Sunday, September 23, 2007

The short story: an endangered species

Once upon a time, there were many popular, commercial magazines that published short fiction. You could buy them in bookstores, newsstands, drugstores, supermarkets, and variety stores. Today, there are very few of those periodicals, so publication of the short story has largely been left to literary journals. This has caused the literary journal One Story to begin a campaign, Save the Short Story, which was inaugurated at the Brooklyn Book Fair last week. upstreet supports this campaign, the details of which you can find on the Save the Short Story website. We especially like their Annotated History of the short story, and the section on How You Can Help. Here's my own How You Can Help list:

Read more short stories. I do. All the time. I even publish some of them. :)

Buy short story collections. I just bought several, including No One Belongs Here More Than You, by Miranda July; I Like It Better Now, by James B. Hall; and The Long and Short of It, by Pamela Painter.

Recommend short stories to others. I'll recommend two old favorites right now, by Frank O'Connor, who was my favorite short story writer until I discovered Alice Munro: "My Oedipus Complex," and "Guests of the Nation" (just to show that I still hold a very warm place in my heart for Frank).

Support literary journals that publish short fiction. If you're a member of The upstreet Fan Club, you probably already do this. Encourage your friends to do the same. upstreet thanks you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Eyes on the prizes, part two

The Pushcart Prize is one of the most sought-after honors in the literary magazine world. Each publication may submit up to six entries from its pages in a given year, in "any combination of poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot." The winners, chosen by the Pushcart Press editors, are published in the annual anthology that represents "the best of the small presses." upstreet has made six nominations from its third issue, and they are being sent in today. Here they are--

Fiction (chosen by Robin Oliveira, Fiction Editor):
Nannette Crane, "Sunday Best" (p. 25)
Joyce A. Griffin, "Michael Ryan" (p. 199)

Creative Nonfiction (chosen by Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, Creative Nonfiction Editor):
Kelly Ruth Anderson, "This Good Year" (p. 187)
Frank Tempone, "Born Again" (p. 11)

Poetry (chosen by Jessica Greenbaum, Poetry Editor):
Stephen Ackerman, "Magic Lantern" (p. 214)
Aaron M. Beatty, "The Flood" (p. 197)

We congratulate our nominees, and wish them the very best of luck in the competition.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Eyes on the prizes, part one

One of the more pleasant duties of a literary magazine editor is choosing which of the works in a given issue to nominate for the many prize anthologies that are published each year. upstreet submits to several of these anthologies. Some of the better known ones--Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, O. Henry Prize Stories--don't take nominations of individual pieces, but invite literary magazines to send in the entire issue, and choose that way. The same is true of Best American Nonrequired Reading, which is edited by Dave Eggers, who asks the kids at 826 Valencia, his San Francisco writing center, to help him make the selections each year.

One anthology, Best New Poets, allows eligible literary magazines to nominate two emerging poets (poets who have not published a book-length collection) each year. We submitted two nominations from upstreet number two (Stephen Ackerman and Judy Katz) for the 2007 book, but they didn't make the list, which was announced two weeks ago. Nominations for the 2008 anthology can be submitted between January 15 and April 15 of next year.

Two prize anthologies ask literary magazines to send in nominations for individual pieces that have appeared in their pages. The journal Creative Nonfiction is currently taking submissions for the second volume of its anthology, The Best Creative Nonfiction, and upstreet number three is eligible to submit. CNF Editor Harrison Candelaria Fletcher and I have chosen two personal narratives: "Born Again," by Frank Tempone, and "This Good Year," by Kelly Ruth Anderson, which were mailed in today.

The other upstreet number three editors and I are currently working on our selections for The Pushcart Prize XXXII: Best of the Small Presses 2008. We're going to nominate two poems, two creative nonfiction pieces, and two short stories. Come here at the end of next week to find out which ones.