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Flapper Press Announces Nominees for the 2022 Pushcart Prize in Poetry

By Flapper Press:

Please join us in congratulating our poets Gaby Bedetti, Maril Crabtree, and Debbie Theiss, whose poems have earned our 2022 Pushcart Nominations for Poetry. These selections exemplify the fine body of poetic work we have shared with you throughout this year in our Flapper Press Poetry Café.

Read more about the Pushcart Prize and the nomination process here.

Thank you to all our contributors and congratulations to our nominees!



Gaby Bedetti

I love singing harmony

but a dissonant closing chord

holds tension and motion

and makes the moment beautiful

like the crow of a city rooster.

When my five-year old would ask

a question I couldn’t answer,

she’d announce, “It’s a mystery!”

We preferred the mystery.


About the Poem: During a break from singing, I overheard our choir’s music director bantering with the accompanist about a tone cluster at the end of a hymn we were rehearsing.

From Flapper Press Poetry Café Poetry editor Annie Newcomer:

There is a question that is fun in the asking,"What is the most important word in a poem?" Of course, the answer is "every word." In a short poem this is especially true because there is little-to-no room for error or misstep. The imagery, storytelling, and choice of words in the short poem "Rooster" is perfection. In only 8 short lines, the poet provides a contradiction and then with no literal answer leaves us satisfied with an elusive answer. Harmony chords and musical notes are generally used to produce a progression, having a pleasing effect. And yet . . .

a dissonant closing chord

holds tension and motion

and makes the moment beautiful

How do we account for this contradiction being true?

It's a mystery.

And must rest inside the beholder.


Dancing With Elvis

Maril Crabtree


He rounds the curve on my suburban Memphis street.

Music blares from his gold Cadillac. He looks at me,

eyes misty but pouring into mine.

like they’ve found home. Stars drift from his mouth

when he says my name (how did he know my name?

But then I know his.) He says


(he knows i'm a woman though i'm barely fourteen)

and i say sure, glad i've put on my new white shorts

and washed my hair so it flips up

instead of having to be dragged into a ponytail

(he sees so many women in ponytails

and i am different, i will save him).

i climb into that big rich leather front seat

and sit in the middle, not hugging the door,

sure of myself, sure that he'll see that i can give him

what nobody else can. He smiles that lazy smile

and his dimples come out and i get woozy

and want to fall right into his mouth, dive in and slide

into his insides, find the part of him that nobody sees

and pull it out, shining, the golden calf

truly worthy of worship. He takes my shoulders,

draws me close, curls his arm around me, can't he hear

my heart thumping louder and louder, my blood buzzing—

let me stay here driving with Elvis forever.


I round the corner of Beale Street,

heart of the tourist section.

I see him, standing in the Visitors' Information store,

four-color smile with dimples pasted on, the man

whose legs twitched and made my teenage gut itch