Every year in the United States the editors of hundreds of little magazines produce thousands of issues containing tens of thousands of stories, essays, and poems. Somewhere in this frightening abundance of reading matter is the very finest and the very worst that the writers of America have to offer. And there’s the rub—for although nobody, Lord knows, wants to miss out on this year’s “Waste Land,” it would be all but impossible for any one of us to poke through all those magazines to find it. That’s where The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses is supposed to come in. Issued yearly since 1976 by the Pushcart Press (with a well-distributed paperback version by Avon following hard upon), the series is intended, in the words of its founder-editor-publisher Bill Henderson, “to rescue some of the wonderful writing appearing in small presses from oblivion.”


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