Pushcart Prize Nominee: Kat Hellen

Along with publishing emerging writers, one of the public roles and great pleasures of an independent, small literary journal is to nominate individual poems, essays, and stories for awards like the Pushcart Prize. This is one more way to say “thank you,” to the hard working writers, without whom LPR wouldn’t exist. These nominations also require renewed attention to the craft and presence of the pieces LPR publishes, and often that attention is rewarded with renewed joy.

Nine Circles

The boy heard
ringing in his ears

that left a hole
in her thigh
the size
of a button.

It bled in her hand
into the patterned sofa he hid under
and he ran

feet loco-moting
like the Road Runner from Coyote.
River Street retreated

into bars and liquor stores.
He turned the block
nine times or more
before

Miss Geneva called him in
her tiny kitchen
gave him lemonade, said:
“Don’t be afraid, Jabo.
Your momma and your daddy
just don’t see things quite the same.”

About the author: Kathleen Hellen is the author of the collection Umberto’s Night, winner of the Jean Feldman Poetry Prize, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Letters and Commentary, Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Nation, North American Review, Poetry Daily, Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, the Sewanee Review, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere. Recipient of the Thomas Merton poetry prize, the H.O.W. Journal poetry prize, the Washington Square Review Poetry Prize, and twice nominated for the Pushcart, she teaches in Baltimore. This poem appeared in Little Patuxent Review’s Winter 2012 Social Justice issue.

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Pushcart Prize Nominee: Myra Sklarew

Along with publishing emerging writers, one of the public roles and great pleasures of an independent, small literary journal is to nominate individual poems, essays, and stories for awards like the Pushcart Prize. This is one more way to say “thank you,” to the hard working writers, without whom LPR wouldn’t exist. These nominations also require renewed attention to the craft and presence of the pieces LPR publishes, and often that attention is rewarded with renewed joy.

Myra Sklarew was profiled by Lalita Noronha in the Winter 2014 Science Issue. Then-editor Laura Shovan reads this poem at the Winter 2014 issue launch.

The Sunflowers of Umbertide

Before I go into the dark places, before I enter
the tunnel of the past, before I climb down
into the pit where I kneel on the earth,
where those I once loved leave me a remnant
of bone, before their lost names scatter
to the wind, before the trees forget what they witness,
before for no reason at all a child is taken
from life, before before . . .

I stand in Umbertide

where the sunflowers turn their bountiful heads
eastward, their buds still in circadian rhythm.
And I am warmed by them, my eyes fill
with their seeds and petals, florets in perfect spirals,
their golden offerings risen high on their stems.
I carry them in my arms, the entire field of sunflowers
from Umbertide, so the coldness of the pit
in the cold country will not freeze me entirely.

Order your own copy of the Winter 2014 Science Issue.