One of the best parts about my job as the editor of Farmer-ish is celebrating beautiful writing at the end of the year with our Pushcart Prize nominations. One of the most difficult parts of my job as the editor of Farmer-ish is deciding upon just six pieces to nominate to this prestigious award.
In 2022, Farmer-ish received over 900 submissions. Between our online issues and our print annual, we published about 85 original works. There are many independent presses who nominate to the Pushcart Prize, but each journal who nominates their best works has already made a series of difficult decisions in selecting works for the Pushcart nominations. Because of this, each journal’s nominations give us an opportunity to pause and celebrate good writing–and opportunities to celebrate good writing should never be missed.
Therefore, it is my great honor to present the 2022 Pushcart Prize nominations from Farmer-ish journal. We have curated a special issue of the journal to celebrate these brilliant authors, as some of these works have appeared in our print annual and were not available online previously.
Please join me in honoring these talented authors and their beautiful work. These works will make you think, make you cry, and make you feel connected. I know you will enjoy these, and I hope you will check out our free online journal and consider supporting independent publishing by purchasing our print annual.
Winter Song (essay) by Sarah Kilch Gaffney
“I will look back at the garden beds buried in snow and dream about the flowers and vegetables to come. And, when I can, in the quiet of the winter light I will try to honor my lungs taking in the cold air and, in turn, transforming it into life and breath.”
Another Harvest (essay) by Stephanie Gross
“It’s all ephemeral, we are all headed home, and don’t think you are any different. Why get all melancholy as if you matter more than the bugs and birds and squirrels? Just get your nest ready for winter, and, if you’re lucky, go plant a fall garden and hope for yet another harvest.”
Wild Organic Apples (essay) by Natalie Tomlin
“Thoreau had no barrels or scales, nor a camera for seasonally appropriate photo shoots. “Let the most beautiful or the swiftest have it. That should be the “going” price of apples,” he said. And while his experience with apples was so different from my own, I related to his romance with apples—and also his sadness. “The era of the Wild Apple will soon be past,” he said. “It is a fruit which will probably become extinct in New England.” I wondered if the same would happen with organic orchards. In the meantime, I decided to follow Thoreau’s lead, seeing apple picking as both a utility and something to become immersed in.”
Puberty, the Apocalypse, and a Garden (essay) by Sofia Ali-Khan
“Many of these I hide in our meals: butternut squash and zucchini are baked in, or fried in chickpea flour, tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic go into sauce. Kale is frozen and crumbled into everything, all year long. It’s the love I return to the children, hidden, subtle, when there is nothing comforting left to speak. Or when I am afraid to say: This world is beyond me, too. I tell them we will all return to the arms of the Beloved. That whatever pain and confusion there is in this life will be straightened, reckoned, justified until we are transcendent, celestial.”
The Dirt (poem) by Heather Chandler
“and I realize / that I will only know this land / when my worn-out body rests / within her womb, / as she comforts me, when I sob into her core, ‘I’ve wasted it.'”
Take Me to Church: A Farm Prayer (essay) by Katharyn Privett-Duren
“The first time I saw what reverence felt like in a garden was on the face of a barn cat. The corn had just taken off, leaning into each other’s stalks as if to create a forest against the winds of summer and the unnecessary (at least, in this case) native bees. As I rounded the rows, twisting the lines that would hold my blue flint corn in place, there he stood: head up, eyes closed, paws perfectly snuggled against the scraggle of corn root and hay. It was the undeniable posture of prayer.”
photo credit: Annie Spatt, Unsplash