THE PUSHCART PRIZE XVIII by Bill Henderson

THE PUSHCART PRIZE XVIII

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 As little magazines become house organs of university writing mills, talent discoveries become paradoxically harder to make. School styles and trends show up readily enough, but it's the rare piece of new-voice work that seems independent, contrarian, free. This year's Pushcart attests to this flat state of affairs. It's poked-through with almost-first-tier prosework: Alison Deming's ``An Island Notebook''; Tobias Wolff's ``The Life of the Body''; Rick Bass's ``Days of Heaven''; Susan Neville's ``In The John Dillinger Museum''; Rebecca McClanahan's ``Somebody.'' It has some good-enough poems by David Lehman, David Rivard, and Joellen Kwiatek. But even its most notable pieces are sequestered in ivy'd halls: an amusing satire on PC academic-journal names by ``Kothar Wa-Khasis'' (Lowell Edmonds), as well as two poems--one by William Matthews titled ``Note I Left for Gerald Stern in an Office I Borrowed, and He Would Next, at a Summer's Writers Conference''; and one by Marvin Bell, ``Homage to the Runner: Bloody Brain Work''--that come off as everted Mister Chips memos: the life and risky times of creative-writing teachers. (Three clumsy but refreshing bohemian pieces--by David Rattray, Peter Coyote, and the poet who calls himself ``Antler''--provide contrast for the tenured alkalinity here.) Gleanings from an increasingly spent field.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-916366-89-8
Page count: 572pp
Publisher: Pushcart
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1993




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