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Flapper Press Announces Nominees for the 2023 Pushcart Prize in Poetry

Updated: Jan 23

By Flapper Press:

Flapper Press is proud to announce our nominees for the 2023 Pushcart Prize in Poetry!

It was a banner year for the Flapper Press Poetry Café, with a record number of poetry submissions and featured interviews and articles. Selecting our nominees was a daunting task, but it gave us the opportunity to review the powerful, beautiful poetry sent to us this past year. Thank you to all the poets who submitted their work. We look forward to your submissions, so please keep sending them to us!

The Pushcart Prize Anthology is published by Pushcart Press and honors the best in American "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot" published in small presses over the previous year. The endowment for the award comes from The Pushcart Prize Fellowships Inc.a 501(C)(3) non-profit corporation. Although the award has no monetary prizes, an anthology of the selected works are published annually to feature the winners.

Small-press editors nominate up to six pieces (6 poems or essays, or a combination of the two) in any genre from work that appeared in their pages over the past year. A panel of judges compiled from previous Pushcart Prize winners and editors select the winners.

This year, Flapper Press nominated three works in short fiction and essays, along with three poems.

Congratulations to our nominees, and thank you to all the writers who shared their work with us this year at Flapper Press!

Meet our Pushcart Prize nominees in poetry for 2023!


Pat Daneman - Self-Portrait

Pat Daneman’s recent poetry appears in Poet’s Touchstone, Lakeshore Review, Gyroscope and Wild Roof. Her collection, After All, was first runner up for the 2019 Thorpe-Menn Award. She is author of a chapbook, Where the World Begins, and co-librettist of the oratorio We, the Unknown. She lives in Candia, NH. To read more about Pat Daneman and her work, visit


Woods by Pat Daneman

Walking with a Ghost in the Deerfield Forest

And if you wander, how will I know where you are?

I will call to you twice…like an owl.

And how will you know I have heard?

You will cry into the air like a crow. I will hear you

before I see you, walking downhill through the trees,

your boots slipping, light traveling each cobweb strand of your hair.

I will have lit a fire. You will find me and sit close to the flames.

And will we eat?

We will drink tea brewed from pine needles, eat berries

stolen from bears, and cake dug from the hollows of trees sweet with sap.

When will we sleep?

You will go home to your bed once the sun sets. I will lie down

in the leaves, the cap of a mushroom a cold nudge on my cheek, half a moon

trying to find me. My body still, your body restless, wound in the rags

of remembering, almost awake, even as midnight slips by.

How will I know I’m alone?

I will call to you twice—like an owl—and you will not answer.


From Pat Daneman:

This was published in the November 2022 issue of Wild Roof. It grew out of an experience I had shortly after I moved to rural New Hampshire. I was looking to meet people who would share my interests. I signed up for a “forest walk” sponsored by the Bear-Paw Conservancy—a land conservation organization. I had no idea what I was getting into, but a walk in the woods sounded nice. I drove down a long dirt road near where I live and met the group leader, a very nice man. We waited for other people to show up, but no one did. He said he was willing to go ahead with just me, and I said sure. He was a great guide—it was a forest bathing type walk—you follow the guide’s prompts to go slow and pay attention with all your senses. I’d never done anything like it before, at least without my camera. It took us about two hours, stopping and starting, looking and listening, to go about a mile up and down and around through the deep woods of the Deerfield Town Forest, which is one of the areas the conservancy maintains. The poem came a couple of days later, based on my experiences during the walk. Like many of my poems since my husband died, it is about grieving and loss. It is a conversation between a living being and an unseen being or feeling (what I call a ghost.) The living person has nothing but questions and the “ghost” has answers, which make her feel seen and even cherished but ultimately changes nothing.


Cathryn Essinger

Cathryn Essinger is the author of five books of poetry—most recently The Apricot and the Moon and Wings, or Does the Caterpillar Dream of Flight?, both from Dos Madres Press. She is primarily a narrative poet with an interest in nature. Her poems can be found in a wide variety of journals, from The New England Review to PANK.  She lives in Troy, Ohio, where she raises Monarch butterflies and tries to live up to her dog's expectations. Some of her poems can be found on the Poetry Foundation website, and others are online.

Cathryn is always surprised when someone Googles her and asks about her poems, especially her dog poems. When people start sending her pictures of their dog “driving,” she knows that a particular poem (“The Man Next Door Is Teaching His Dog to Drive”) has been reprinted somewhere.


I Ask the Caterpillars about Meditation

The caterpillars in the garden

have eaten all of the dill and

are moving on to the parsley.

Every morning I go out to ask

if they are ready for a hand into

the future, and every morning

they reply, Just a bit longer . . .   

But nights are getting cold, and

I remind them that I've saved

a place for them to pass the winter,

suspended in chrysalis, protected

from mice and unseasonal warmth.


All I want in return is to ask

them how they fold in,

infinitely, upon themselves,

and go into a meditation so deep

that time is no longer a constant.

But mostly, I want their advice

on how to return in the spring

as a changeling, where everything

is familiar--the dizzying mix

of sun and shadow, the breeze

that stirs the linden--and yet

nothing is ever quite the same


From Cathryn Essinger:

This poem was written in early fall during the pandemic when we were all staying pretty close to home. I raise butterflies, mostly Monarchs, hoping to preserve the migration from the Midwest to Mexico. Monarchs are the only butterflies that migrate, and we are in endanger of losing the migration because we have destroyed most of the milkweed with Round Up Ready crops. Milkweed is the only plant that Monarch caterpillars can feed on. Raising butterflies mostly involves creating a space with native plants, free from pesticides and lawn chemicals. In this poem, I am actually waiting for some Black Swallowtail caterpillars to form their chrysalis for the winter. They do not migrate and are not endangered. They spend the winter in some kind of suspended state before emerging in the spring. I am offering them a safe place to overwinter once they are ready to form a chrysalis.

I have written a chapbook about raising Monarchs titled Wings, or Does the Caterpillar Dream of Flight? I donate the proceeds from this chapbook to Monarch preservation sites, such as Journey North, and to our local rehab center.

I write a lot about animals and try not to personify them too obviously. A well-known poet once told me to "never personify animals" because it would make me read like a Disney movie. I think I have spent a good part of my writing career trying to prove him wrong! I actually have a poem that addresses that up at Poetry Foundation website titled "My Dog Practices Geometry." I have not included it here because it has been reprinted quite a bit.


Louis Efron

"Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies and Power Lines"

Inspired by Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies  by Vincent Van Gogh (1887)

Louis Efron

Louis Efron is a writer and poet who has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Deronda Review, Young Ravens Literary Review, The Ravens Perch, POETiCA REViEW, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Literary Yard, New Reader Magazine, and over 100 other national and global publications. He is also the author of five books, including The Unempty Spaces Between (winner of the 2023 NYC Big Book Award for Poetry); How to Find a Job, Career and Life You Love; Purpose Meets Execution; Beyond the Ink; as well as the children’s book What Kind of Bee Can I Be?  


Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies and Power Lines

Inspired by Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies  by Vincent Van Gogh (1887)

a cloud-brushed Parisian horizon


blue-cast shadows upon a glistening

                          fragmented field of God’s once golden wheat

                                        scarlet poppies sway below

                                                     pencil-thin branches and

                                                                  buzzing threads meant

to power a village



                                            burdened broad limbs













                      p o w e r l e s s

                     to feed the dead


From Louis Efron:

I have always reveled in the beauty of nature and frequently think about how humans impact and interact with our environment and the planet. On my family's recent Denver Art Museum visit, I viewed Van Gogh’s “Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies.” I began to imagine how this exquisite painting and scene would have been impacted by the power lines we see in front of most picturesque fields today. Also, what do these poles and cables represent and provide, both good and troubling? From this, "Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies and Power Lines" was born.


Presenting a wide range of poetry with a mission to promote a love and understanding of poetry for all. We welcome submissions for compelling poetry and look forward to publishing and supporting your creative endeavors. Submissions may also be considered for the Pushcart Prize. Please review our Guidelines before submitting!

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