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Flapper Press 2021 Pushcart Nominations

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

By Anne Newcomer & Elizabeth Gracen

The Pushcart Press has honored small presses across America each year since 1976 by inviting them to nominate six writers and poets for the annual Pushcart Prize. This is the second year that Flapper Press has participated by honoring our contributors with nominations, and we are pleased to announce our choices for 2021.



Gillian Kessler

Gillian Kessler

"Deaf Girl" was written at the start of 2021. I had been back at teaching in person, fully masked, since September, and my professional life was continuing to move forward in the blurry haze presented to a hearing-impaired person in a masked world. This poem feels like a bit of a proclamation to owning my disability. The repetition of the lines "I'm a deaf girl" becomes a bit of a mantra, perhaps a way to own and hold all the challenges and face them with a bit more gumption and gusto. I've never had to talk much about my disability before; it was something that I masked really well through lip reading, hearing aids, and the innocent "can you repeat that?" and "pardons." The pandemic shut down my quiet dealings and made me have to face my impairment in a whole new way.

Gillian Kessler can be found dancing to loud music, teaching exuberant teens to appreciate language, writing in the early morning when everyone is asleep, and exploring the wilds of Montana with her beautiful family. Gillian studied poetry at Santa Clara University with Edward Kleinschmidt, at UCLA with Suzanne Lummis and, more recently, in Missoula under the exceptional guidance of Chris Dombrowski, Mark Gibbons, and Phillip Schaffer. Her poems and essays have been published in Mamalode magazine, and she writes frequently for Flapper Press. Her poetry was featured in the anthology Poems Across the Big Sky, Volume II. She has written two collections of poems, Lemons and Cement and the forthcoming Ash in the Tree.


Maryfrances Wagner

Maryfrances Wagner

This poem is about my dogs Pablo Neruda Dog Boy and Emily Dickinson Dog—they were litter mates and are both now gone. "Missing Emily Dickinson Dog" is about losing Emily and Pablo's own grief for her.

Maryfrances Wagner's most recent book is The Immigrants' New Camera (2018). She has co-edited several poetry anthologies and the New Letters Review of Books and has co-edited I-70 Review magazine since 2010. She has also helped coordinate, sponsor, or participate in writing workshops, public readings, and literary and cross-cultural events, according to the Missouri Arts Council, which last year named her Individual Artist of the year in its annual awards.


Elaine Alarcon-Totten

Elaine Alarcon-Totten

I wrote this poem for a young woman in my English class. She was always crying in class. I suspected but never had proof that she was being abused. Then the unthinkable happened. She was murdered, along with her brother (also one of my students), her mother, and grandmother. They were all strangled and their home burned. All because her mother was in a feud with another family over the right-of-way of a driveway between their two motels! Fortunately the criminals were caught.

Elaine’s work has appeared in Solo, Orbis, Spillway, The TOPANGA Messenger, The Canyon Chronicle, The Denver Quarterly, Askew, Flapper Press, and Blue Light Press. She has graduate degrees in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. Born in Maryland, raised in Minnesota, educated in Colorado, and escaped to California, Elaine is happy to live by water in a temperate climate with sweet evening winds.



Will Bellaimey

Will Bellaimey

Historically Speaking continues with high school American History teacher Will Bellaimey discussing the hot topic in education right now—Critical Race Theory.

Will Bellaimey is the creator of HISTORICALLY SPEAKING on Flapper Press. Will teaches U.S. Government and Politics at Flintridge Prep School outside Los Angeles where he is also the director of the Los Angeles Museum of Geography, which is staffed entirely by seventh graders. His podcast,


Paul Mitchnick

Paul Mitchnick

Paul Mitchnick shares the black and white photography of his passion for Amusement parks and the memories they conjure of a time gone by.

Paul Mitchnick is a cinematographer living and working out of Toronto, Canada. He has spent time with many gifted filmmakers in his career—Sean Penn, Lawrence Kasdan, and John Woo as directors, as well as many Oscar-winning cinematographers. For the last decade, Paul has been Director of Photography on award-winning Canadian Independent Features and television Movies of the Week. He shot KEIF AL-HAL, the first feature film produced by a Saudi Arabian company. Whenever on assignment, Paul travels with his still camera and has taken photographs all over the globe. "I make my living looking at things, and when I have my still camera, opportunities kind of present themselves. Whether those things are looking for me or I am looking for them, I am not sure."

Anne Trominski

Flapper Press contributor Anne Trominski gives a personal perspective on last year's Texas snowstorm that left millions without power, heat, and water for days.

Anne Trominski was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, but now resides in San Antonio. She graduated from Trinity University after majoring in English and Communication. She spends her dull working hours as an editor for a major publishing company, and her personal time as an oft-frustrated writer. She has written two yet-to-be published novels, countless reams of heartfelt poetry, and has tried her hand at blogging a few times. Anne is also a gastronomist and amateur chef who likes to obsessively read articles on health and wellness. She is a constant learner and explorer and likes to drop knowledge on others like it’s hot.


Please consider submitting poetry, short stories, blogs, interviews and relevant content to Flapper Press for consideration for publication by contacting us at

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