Each year, small presses may nominate up to six pieces they’ve published during the previous 12 months for the Pushcart Prize — a literary award and annual anthology initiated in 1976 by ex-Doubleday editor Bill Henderson to honor “the best of the small presses.” Our 2016 nominations include poetry by two authors whose collections we’ve published in 2016, a short story from a collection released this year, as well as three poems that originally appeared on the Silver Birch Press blog. Congratulations and good luck to all nominees.


Jennifer Finstrom is an instructor in the First-Year Writing Program at DePaul University and also a peer writing tutor and writing group leader for the University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL). She is the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine, and recent publications include Autumn Sky Poetry DailyEscape Into Life, and NEAT. For Silver Birch Press, she has work appearing in The Great Gatsby Anthology, the Alice in Wonderland Anthology, the Nancy Drew Anthology, and in Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks. Editor’s note: Jennifer Finstrom’s poem “Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life” appeared on our blog in January as part of our “Me, in Fiction” Poetry & Prose Series (January 2016). The poem generated so many comments from Nancy Drew aficionados that it led to a call for submissions, which resulted in the Nancy Drew Anthology — a 212-page collection featuring writing & art from 97 contributors around the world (Silver Birch Press, October 2016).


Sonja Johanson has recent work appearing in BOAAT, Epiphany, and The Writer’s Almanac.  She is a contributing editor at the Found Poetry Review, and the author of Impossible Dovetail (IDES, Silver Birch Press), all those ragged scars (Choose the Sword Press), and Trees in Our Dooryards (Redbird Chapbooks).  Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine. Editor’s note: Sonja Johanson’s poem “Night Before Moving Out” appeared on our blog in August as part of our “When I Moved” Poetry & Prose Series (August-September 2016).

alan-kingAlan King is a Caribbean American, whose parents emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago to the U.S. in the 1970s. He’s a husband, father, and communications professional who blogs about art and social issues at alanwking.com. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, he holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine. He’s a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and was also nominated three times for a Best of the Net selection. He lives with his family in Bowie, Maryland. (Photo by Melanie Henderson.) Editor’s note: In October, Silver Birch Press published Alan King’s book, Point Blank, and from the 102-page collection nominated his poem “Slippery.”


Patrick T. Reardon is a Chicagoan, born and bred. He is the author of seven books, including Faith Stripped to Its Essence: A Discordant Pilgrimage through Shusaku Endo’s ‘Silence.’ His collection of poems Requiem for David will be published by Silver Birch Press in February 2017. Reardon worked for 32 years as a reporter with the Chicago Tribune, specializing in urban affairs, and is now writing a book about the untold story of the impact of the elevated railroad Loop on the stability and development of Chicago. His essays have appeared frequently in American and European publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, National Catholic Reporter, Illinois Heritage, Reality, and U.S. Catholic. His book reviews have twice won the Peter Lisagor Award for arts criticism. He has lectured on Chicago history at the Chicago History Museum. (Author photo by Michael Zajakowski.) Editor’s note: Patrick T. Reardon’s poem “At the door,” featured on our blog in May during our “Starting to Ride” Poetry & Prose Series (May-June 2016), will appear in his upcoming collection, Requiem for David (Silver Birch Press, February 2017).


Sam Silvas received his MFA from
St. Mary’s College, and lives in Claremont, California, with his family. In life and in writing, he strives to be deceptively honest. Editor’s note: In November, Silver Birch Press published Sam Silvas’ book Stanton, California, and from the 176-page collection nominated his short story “Buck Stew.”


Kathleen A. Wakefield’s book Notations on the Visible World (2000) won the 1999 Anhinga Prize for Poetry and was a recipient of the University of Rochester Lillian Fairchild Award. She has received grants from the New York State Foundation for the Arts, the Constance Saltonstall Foundation, and Mount Holyoke College. She taught creative writing at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester and has worked as a poet-in-the-schools. (Photo by Steven Spring.) Editor’s note: In August, Silver Birch Press published Kathleen A. Wakefield’s book Grip, Give and Sway, and from the 104-page collection nominated her poem “Father to Son.”