What’s It Like to Get Nominated for a Pushcart Prize? Terry Tierney Shares His Experience
Terry Tierney Nominated for The Pushcart Prize
Diane Swan Interviews Terry Tierney for the Details
The Poet’s Garage by Terry Tierney was released in May of this year by Unsolicited Press and in November of 2020 was nominated for a Pushcart Prize: The Best of the Small Presses! Our newsletter editor Diane Swan probed Terry and he was happy to shares all the details on how one gets nominated for this prestigious prize.
What Is the Pushcart Prize?
The Pushcart Prize was established in 1976 to direct focus on small presses and literary magazines. Several famous authors who praise Pushcart Press include Mary Karr, Joyce Carol Oates, T. C. Boyle, Billy Collins.
How Did Terry Get Nominated for a Pushcart Prize?
Each year a little magazine or small book press can nominate six of their authors. This is what Unsolicited Press says about the process: “Nominating books for awards is really hard. Every book we publish has meaning and is an important member of the book world. And having to select a handful is like asking our editors to choose their favorite child.
Nevertheless, it must be done. This year we made nominations based on sales and heart, with heart leading the way. This year is about the authors and books that garnered notice without having to scream from the mountaintops. These books worked for themselves.”
When Did He Find Out?
Unsolicited Press emailed Terry of their intent earlier this year, but they did not formally announce the nominations until November. “I was overwhelmed to hear that I was nominated for a Pushcart prize!”
Who is Unsolicited Press?
Terry found Unsolicited Press a few years ago when, after assembling several of his poems for a chapbook, he realized he had enough for a full-length manuscript. Of the three publishers he approached, he was most taken by Unsolicited Press and their slogan: No Bullshit, Just Books. Unsolicited Press was founded in 2012 and is based in Portland, OR. The press strives to produce exceptional works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from award-winning authors. Unsolicited Press was the first to respond to Terry and he received the news while attending the Kansas State Fair with his wife. Overcome with emotion, Terry was glad he did not know anyone else at the fair. He says they are a fantastic publisher to work with over the two-year publishing process.
Unsolicited Press is clearly impressed with Terry as they are publishing his novel Lucky Ride, due out in fall of 2021. Terry’s “irreverent Vietnam-era road novel” tells the story of a Vietnam vet who hitchhikes across the country having a series of adventures and mishaps as he tries to come to terms with his marriage. The first chapter is available now.
Behind the Scenes
Getting published in journals is a very good experience. Terry advises writers to keep trying for publication as the feedback and experience are worthwhile. When your work is published in a journal, that adds heft to your submissions to other publications. Two-thirds of the poems in his collection The Poet’s Garage were previously published.
Ideas often come to Terry at night or during his early morning walks with the dog. Poetry is his primary form and he works on his pieces for weeks before they are finished. Sometimes he’ll use a prompt to get him started and by the time he’s finished, the piece might not have anything to do with the prompt. Ideas also come from something he’s read or stumbled upon.
Terry is an active member of CWC-BB and currently serves as secretary.
What does Terry hope to gain from this exposure?
Terry has no illusions of becoming famous or rich but like most authors, he wants the exposure of his work, for the enjoyment of his readers. Terry’s next book is a series of linked stories loosely based on people just getting by living in upstate New York. “Fiction is defined by your characters, and the characters that showed up in the first story had legs, so more stories flowed from there into a collection.” Terry plans to submit this manuscript to publishers this spring. Selection is a competitive process and he hopes Unsolicited Press chooses this manuscript as they are a strong publisher he likes working with.
We are So Proud of all CWC Members Nominated for the Pushcart Prize
CWC-BB members Henry Hitz and Sheryl Bize-Boutte have also received Pushcart Prize nominations in the recent past. Hope to see them and you at our Winter Social December 19th.
Diane Swan has been journaling and writing poetry, short stories, and vignettes all her life. In 2020 she completed the first draft of her memoir and is working towards a polished manuscript in 2022. Diane is the president of the Oakland-Piedmont branch of AAUW, American Association of University Women, and she writes a monthly newsletter column. As an active member of CWC, she chairs the newsletter committee. She has a degree in English Lit from Dominican University.
Yoga is her passionate pastime, along with writing, reading, cooking, socializing, and grabbing snatches of dialog overhead from walks around Lake Merritt.