When She Was Bad
by Gabrielle Brant Freeman
Lust. Love. Betrayal and loyalty. Temptation and hilarity. Gabrielle Freeman dissects her speakers’ hearts, tenderly, with supreme attention to what it is to be human, female, and fierce. Gabrielle Freeman’s poems are bad—by which I mean badass bold. Michael Jackson bad. Freeman’s bad and you know it. That’s why you read her. When She Was Bad is a smart, compassionate, tightly crafted and explosive debut.
—Denise Duhamel, author of Blowout
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314
The Universal Physics of Escape by Elizabeth Gonzalez
Winner 2015 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction
Elizabeth Gonzalez is a master of dialogue, an artist at creating vivid settings, and an encyclopedia of knowledge about the world surrounding her characters. These stories uncover truths that makes the reading experience memorable and each story remarkable.
—Kevin Morgan Watson, Publisher, Press 53, who served as final judge
Crosscurrents and Other Stories by Gerry Wilson
Gerry Wilson's stories are about the essential tugs between desires: for safety or risk; for adventure or comfort; for sanctioned action or the indubitably un. Her characters are in mortal combat, most often with themselves. This is a very exciting and compelling collection of stories; I loved reading it.
–Antonya Nelson, author of Funny Once: Stories
she: robed and wordless by Lou Ella Hickman
A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection
These terse little poems are often bright nuggets of insight into the psyches not only of the Biblical women who speak through this poet’s imagination, but they are also deep insights into our own psyches. Although the voices imagined here are the voices of many women from the Bible, the truths revealed are universal. These new takes on stories that are often familiar make for fascinating reading. Lou Ella Hickman has provided here a fine testimony to the power of imagination and myth.
—David Bottoms, Georgia Poet Laureate and author of We Almost Disappear
Twelve Women in a Country Called America: Stories by Kelly Cherry
Kelly Cherry’s tenth work of fiction delivers twelve compelling stories about women of the American South. These are women struggling to find their way through the everyday workings of life while also navigating the maze of self. From a young woman’s nightmare piano lesson to an elderly woman’s luminous last breath, Twelve Women in a Country Called America takes readers on a journey sometimes dark, sometimes funny, and always enlightening.
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The Seven Stages of Anger and Other Stories
by Wendy J. Fox
Winner of the 2014 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction
What happens when a still life speaks? Wendy J. Fox invites us to eavesdrop. These beautiful, lyrical stories describe ordinary lives: speckled eggshells, creeping vines. Here’s the threat of fire out east and endless rain when the map meets Seattle. Here are characters so real you know them already. They’ve misplaced your keys and borrowed your car.
—Carol Guess, author of Darling Endangered and Doll Studies: Forensics
Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, Volume II
edited by Clifford Garstang
From my first experience outside the United States as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Korea, to my international law career and work for the World Bank. My travels have had a lasting impact on my writing and also on my reading. Like many people who travel, I’m drawn to stories set in exotic locations, both to places I’ve seen firsthand and countries with which I’m unfamiliar. That’s one way I learn about the world and discover new sites to visit. I hope you feel the same way, although there’s a certain village in Panama you might want to avoid.
—from the Introduction, by Clifford Garstang, editor
Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories by Grant Faulkner
Grant Faulkner’s sharply observed, darkly funny, heart-breaking bursts of highly compressed prose offers a startling view of what reality might look like through a funhouse microscope. Fissures pushes the boundaries of flash prose, and thank goodness for that. Sometimes less is so much more.
—Dinty W. Moore, author of Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy: Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and Cannibals
Baby's on Fire by Liz Prato
In her terrific debut, Baby’s on Fire, Liz Prato pulls off the ultimate balancing act: the stories are at once beautifully written and tremendously compelling—not to mention filled with characters so full of life that they feel as real as people we know. A knockout collection.
—Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans
Nobody Calls Me Darling Anymore by Dannye Romine Powell
Dannye Romine Powell’s marvelous new collection gives us a generous offering of poems that document the tender mercies of a woman ruminating on the cusp of endtime. Shockingly insightful, the poems look away from no aspect of a woman’s life, fully entering (and suffering) both the joys and the agonies entailed by our deep commitments to others. In plain style language and a lucid, epigrammatic form, Powell’s poems arrest us again and again with their brutal intelligence and emotional authenticity.
—Kate Daniels, author of A Walk in Victoria’s Secret
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In the Season of Blood & Gold by Taylor Brown
With ferocious economy and a great big heart, Taylor Brown writes one of the best debuts I've ever picked up. These are stories, verses, meditations, and accusations—everything, in short, you could hope to get from important fiction. This work demands your attention.
—Charles Dodd White, author of A Shelter of Others
Hickory Station by Adrian Rice
In his new volume, Hickory Station, there are poems of Northern Ireland memories and others of Appalachia and the Low Country. Rice knows how to bear simple and eloquent witness to family life, the reckonings of self, and to distant and adopted homelands. Like many before him, Rice cannot forget the fields and woods outside the porch, the animals that make up the world without us. His poems are concise, poignant, and lyrical. Hickory Station is a warm-hearted, beautifully crafted, tour de force.
—Jefferson Holdridge, author of The Poetry of Paul Muldoon
a scrap of linen, a bone by Ginger Murchison
A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection
These are made poems. These are earned poems. These are poems of a full-fledged grownup who understands and celebrates the “slow hungers” that “breathe / beneath leveled dreams, / the South’s muscular sky / painted over now, paler blue.” This book will offer you welcome and pleasure.
—Thomas Lux, author of Child Made of Sand
Hard Toward Home by C.D. Albin
Hard Toward Home is alive with cross-grained people caught between their pasts and futures and striving to outlast the harm they've done each other and themselves. Albin possesses all the storyteller's gifts of eye and ear and mind and goes them one better by virtue of his heart. These stories are deep and wise and quietly gorgeous.
—Janet Peery, author of The River Beyond the World
Porridge by Richard Garcia
Winner of the 2016 Press 53 Award for Poetry
A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection
Porridge is an outstanding collection of adult fables, remixed lullabies, and ars poeticas. The poem, "Vasko Popa," is the best critique of big data I've read ("The computer wants you to save everything"). "The Promise" delivers a heartrending, mythical coming-of-age tale. Richard Garcia is a superlative fabulist.
—Jillian Weise, author of The Book of Goodbyes
Exit, pursued by a bear, by Joseph Mills
poems inspired by Shakespeare's stage directions
What an inspired collection! The lines between reality and the stage, between life and art, between past and present—they're all blurred into an exciting whirligig of poetry based on Shakespeare's stage directions. You don't have to be a Shakespeare nut to fall in love with this collection.
—Robert Lee Brewer, author of Solving the World’s Problems and editor of Poet’s Market
Balancing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1993 – 2015
Silver Concho Poetry Series edited by Pamela Uschuk and William Pitt Root
I find myself pausing everywhere among these wisdoms, wondering why the world stumbles and staggers through such a dark and greedy time when there are people alive with such keen, caring insight. . . If Yahia Samir Lababidi were in charge of a country, I would want to live there.
—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of There Is No Long Distance Now
They Could Live with Themselves, linked stories by Jodi Paloni
They Could Live with Themselves dazzles twice: first, as a collection of subtle and engaging short stories that stand on their own, and second, as a sustained narrative. The intriguing characters of the fictional town of Stark Run appear and reappear until, by book’s end, the reader sees the broader picture of Jodi Paloni’s expert weaving. Throughout, her prose pops with humor and insight as it tracks the eternal tug between giving to others and giving to oneself. This is a stunning debut.
—Philip Graham, author of Interior Design
Light Is the Odalisque by LaWanda Walters
Silver Concho Poetry Series edited by Pamela Uschuk and William Pitt Root
The poems I read for years in magazines come full into their glory when set in their rightful context. This is mature, eye-opening work, meticulous and exhilarating, that only a writer at the height of her powers can give us.
—James Cummins, author of Still Some Cake
That Rain We Needed by Sam Barbee
That Rain We Needed is one man’s search for his place of true belonging in an imperfect world. Sometimes comical, other times poignant, always willing to be vulnerable—here Sam Barbee unfolds his map for negotiating family and its complicated relationships. Little escapes his keen eye. “Snagged in the belly of combed clouds / I release all I am into wind,” he says—he who bravely bares his soul to us all.
—Susan Laughter Meyers, author of My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass
Elegies for Small Game by Shelby Stephenson
Winner of the 2016 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry
In poem after poem Stephenson catches the exuberance of childhood, the romance of hot-rods, the delight of barnyard basketball, and the poignant poetry of bird life in the countryside. In dialogue and hymn, this singer and laureate meditates on issues of race, history, and the bonds of abiding love.
—Robert Morgan, author of Dark Energy
What My Hand Say by Glenis Redmond
In What My Hand Say, Glenis Redmond digs deep, risking peace of mind, the comfort of ignorance and the assurance of being numb to history and memory, to make poems that are urgent, full of alarm, and marked by the realization that the best art is one that dares to look boldly at hard experience and still find a music in it. This a welcome collection by a poet engaged in the necessary work of writing with a full sense of place and history. South Carolina is fecund with stories and musics, and Redmond manages to tap into this complex resource with skill and heart.
—Kwame Dawes, author of City of Bones: A Testament
Piranhas & Quicksand & Love by Sally Shivnan
The fourteen stories in Piranhas & Quicksand & Love are clear and profound . . . . Read this book to savor its beautiful language, to drink in its gentle defiance. Piranhas & Quicksand & Love calls readers to ride the waves of a sea besieged by predatory behavior and natural disaster. To sail on, nevertheless, toward love.
—The Washington Independent Review of Books
Jimtown Road: A Novel in Stories by Dennis McFadden
Winner of the 2016 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction
“These interestingly linked stories are fresh, gritty, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. We’ve published linked story collections in the past, but Dennis’ approach was unique. When I finished one story, I found myself looking forward to the next one, wondering who I was about to meet and how the story would tie in with the others. And the last story brought the entire collection full-circle, right back to the beginning with a very strange twist.”
—Kevin Morgan Watson, Publisher, Press 53
Blue Star by Barbara Presnell
A mother’s voice shines in the striking family of voices crisscrossing generations in Barbara Presnell’s Blue Star. In this treasure tracing war, race, and the Quaker faith through her family history, Presnell’s heart belongs to her son, to whom the book is dedicated and who she prays “will never see a battlefield.” Some of the book’s most moving poems evoke tender-tough challenges to the mother-son bond, which finds resilience through “small miracles of transformation” as her son becomes a man making a family of his own. We find ourselves in these poems, in each moment of a family’s embattled past and uncertain present, holding “what flutters,” knowing it is our heart.
—Heather H. Thomas, author of Blue Ruby and Resurrection Papers
2017 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction
Open September 1 – December 31
Official rules and guidelines here
Bones of an Inland Sea (Book Club Edition) by Mary Akers
We taken this popular collection of linked stories and added book club questions, a family tree for the characters, a timeline, and a new story. Evocative and brimming with redemption, Mary Akers' newest collection BONES OF AN INLAND SEA takes the reader on a journey of exploration and transformation that begins with a 19th century shipwreck. Characters connect on remote beaches and forgotten islands, while family ties prove--like the ocean--to be both powerful and unpredictable. These fourteen stories form a captivating mosaic of intertwining narratives that convey a strong sense of the eternal and the possible.
Congratulations, Leona Sevick!
Winner of the
2017 Press 53 Award for Poetry
Early Registration is now open!
2017 Press 53 Gathering of Poets
with new co-host Winston-Salem Writers
Saturday, March 4
The Marriott, Winston-Salem