Infante's Inferno - The Pushcart Prize vs. The Internet: A Primer
Jun. 29th, 2012
07:39 pm - The Pushcart Prize vs. The Internet: A Primer
It was the barf heard round the World, or at least around Facebook and Twitter. In the introduction to the 2012 Pushcart Prize anthology, publisher Bill Henderson wrote:
I have long railed against the e-book and instant Internet publication as damaging to writers. Instant anything is dangerous—great writing takes time. You should long to be as good as John Milton and Reynolds Price, not just barf into the electronic void.
Which, of course, caused a bit of a stir among electronic publications, with some deciding to abandon the Pushcart Prize, and others deciding to stick around and fight. Here's pretty much the key blog posts in the discussion.
Luna Park was probably the first to comment on the Pushcart introduction, responding with the sympathetic but concerned, "Is Something Missing from the Pushcart Prize?"
Then, things got serious, when in reaction to Henderson's remarks, Fox Chase Review declared, "We Will No Longer Nominate to The Pushcart Prize." This one went everywhere, and was the one that got people talking.
November Sky Poetry responded with, "Publish online and kiss your Pushcart goodbye." PoetCore responded to Fox Chase's walking away from the Pushcarts with "Why Does Pushcart Hate the Internet?"
Meanwhile, a number of us who edit and publish online literary journals were seriously considering following Fox Chase's lead. Indeed, I'm sure a few will, although I've found no real public declarations to that effect. Sometimes folks just leave quietly, without making a scene.
My style, of course, is to stay and make a scene anyway, which is what I did with "They Got the Guns, But we Got the Numbers: Why Radius Will Continue to Submit to the Pushcart Prize." Staying wasn't an easy decision. A lot of my instincts were screaming to chuck it all, but you know ... I've been finding myself on the opposite side of these "Establishment vs. X" squabbles for 20 years now, and I'm a little tired of it all. Anyway, it's all in the essay. And I mean it's all in the essay.
Most recently, the extremely talented Leslie McGrath has waded into the kerfuffle over at the Best American Poetry blog, where she's got a few words to say in defense of electronic publishing in, "Tart Pie Filling: The Pushcart Prize and Online Literary Magazines."
And that's about where we stand, although I suspect we've far from heard the last on the subject.