The GS 2020 Pushcart Prize Nominees

We are honored to be able to nominate the following 6 pieces for a Pushcart Prize this year, all of which can be found in our sole 2020 issue, issue 11!

“Higher! Higher!” by Ellen Rhudy

“Brainchild” by Cheryl Clark Vermeulen

“Spacesuit, or Learning How to Float Through Public Space” by Alan Chazaro

“True Owl” by Brendan Curtinrich

“How a Person Becomes a Body” by Paula Marafino Bernett

“After Ariana Grande” by Amy Zimmerman

Image that looks sort of 80s in pink, black, and white, reiterating the information already on this page: the winners' names and works' names.

Teen Sequins 2020, Day 5: Heather Laurel Jensen, age 18

 Elegy Apologizing in Hindsight
  

 I hear:  July will bring the second coming,
               monsoon season, and a stock market crash. 
               Each light on the water tower will blink
               and then strobe. A cougar will sleep 
               under my trampoline for weeks. Dogs 
               will break into every antique shop and
              devour fine china. From there the moon will roll 
              across a cliff and crush the nearest mobile home.
  
 Today they are dredging my best friend’s body from the lake.
 She is wrapped in pink tarp and identifiable
 by her ponytail. The edges of each day are ochre and 
 pulling up at the corners like linoleum. Occasionally 
 when I take a shower, there is vomit already 
 in the bathtub. I should not be here,
  
 not like this. Three weeks ago we were kneeling
 at the gulf of a psych ward, with my hands 
 pressing a Ziploc to her nose and mouth in lieu
 of a paper bag. In hindsight,
             
             I am not even 
             an effective attempt at
             a solution. A threat is
             still a threat when
             you pretend it’s benign.
             Sorrow is still sorrow
             with my headphones in. Her grief
             was still grief when I 
             avoided it. In the future,
             I hope to be unafraid
  
 of asking questions. Her parents will join
 a nunnery. The lake will drain
 through a metal slit in the earth. Her old
 things will appear on every subway 
 in the world. In hindsight, I will look for
 the cliff crumbs in the cuffs of her jeans. In
 hindsight, I will call the hospital and tell them 
 her name. 



Heather Laurel Jensen is a freshman at the University of Arizona. She served as National Student Poet of the Southwest in 2018 and is currently co-president of Creative Youth of Arizona, an organization that administers the Phoenix Youth Poet Laureate program and develops creative opportunities for young Arizonans. Her poetry, short stories, and photography have been published by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, diode poetry journal, and the Live Poets Society of New Jersey, among others.

Teen Sequins 2020, Day 4: Jaewon Chang, Age 17

 Silent Adieu
  
 Each day is a land silently waiting
 to be unmasked. This evening,
  
 I’ll find the revolver wrenched
 in my father's closet. The barrel
  
 seems to extend longer than
 the time it allows for farewells.
  
 Sometimes, I wonder if holes are made
 easier during the night. That a trigger
  
 soiled with daylight might be easier
 to unroll. I’m gripping the gun, but
  
 dawn is only as bright as we wish
 to call it. Perhaps, the frail body
  
 lying against the front porch isn’t
 as scary at night. Soon, I’ll bend down
  
 and recognize his face, like a bullet
 waiting before it begins to whisper. 

Jaewon Chang is a high school junior living in the Philippines. His works have been recognized by the Scholastics Art and Writing awards on a national level and he is a Foyle Young Poet. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cleaver Magazine, Austin International Poetry Festival Youth Anthology, National Poetry Writing Month Anthology (2020), Ilanot Review, Bitter Oleander Press, and elsewhere. During his free time, Jaewon enjoys traveling the city on foot.

TEEN SEQUINS 2020 starts TOMORROW!

Greetings readers! Starting tomorrow, during the course of this week, you will find a new poem here by a writer ages 14-18 that we find exemplary, provocative, astonishing, heart-shaking, sobering, consoling, and inspiring. But first, importantly, I offer a deep and grand and full thanks to all who submitted to TEEN SEQUINS 2020. Before our feature begins, we list below the names of those not chosen this year under the designation of Honorable Mention. What does it mean to receive an “Honorable Mention”? It means: We hear you, we see you, we can’t wait to see where you’ll go next.

Honorable mentions, age 14 : Sami Azfar, Sabrina Guo, Daniel Kim, Sophia Liu, and Julie Rhree.

Honorable Mentions, age 15: Mofi Awoluyi, Megan Balents, Paul “Brooks” Balkan, Esrael Bennett, Dani Brown, Amanda Cooper, Leah Este, Samantha Hsiung, Yong-Yu Huang, Kiara Korten, Garcy LoCicero, Emma Miao, Brooke Nind, Natalia Roman, Anita Rose, Katherine Wei, Olivia Yang, Jeffery Xu, and Kevin Zhu

Honorable Mentions, age 16: Miriam Alex, Ana Carpenter, Loralei Cook, Melody Choi, Ishika Dube, Lydia Engel, Aanika Eragam, Jack Goodman, Simone Graziano, David Han, Connie Huang, Yong-Yu Huang, Tina Huang, Hope Juarez, Jasmine Kapadia, Jessica Kim, Sophia Lee, Robin Lim, Laura Ma, Sadie Maw, Uma Menon, Gaia Rajan, Macie Richardson, Geneva Singleton, Pandora Schoen, Devanshee Srivastava, Elizabeth Shvarts, Matthew Tengtratool, Yvanna Vien Tica, and Alexander Zera

Honorable Mentions, age 17: Mariel Almazan, Kruti Abhyankar, Oluwatimileyin Akande, Senya Borovikov, Rachel Brooks, Annie Cao, Jolin Chan, Spencer Chang, Sung Cho, Yasmine Chokrane, Julia Do, Charlotte Edward, Idiris Egal, Jude Ehmka, Nathaniel Eisert, Priyanka Gupta, Lina Hergli, Charlotte Hughes, Jack Kerins, Esther Kim, Tyler King, Irma Kiss-Baráth, Divyasri Krishnan, Matan Kruskal, Anne Kwok, Sarah Lao, Julie Larick, Olivia Lee, Emily Liu, Qianhui Ma, Courtney McDermott, Divya Mehrish, M.M. Odom, Helena Muñoz, Kanchan Naik, Brandon Nesmith, Elizabeth Newsom, Willa Potter, Taylor Richter, Grace Song, Katie Turk, Aditi Raju, Alexa Theofandis, Elyse Thomas, Yeonwoo Son, Sarah Street, Esther Sun, Sam Rhee, Lauren von Aspen, Arden Yum, Amy Zhou, and Serrina Zou.

Honorable Mentions, Age 18: Lukas Bacho, Samuel Bennie, Stephanie Chang, Katie Garrett, Vera Hadzic, Heather Jensen, Tasneem Maher, Mariana Kovalik Silva, Lydia von Hof, Maggie Wang, Rachel Lin Wheeler, and Lauren Young.

Follow along with us this week for TEEN SEQUINS 2020 to discover great poems, and keep your eye out in the days and weeks and years to come for ALL of these poets we’ve named above. The future is theirs.

With great sincerity, 
Sophie Klahr 
     ~ Teen Sequins editor

Transmissions from a Teen Sequin: Daniel Blokh, feat. 2015, at age 14

I admit – I miss the days of Teen Sequins. I was in junior high at a magnet art school, but as much fun as I had writing short stories to share with my classmates, my true, secret passion was for poetry. At that age I was privately discovering the possibilities of unrhymed poetry for the first time, constantly both dazzled and bewildered by the strangeness of the work I ran into on The Poetry Foundation. The only way I knew how to deal with this feeling of fervent engagement was to write my own poems. I would read, be stricken with an idea, and run with it – not because I wanted recognition or publication or a book deal, but out of necessity. I didn’t know how else to deal with my excitement about words.

I submitted to Teen Sequins at my friend Katy Hargett’s suggestion, expecting no result. When I found out that my work would be featured, I honestly didn’t know quite what that meant. I Googled my judges and read their work, and then I read the work of my fellow winners, and then I read the other poems published in Gigantic Sequins. I found new poets to admire — not the famous and established PoetryFoundation.org authors, not the “top ten experimental poets” search results, not the 8th grade English class curriculum classics, but fresh voices like mine finding their own ideas and running wild with them. The recognition Gigantic Sequins exposed me to was delightfully validating, but the way it influenced me most was by exposing me to all the presses, zines, chapbooks, and poets I’m still exploring. 

When I say I miss Teen Sequins, I mean I miss that leap. I miss the realization that I’m not alone, like walking around a beautiful but overgrown path all alone and suddenly emerging from the brush to encounter a huge crowd of friendly travelers walking the same road, inviting me to join them. I miss that sudden understanding that my work was wanted, that poetry was wanted. When I realized that, I found my notebook, bought a new pen, and I wrote and wrote for years. 

 


 

  • Daniel Blokh is an 18-year-old American-Jewish writer with Russian immigrant parents, currently attending Yale University. He was one of the 5 National Student Poets for 2018, representing the Southeast region. He is the author of the memoir In Migration (BAM! Publishing 2016), the chapbook Grimmening (forthcoming from Diode Editions), and the chapbook Holding Myself Hostage In The Kitchen (Lit City Press 2017). His work has won 1st in the Princeton High School Poetry Competition and has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Adroit Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, Permafrost, Blueshift, Cleaver, Gigantic Sequins, and more. He’s bad at taking naps, which sucks, because he really needs a nap right now.

GS 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominations

“Being the Murdered Bride” by Cathy Ulrich (10.1, fiction)

“I enjoy finding so much hair” by Rachel J. Bennett (10.1, poetry)

“Feather Rousing” by Rebecca Meacham (10.1, creative non-fiction)

Lauren T. Yates “Origin Story” (10.2, poetry)

Brody Parrish Craig “The Shape I’m In” (10.2, poetry)

“Liesl: A Cartography” by Pete Segall (10.2, fiction)

8th Annual Summer Contest Results!

8th Annual Poetry Contest Finalists & Winner

“Pelt” by Clare Welsh – finalist
“Of The Macho” by Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith – finalist
“When I Say Love I Mean El Greco’s The Assumption of the Virgin” by Sara Quinn Rivara – finalist
“Foreplay” by Samuel Piccone – finalist
“My Mania as an Alaskan Summer” by Zackary Medlin – finalist
“LOVE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE” by Rachel Harkai – finalist
“I Have Not Taken Proper Advantage of Scorpio Season” by Lauren Eggert-Crowe – finalist
“I wish all children could touch the sky at least once” by Kayleb Rae Candrilli – winner, selected by Marwa Helal

8th Annual Flash Fiction Contest Finalists & Winner

“Take Their Body” by Jen Cox-Shah – winner, selected by Imogen Binnie
“Higher! Higher!” by Ellen Rhudy – finalist
“A Hundred Small Lessons” by Daniel Goff – finalist
“The Name of Death is—a Fungus—Girdle—Chitin Teeth—the Graying Valley” by Ashely Adams – finalist
“Climate Change” by Epiphany Ferrell – finalist

 

 

Our 10.1 Contributors!

The GS squad is happy to announce the work we’ll be publishing in GS 10.1!

ART BY…

Best of Math Class and Scott Minzy

POETRY BY…

Thea Anderson, Rachel J. Bennett, Derek Berry, Stephen Brown, Dorothy Chan, Joshua Clayton, Chelsea B. DesAutels, jayy dodd, Kari Ann Ebert, Joseph M. Gerace, Shelby Handler, Len Lawson, and Jacob Nantz

FICTION BY…

Julia Coursey, Ben Gitkind, Cathy Ulrich, and Zach VandeZande

CREATIVE NONFICTION BY…

Rebecca Meacham and Judy T. Oldfield

 

 

 

GS 7th Annual Summer Contest Results!

Thanks to our judges & all who entered. Here are the results!

POETRY

“Maadulampazham (In Which Her Daughter Hears the Diagnosis).” by Kari Ann Ebert, winner selected by celeste doaks
Annotations for [Redacted] Elegy” by Derek Berry, finalist
“An Oral History of a City Destroyed by Fire” by Kitt Keller, finalist
“IF I WERE ANY MORE AMBIDEXTROUS I’D SLAP MY OWN ASS LEFT HANDED” by Zachery Elbourne, finalist
“Passed Down on Slow Hands” by Claire Fallon, finalist
“Portrait of George Stinney, Jr, as Police Report and Trial” by Len Lawson, finalist

FLASH FICTION

“The Collectors” by Julia Coursey – winner, chosen by Rachel B. Glaser
“Evolution” Katheryn McMahon, finalist
“Father’s” by Zach VandeZande, finalist
“My Fake Brother” by Leonora Desar, finalist
“The Murderous History of Tumbleweeds” by David Drury, finalist
“Timber” by Christopher Linforth, finalist
“Walks Like a Lion” by Nancy Au, finalist

TEEN SEQUINS 2018! Day 3: Sophie Paquette, Age 16

What is an exclamation point? An action. What are many exclamation points? A revolution. Sophie Paquette’s poem is a refusal, a feminist text, where exclamation points fly after every almost thought and phrase. In short, Paquette uses the exclamation point to punch the patriarchy in the throat. She uses it as a middle finger, a protest sign. But the exclamation point is also a cut here, a strain, taking the grammar of online marketing and struggling to bend it.  “o shattering prism of clicks!” writes Paquette, “o country of hands!” If we are to do right by Paquette, we will share, re-post, and re-tweet this poem, a sign to the patriarchy that says “teenage girls! know! what you’re trying to pull!” We will work to help clearing a path for any teenager being patronized, even if we just begin by hitting “like.”  — Sophie Klahr

 

for the ad on my browser reading tragic girl’s life could have been saved by this new safety device!

 

tragic girl clickbait!

catfish!

receives dick pic with a smile!

spits in a bottle for you to wear round your neck! so this thirstiest part of her always hang close to your chest!

tragic girl cartoned milk! best used 7 days after opening! best used to wash down something else sweeter! sits in your mouth to silence the aftertaste of another! suckle tragic girl for strength! while she refills herself! again & again!

tragic girl marketing scheme! paid display advertising! purchase with a single click! tragic girl wants to help get you off! the couch to buy something!

tragic girl shapes her body into any role she is given! tragic pixie wet dream! plays love interest! plays some kind of instrument! only so you can lay naked & beg! tragic girl play me like your—!

tragic girl grew up ugly! tragic girl grew! once! not anymore!

tragic girl exactly how you like her! not child! not woman! not alive! not dead! could have been saved! but the body still warm enough to touch! tragic girl could have been! an artist! a writer! a person! but what makes her tragic then! how could you swallow her! without spitting out! could you! could have! could have tragic girl! preserved forever! while you sit with this new safety! device & its saved lives! the flood of voices still trailing behind! tragic girl & all her undead sisters! so you feel holy for hearing them! gracious for wanting them! hero for imagining their revival! divine for sculpting all of their hypothetical lives from soft clay! or software! somewhere tragic girl sings her praise & I wonder

if she feels it! o shattering prism of clicks! o country of hands! these many glowing screens! a million fingers! pressing down

 

 

 

Sophie Paquette is a poet and essayist from Bloomington, Indiana. She attends Interlochen Arts Academy, where she serves as an editor for The Interlochen Review. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Heavy Feather Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Midwestern Gothic, The Offing, and others.

 
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Olivia Bigboy (St.Huberts HS, Philadelphia, PA); Olivia Campbell (Methuen HS, Methuen, MA); Laila Hamer (Woddbridge Senior HS, Woddbridge, VA); Madison Vogt (Bentonville HS, Rogers, AR); Ian Jacome (Miami Arts Charter, Doral, FL); Ashlyn Langford (Timber Creek HS, Keller, TX); Katerina Drogojevic (Rome Free Academy, Rome, NY); Haley Fisher (Woodlands Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada); Foster Hudson (Little Red Elizabeth Irwin, New York, NY); Eliza Durbin (Newton Country Day School, Boston, MA); Ellis McGinley (Capitol Theater Magnet HS, Millimantic, CT); Lily Krug (NYC iSchool, New York, NY); Sylvan Lebrun (The American School in Japan, Tokyo, Japan); Yoonjin Lim (Northfield Mount Hermon School, Mount Hermon, MA); Matthew Capone (Westwood HS, Westwood, MA); Lacie Minton (Hibriten HS, Lenoir, NC); Alison Child (Mountain Vista HS Highlands Ranch, CO); Claire Shang (Hunter College HS, NYC, NY); Stephanie Chang (Richmond Christian Secondary School, Richmond, BC, Canada); Helen Graham (Harvard-Westlake, Los Angeles, CA); Helen Quian (Richard Montgomery HS, Rockville, MD); Anjini Grover (Adlai E. Stevenson HS, Buffalo Grove, IL); Allison Armijo (El Segundo HS, El Segundo, CA); Adam Zhou (International School Manila, Taguig, the Philippines); Priya Rinkus (Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, Rumson, NJ); Akhila Bandlora (BASIS Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ); Rebecca Oet (Hathaway Brown, Shaker Heights, OH); Jessica XU (Haynes Academy, Metairie, LA); Grace Wang (Columbus North HS, Columbus, IN); Sandra Chen (Amador Valley HS, Pleasanton, CA); Margaret Balich (Winchester Thurston, Pittsburgh, PA); Hannah Crowley (Marblehead HS, Marblehead, MA); Star Bullen Crowe (Brooklyn HS of The Arts, Brooklyn, NY); Samantha Grace Dell’Imperio (Eastchester HS, Scarsdale, NY); Yerin Chang (Lower Moreland HS, Huntingdon Valley, PA)