Announcing the Finalists and Winners of the 2012 Press 53 Open Awards.

We hope you can attend our awards ceremony at our annual Press 53 Wine & Words Fest, Saturday, November 10, from 2-5 p.m. at the Community Arts Cafe in downtown Winston-Salem (Fourth & Spruce).

Thank you to everyone who entered!

First Prize in Each Category wins
our beautiful, personalized etched-glass award!

Top Three Winners in Each Category (First Prize Only in Novella) Published in the 2012 Press 53 Open Awards Anthology

All finalists will receive a free copy of the
2012 Press 53 Open Awards Anthology

2012 Press 53 Open Awards Finalists & Winners

Judged by Tom Lombardo

First Prize: Dominique T. Locke of Castlewood, VA for “Quiet”; “Bedtime Story”; “The Goodbye Child”

Judge's comment: “Simply put, this poet has presented three wonderful poems of great insight and clarity. She examines loss through three distinct episodes along her path to recovery, sharpening focus and deepening the reader’s emotional experience skillfully with metaphor and other figurative language. Each poem unfolds from imagery to revelations of hidden truths of this life—and possibly the next.”

Second Prize: Peg Bresnahan of Cedar Mountain, NC for “A Khmer's Scarf of One Thousand Functions”; “At the Cemetery in Green Bay”; “At the Sunny Ridge Retirement Center”

Honorable Mention: David Cazden of Lexington, KY for “Portrait of Time as an Old Woman”; “Storm”; “In the Shadow of Flight 5191”

Ronald Dzerigian of Los Angeles, CA for "They are Carrying me into Earth"; "Church"; "Morning"

Kathleen Giugliano of Westwood, MS for "On Running into an Ex-Lover"; "Cubism"; "Closure"

Dominique T. Locke of Castlewood, VA for "The Second Afternoon of Your Visit"; "Stories I Tell"; "Night Poem"

Ellaraine Lockie of Sunnyvale, CA for "Waiting for Midnight"; "An American Haibun"; "Ashes"

Gerardo Mena of Columbia, MO for "So I was a Coffin"; "Painting the War Blue"; "The Spent"

Michael Rattee of Tuscon, AZ for "Circus Furniture"; "Dry Spell"; "Driving to Work"

Rachel Smith of Pittsburgh, PA for "he stood, a pilar of charcoal"; "untethered by the sea"; "he never had to say"

Judged by Meg Pokrass

First Prize: Art Taylor of Burke, VA for “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”

Judge's comment: “‘The Art of French Cooking’ is inventive, playful, bittersweet and surprising. It offers the reader a huge three-course meal in just a few unforgettable bites—pulling us in with a short, sly recipe of humor blended with pain and self-loathing whisked with bacon-lust, the end of trust, and more than a pinch of love gone sour and deadly.”

Second Prize: Nahal Jamir of Tallahassee, FL for “Foundling”

Honorable Mention: Amanda Pauley of Elliston, VA for “Snapshot”

Katie Cortese of Tallahassee, FL for “History, Revised”

Gianna Jacobson of St. Louis, MO for “Compound Fracture”

Alexander Lumans of Boulder, CO for “The Dictionary of Your Fears”

Arthur Powers of Raleigh, NC for “Famine”

Jane Shlensky of Bahama, NC for “Dogs, Work”

Linda Wastila of Baltimore, MD for “The Abridged Biography of an American Sniper”

Judged by Clifford Garstang

First Prize: Kathryn Lovatt of Camden, SC for “How to Euthanize a Fish” 

Judge's comment: “Everything about this story—the title, the controlling metaphor, the setting, the dialogue—is fresh and fun, and yet the story manages to delve into the universal mysteries of relationships and what is knowable.”

Second Prize: Alison Morse of Minneapolis, MN for “The Truth About ‘The Lead Plates at the Romm Press’: A Lecture by Abraham Sutzkever”

Honorable Mention: Gary Powell of Cornelius, NC for “Super Nova”

Susannah Cecil of Clemmons, NC for “Their Crazy”

Gregg Cusick of Durham, NC for “Ghosts of Doubt”

Tom Mock of Moncure, NC for “Moon Song”

Arthur Powers of Raleigh, NC for “The Bridge”

Russell Reece of Bethel, DE for “At the Marshfield Dam”

Michael Twist of Boring, OR for “Out on a Limb”

Marion de Booy Wentzien of Saratoga, CA for “The Art of Disappearing”

Judged by Tracy Crow

First Prize: Leslie Tucker of Landrum, SC for “Lies That Bind”

Judge's comment: “From the opening paragraph, ‘Lies That Bind’ seduces with sensory and sensual language. I knew immediately this essay would be a contender, and later, despite reading a number of excellent entries, this essay continued to resonate because of its attention to language and its haunting themes about identity and self-preservation. In ‘Lies That Bind,’ the writer so artfully weaves her narrative with her mother’s that readers are rewarded with a provocative, even voyeuristic, glimpse at an extremely dark and complicated relationship built years and years on lies.”

Second Prize: Sandell Morse of York, ME for “The Groves”

Honorable Mention: Hannah Karena Jones of Langhorne, PA for “What to Expect While Grieving Your Father”

Sandy Barnett-Ebner of Danville, CA for “The Clothes I Was Wearing”

Betty Jo Goddard of Anchor Point, AK for “Schism”

Judith Hertog of Norwich, VT for “The Red and the Black”

Beverly Jackson of Naples, FL for “Swan Song”

Suzanne Kamata of Tokumei, Japan for “Lilia's World”

Daniel B. Meltzer of New York, NY for “Witchcraft”

Judged by Robin Miura

First Prize: Stephanie DeGhett of Potsdam, NY for Hazzard's

Judge's comment: “From its first paragraph, Hazzard’s plunges us into the mind and emotions of its protagonist, Frankie, and we go along on her adventure of seeking change and respite from her everyday life by moving to a small island off the coast of Maine where she plans to hone her skills as a glass bead artist. The author treats us to vibrant imagery of the coast, the village, the shells, the light, the ocean, and the color-laden beads of Frankie’s craft—all set against the complex relationships among and between the residents of this isolated town. Here Frankie begins the work of sorting out what she should jettison from her own complicated past and what she should retain and create for herself going forward. This is a masterfully told story of self-discovery and self-reliance.”

Honorable Mention: Nicole Louise Reid of Newburgh, IN for A Purposeful Violence

Laurie Blauner of Seattle, WA for Earl

M.A. Tuohy of Buford, GA for Double Nickel Jackpot

Steve Yates of Flowood, MS for Sandy and Wayne

Tom Lombardo is series editor of the Tom Lombardo Poetry Selections for Press 53. In 2008, Tom edited and published After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events (Sante Lucia Books), which features 152 poems by 115 poets from 15 countries. Tom is a widely published and respected poet, and is a graduate of the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, NC.
Meg Pokrass published her debut collection of flash fiction, Damn Sure Right, with Press 53 in 2011. She serves as Editor-at-Large for BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review) and before that, for SmokeLong Quarterly. Her stories, poems, and flash fiction animations have appeared in nearly one hundred online and print publications, including Mississippi Review, Gigantic, Gargoyle, The Nervous Breakdown, HTML Giant, Wigleaf, The Pedestal, Keyhole, Annalemma, Smokelong Quarterly, elimae, Prime Number, Women Writers, and Joyland. Meg creates and runs the popular Fictionaut-Five Author Interview Series for Fictionaut, and consults with MFA programs about online publishing. Meg lives with her small, creative family and seven animals in San Francisco, where she edits and teaches flash fiction privately. Visit Meg's website at
Clifford Garstang is the author of the gold medal award-winning short story collection In an Uncharted Country from Press 53 and is editor of Prime Number magazine. Clifford grew up in the Midwest and received a BA from Northwestern University, his MA in English and a JD, both from Indiana University, and his MPA in International Development from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte in 2003. His work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, The Ledge, The Baltimore Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Potomac Review and elsewhere, and has received Distinguished Mention in the Best American Series. He won the 2006 Confluence Fiction Prize and the 2007 GSU Review Fiction Prize and is a Fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Visit Cliff's blog at and his website at
Tracy Crow is nonfiction editor at Prime Number magazine and the author of the forthcoming memoir, Eyes Right, Confessions from a Woman Marine (University of Nebraska Press, April 2012), in which she chronicles her life as a Marine journalist during the groundbreaking 1980s. Her essays have appeared in the Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Puerto del Sol, Literary Mama, and others, and have been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes. Her short story, “Natural Selection,” based on events from her life as a Marine, was anthologized in the Press 53 collection, Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform (2009). She is a graduate of the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. As assistant professor of creative writing at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, she teaches journalism and creative nonfiction, and advises the award-winning, nationally recognized college newspaper, The Current.
Robin Miura has worked in publishing for 12 years, first as a production editor for Oxford University Press and for the past nine years as a freelance editor, proofreader, publishing consultant, and writing coach for publishing companies and individual authors. She has worked with all types of books--from academic and educational to self-help--but her passion is literary fiction and nonfiction. Robin has edited a novel and memoir series for Press 53, which includes My Sisters Made of Light, by Jacqueline St. Joan; Hustle, by Jason Skipper; My Life as Laura: How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myself, by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson; and Molly Flanagan and the Holy Ghost, by Margaret Skinner. You can find out more about Robin and her work at
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

      2012 Press 53 Open Awards