animal is chemical carnivorous sick],” “Read this each time you],” and “[Life eats breath]” by Hardara Bar-Nadev
“Seance” by Jay Barnica
2 poems from Each Leaf by Anna Lena Phillips Bell
“In the house of” by John Bonanni
“Jefferson’s Secret Message to Congress (Redacted)” by Alan Elyshevitz
“Self-Erasure for My Mother” by Amanda Hadlock
“Notes on Pet Monkeys and How to Manage Them” by Bethany Shultz Hurst
“Body: Luke & Acts” by Jayson Iwen
“Come Gentle” and “Come Hollow” by Carolyn Janecek
“Apollo & Daphne” by Eva Della Lana
“Boys, Boss” by Kristine Langley Mahler
“After a Death” and “Allegro” by Kelly Nelson
“Hell’s Our Destination” by David Rachels
“My Girlfriend Asks if I Think I’ll Ever Stop Writing about My Ex” and “Ars Poetica in War Time Which for Us Means Always” by Dujie Tahat
The Florida Review would like to announce the winner of the 2018-2019 Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award: Lynne Nugent, for her collection of creative nonfiction shorts, Nest. Nugent’s collection will be released at AWP in 2020. Final judge Phong Nguyen had this to say about our winner:
Nest achieves what many essay collections seek to accomplish: it causes the reader to see the world with new eyes. By drawing upon the raw material of motherhood, the author uses this eternal verity and imbues it with her highly idiosyncratic reality, without ever forcing revelations onto this universal subject. The insights that emerge from her telling feel at once natural, inevitable, and sui generis.
Lynne Nugent is the managing editor of The Iowa Review. Her personal essays have been published in the North American Review, Brevity, the New York Times, Full Grown People, Mutha Magazine, and Hippocampus Magazine.
She noted about Nest:
I wrote most of the essays in Nest on my phone while breastfeeding or holding a sleeping baby, intoxicated by love and pheromones but also exhausted and bored, and swinging between those two emotional extremes and needing an outlet. Given the constraints of this kind of writing process, most of them are flash essays, and the overall length of the manuscript is pretty lightweight. Rather than push myself to fit some idea of how long an essay or a book can be, I took inspiration from Sarah Ruhl’s 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, in which she embraces the fragmentary and incomplete thoughts that can result from motherhood and, well, just life… One thing I didn’t anticipate was the positive reaction to writing a chapbook, not in spite of but because of its brevity: a friend who was also a new mom said, “Thank you for writing something I will actually have time to read.” So the benefits can be to both reader and writer. I see Nest as a product of a moment—technology, feminism, creativity, and ambition, all intersecting with the eternal needs and rhythms of life, especially for those of us involved in taking care of other humans.
We would also like to announce our semi-finalists: My Tran for her three flash fiction pieces, “eleven,” “thirteen,” and “seventeen,” from “My father is housed in a whale,” and Angelo R. Lacuesta and Roy Allen Martinez for their graphic narrative, “Bedweather.” A second short piece by Angelo R. Lacuesta and artist Shaira Luna, “Triple Phantasy,” will appear in Aquifer: The Florida Review Online.
Once again, we would like to say thank you to all the amazing writers who submitted their work for the past year. We are looking forward to reading and seeing all the work that writers are submitting for this year’s chapbook award in the genres of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and graphic narrative. We hope you make it just as hard for us to choose this year as you did last year. The 2019-2020 contest is now open.
We’re happy to announce the winners of our Meek Awards for the 2018 publication year. Congratulations to all of these artists and writers whose work was chosen from among all the work we publish from general submissions–these works are not from contests or solicitations, but straight out of the “slush pile,” and they represent some of the finest work we published last year. We’re thrilled to be able to compensate some of our writers through a generous donation. This year’s winner are:
Poetry—Alana de Hinojosa, “Sombras nada mas” (42.2)
Fiction—Janelle Garcia, “A Warning” (Aquifer)
Creative Nonfiction—Christopher Citro, “Root That Mountain” (42.2)
Graphic Narrative—Peter Witte, “After Kafka” (Aquifer)
Digital Media—Mark Keats, “Surnames” (Aquifer)
Short Film—Gloria Chung, “MEMORY VI: An Ostrich’s Eye Is Bigger Than Its Brain” (Aquifer)
Visual Art—Michael Hower, “Redemption” (Aquifer)
We’re publishing more great work all the time, and we extend our appreciation to all of our writers and submitters. Keep up the great work!
We’re a bit late in getting this news on the website, but we’re proud to announce that a new donor has made it possible for us to select one author or artist (or to split the award between two) in each of our publication categories each year. These writers and artists are some of those who come to us through general submissions rather than contests or other means. At The Florida Review, we recognize that writers deserve to be paid for their work, and, though it remains financially impossible for us to provide remuneration for every writer and artist, we are happy that now every writer who submits to The Florida Review and Aquifer has at least the possibility.
For the inaugural 2017 year, we selected the following writers and artists for this special recognition. They represent the kind of work we love to publish at The Florida Review and Aquifer–both personally moving and aware of the wider world.
Esteban Rodriguez (“Roadside,” 41.2) and Sherrie Fernandez-Williams (“the crossing,” Aquifer) for poetry
Congratulations to these and all of the other wonderful writers and artists we publish. In 2018, we will be adding a winner in the short film category as well, and look for that announcement sooner than November!
The Florida Review is thrilled to share that MR Sheffield, one of our authors, has just published her first poetry collection: Marvels. Sheffield’s fiction piece “The Geometry of Children” was a Jeanne Leiby Chapbook Contest finalist and featured in our print issue 37.1 from summer 2012. When asked about being published in The Florida Review, Sheffield said:
I was thrilled to be a part of such an esteemed publication. As a chapbook finalist, part of my prize was getting to attend the [Sanibel] writers’ conference. It was just a fabulous experience—it was the first time I felt like a writer. While I’ll probably never be completely rid of self-doubt, publishing my story helped me see that I might actually have something to say.
Since she had been published in The Florida Review, Sheffield noted a sense of legitimacy that was gained for her as a writer and outlined what she sees as the role of small literary magazines:
They are the rich earth wherein stories, poems, and essays can take root. They give emerging authors a place to grow from. Small literary magazines also shape contemporary literature. We can see where trends are going through what pops up in these publications.
As far as whether her life has changed as a writer now with the release of Marvels, Sheffield said:
Again, I’ve had this fleeting sense of legitimacy. I actually do love this little book. It’s weird and complicated and in some ways it’s indistinguishable from me. I love that it will exist outside of me. My dad passed away last year, and this book feels like another scattering of his ashes.
Marvels can be pre-ordered from Sundress Publications here.
Please join us in celebrating the following writers and their work, which we’ve nominated for the Pushcart Prize this year. It’s always hard to choose from all the excellent work we are honored to publish, but these stood out to us for their fresh insights into the current social moment in which we live.
Renée Branum, “Bolt” (42.1, winner of our 2016 Editors’ Award in Nonfiction)
Natalie Disney, “Blind Field” (42.1, fiction)
Tony Hoagland, “Feeling Generous” (42.1, poetry)
Brian Kearney, “American Jumble 2” (42.2, graphic narrative)
This fall, The Florida Review and Aquifer: TFR Online celebrate Latinx / Latina / Latino writers. Starting September 15, and running through October 15, we will be featuring numerous Latinx authors in Aquifer, and later this fall we will include a special section in 42.2 of the print Florida Review as well.
Starting with issue 40.2, we have focused a special section of each fall print Florida Review on an issue of social relevance. After the Pulse tragedy in 2016, many literary magazines and other media outlets focused attention on the issue, and we felt that we needed to offer a closer-to-home perspective to that national dialog. We featured six pieces of writing dedicated to the impact of the event.
After that special feature, we had the opportunity to interview distinguished author Ana Castillo about her book Black Dove, a memoir partly about her son being incarcerated for theft. Between Castillo’s work, a plenitude of submissions from prisoners and former prisoners across the country, and submissions by family and friends of prisoners, a themed section for Fall 2017 (41.2) emerged. The number of people being incarcerated in the US is an important social issue, and we were able to highlight it in seven writers’ moving literary responses.
This year, in Aquifer‘s second year, we decided to connect online and print themes and to continue to raise awareness of social issues. At The Florida Review and Aquifer, we are acutely aware of the VIDA count, which documents discrimination against women in the publishing world and sometimes also focuses on writers of color. At The Florida Review and Aquifer, we are dedicated to being part of the solution to gender and racial inequity.
Nicole Oquendo, special Latinx feature editor, notes, “As editors, we have a responsibility to make time to highlight a diverse range of voices.” As our former creative nonfiction editor, Nicole agreed to come back and help put together this celebration of Latinx authors, especially early and mid-career writers who deserve more recognition.
“There is so much exciting new work going on, and Latinx writers are adding to both the Florida and the national literary scene,” comments editor-in-chief Lisa Roney.
This is the fiftieth anniversary of Hispanic Heritage Month, and we are thrilled that this will be our first Aquifer special feature. Between the Aquifer feature this month and the authors included in 42.2 later this fall, we will have the privilege of sharing the work of more than forty Latinx / Latina/ Latino writers and several artists.
The Florida Review is pleased to announce the winner of the 2017-2018 Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award: Michael Chin, for his collection of flash fiction Autopsy and Everything After, which will be published early in 2019. As noted by final contest judge Juan Martinez:
There is so much pathos and beauty and good humor in these pieces. I loved spending time with these people, how they surprised me, how much I learned about the itinerant wrestling world and how that world contains all of ours—our dead fathers, our lost exes, our fears and hopes.
Michael Chin is an alumnus of the Oregon State University MFA program. He has previously published two hybrid chapbooks, Distance Traveled with Bent Window Books and The Leo Burke Finish with Gimmick Press, and is a contributing editor for Moss.
In addition, we would like to recognize two finalists whose work we hope to excerpt in The Florida Review next spring: Ahsa Dore for Disfigure Studies and Ethel Smith for We Ready.
As Martinez noted about these two submissions:
Disfigure Studies is a powerful and intricately constructed creative nonfiction piece that conjures resonances between art, violation, trauma, disability, and beauty. And The X-Men. The work never fails to surprise, even as it builds to an insightful meditation on gender.
The main threads in We Ready are the necessary ones of race in Alabama and the ways in which family and community can uplift us. But this collection of flash nonfiction pieces also skillfully explores the many valences of education: how it is needed, how it can be rewarding, and how its trajectory shifts. In addition, it’s a joy to spend time with some truly memorable people in these pages—Miss Pearl, the Prell sisters, and the undergrads popping up in the writer’s office.
We thank all of the many wonderful writers who submitted work last year and who made our decisions so difficult. This year’s contest is now open, and we hope to hear from many of you and many more writers again in support of the publication of prose and graphic narrative work of a certain length that doesn’t fit either bite-size or big-book size.
Fiction Finalists Pankaj Challa, “The Bridge”
Corey Flintoff, “Rope Dancers”
Nonfiction Winner Katy Shay, “Coleoptera”
Megan Baxter, “Hunger”
Richard Froude, “Some Trees”
In addition, we had ten semi-finalists, some of whom we will also be publishing. We hope to post a profile on each winner and finalist here and in social media as the months progress to next spring’s publication. Congratulations to these fine writers and all of those who submitted. We hope you will keep continuing to write and submit and support small literary magazines’ existence. Next year’s contest will open in January.