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 ISSUE 163, OCTOBER — DECEMBER 2019

(a Press 53 publication)

OUR contest ISSUE!

Since July 1, 2010, Prime Number Magazine has been home to distinctive poetry and short fiction from around the world.

We thank our readers and writers for their continued support.

In this Issue!

Winners and Runners-up for the 2019 Prime Number Magazine Awards

Winners of our quarterly Flash Fiction Contest

Winners of our FREE monthly 53-Word Story Contest

Winners of our FREE “Prime 53 Poem” Summer Challenge

Poetry selected by guest editor Marilyn Annucci

Short Fiction selected by guest editor Josh Woods

Publisher’s Selection from the winner of the 2019 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction

Introduction of guest editors for Issue 173 with a sample poem and short story

Browse our selections by clicking on the photo or the title of the poem or story. 

Scroll down and Happy Reading!


Winners of the 2019 Prime Number Magazine Awards for Poetry and Short Fiction

First Prize Poetry $1,000: “ peaches ” by  Caroline White   Judged by  Ginger Murchison

First Prize Poetry $1,000: “peaches” by Caroline White

Judged by Ginger Murchison

First Prize Short Fiction $1,000: “ Wild Kingdom ” by  Robyn Carter   Judged by  Pinckney Benedict

First Prize Short Fiction $1,000: “Wild Kingdom” by Robyn Carter

Judged by Pinckney Benedict

Runners-Up

Poetry Runners-Up:  “ Glenwood ” and “ If Love Is a Small-Town Blessing ” by  Emily Ransdell

Poetry Runners-Up: Glenwood” and “If Love Is a Small-Town Blessing” by Emily Ransdell

Short Fiction Runner-Up:   “Seven Is the Square Root of Survival”  by  KT Sparks

Short Fiction Runner-Up: “Seven Is the Square Root of Survival” by KT Sparks

Short Fiction Runner-Up:   “Theories of Simultaneous Love and Loss”  by  Charles Duffie

Short Fiction Runner-Up: “Theories of Simultaneous Love and Loss” by Charles Duffie

Winners of our quarterly Flash Fiction Contest

Low $7 entry fee (a prime number) and nice prizes

Judged by the Press 53/Prime Number Magazine editorial team

First Prize $353: “ The Bear/The Me ” by  Benjamin Noonan

First Prize $353: “The Bear/The Me” by Benjamin Noonan

Second Prize $151: “ Across the Sinai at Night ” by  Andrea Marcusa

Second Prize $151: “Across the Sinai at Night” by Andrea Marcusa

Third Prize $53: “ Family Roots ” by  Jaclyn Reed

Third Prize $53: “Family Roots” by Jaclyn Reed

Winners of our FREE monthly 53-Word Story Contest

July:  “Spring Patrol,”  by  Kate Wolf

July: “Spring Patrol,” by Kate Wolf

August:  “Ding Dong Ditch”  by  J. William Ross

August: “Ding Dong Ditch” by J. William Ross

September: “ Waste ” by  Kristin Ooley-Harrison

September: “Waste” by Kristin Ooley-Harrison

Winners of the “Prime 53 Poem” summer challenge

Press 53 editor Christopher Forrest and Publisher Kevin Morgan Watson invented a new poetry form, the Prime 53 poem, which has a total of 53 syllables: three stanzas of three lines each with a syllable count of 7/5/3 and a final two line stanza with a syllable count of 5/3, for a total of 53 syllables. The stanzas must adhere to a rhyme pattern of a/b/a; c/d/c; e/f/e; g/g. We challenged our readers to write a Prime 53 poem, and we let the contest run all summer, from June 21 through September 23. Chris and Kevin selected four poems from the more than 250 that were submitted for publication in this issue of Prime Number Magazine. We thank everyone who participated.

“ At Dusk ” by  Dagne Forrest

At Dusk” by Dagne Forrest

“ No Trope ” by  James Penha

No Trope” by James Penha

“ Gödel’s Garments ” by  Ron Scully

Gödel’s Garments” by Ron Scully

Editors' Selections

Each issue, we ask our guest editors to select their favorite poems or stories from those submitted during our open submission period. Submissions are free and only accepted through Submittable. Here are the guest editors for Issue 163, October-December 2018.

Guest Editor for Poetry

Marilyn Annucci

Marilyn Annucci, poet.jpg

Marilyn Annucci won the 2018 Press 53 Award for Poetry for her manuscript The Arrows That Choose Us, published as a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection. Her poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Prairie Schooner, Rattle, North American Review and Indiana Review. She is the author of Luck, a chapbook from Parallel Press, and Waiting Room, winner of the 2012 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, Marilyn worked for years as an editor and writer before earning an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and is a professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Marilyn’s Selections

" Elegy with Orion " by  Sheila Black

"Elegy with Orion" by Sheila Black

" When I Couldn't Sleep " by  Matthew Morrison

"When I Couldn't Sleep" by Matthew Morrison

" Nibble " by  Travis Stephens

"Nibble" by Travis Stephens

" Moving Day " by  Emma Wynn

"Moving Day" by Emma Wynn

Guest Editor for Poetry

Josh Woods

Josh Woods.jpg

Josh Woods is the author of O Monstrous World!, published by Press 53 in May 2019. He is also an editor, professor, and podcaster. He loves monsters, myth, storytelling, comedy, combat, and crafts. In addition to his novel, The Black Palace, he has edited three anthologies of fiction and has published genre and literary short stories, creative non-fiction, and craft essays in numerous journals, magazines, and collections. His awards include Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member of the Year, Press 53 Open Awards for Genre Fiction, and multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize. He teaches in Illinois and hails from Kentucky. 

Josh’s Selections

“ Easy Listening ” by  J.P. Check

Easy Listening” by J.P. Check

“ Seraph ” by  Sarah Jilek

Seraph” by Sarah Jilek

“ Think Tank ” by  David Mizner

Think Tank” by David Mizner

Publisher’s Selection

Worth Fighting For” by Rhonda Browning White, from her 2019 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction-winning short story collection, The Lightness of Water & Other Stories.

Rhonda’s story collection was selected for a $1,000 advance, publication, and 50 copies from nearly 300 manuscripts.

The 2020 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction is now open for entries until December 31, 2019. Enter your manuscript.

Meet Our Guest Editors for Issue 173, Apr-Jun 2020

(Submissions are open now through December at Submittable)

Michael Beadle

Guest Poetry Editor

Clifford Garstang

Guest Short Fiction Editor

Meet Michael Beadle and Clifford Garstang, our guest editors for Issue 173, April-June 2020. Read their bios and a poem from Michael and a story from Clifford before you send them your work. They will be accepting submissions through Submittable until December 31.


prime number

any integer other than 0 or ± 1 that is not divisible without remainder by any other integers except ± 1 and ± the integer itself (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary)

In literature: poetry and prose that is distinctive and unique (Prime Number Magazine)

Prime Number Magazine is a Press 53 publication, founded by Clifford Garstang and Kevin Morgan Watson on July 1, 2010, beginning with Issue 2 and continuing in prime numbers.