Press 53

A sit-down-chat-loving publisher of short fiction and poetry collections, located in Winston-Salem, NC.

53-Word Story Contest Winner (March): Tom Fugalli

Congratulations to Tom, whose story “The Main Thing Is” was chosen by guest judge Roy Kesey as last month’s winner! The story will appear in a forthcoming issue of Prime Number Magazine, and Tom also wins the Press 53 book of his choice. Read the winning story, below.

The Main Thing Is

 Who the goddamn mail is from and why. What they don’t tell you is that one day the night arrives like a black velvet box with a feline figurine inside; onyx body and moonstone eyes. At least, that’s how it is when you stop expecting an answer. By the way, don’t open it. 

53-Word Story Contest with Prime Number Magazine: April

                 

This month’s guest judge is Dave ClapperDave Clapper is the Founding Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly and the Artistic Director of Interrobang?! Improv.

Dave’s prompt: Write a 53-word story set in a carnival.

Guidelines and Information

-53 words—no more, no less—titles are not included in the word count.

-1 submission per person.

-e-mail your submission directly to 53wordstory@press53.com by 5 PM Wednesday, April 30th Eastern Standard Time. The winner will be announced on May 14th.

-Each quarter, Prime Number Magazine, Press 53’s online literary journal, comes out with a new issue. All winning 53-word stories will be published in the journal!

-The 53-Word Story App is now available for download in the Android App Store (it’s called 53Words)! For those with other smart devices, check out the web app (developed by Daniel Krawiec) at 53wordstory.com

53-Word Story Contest Winner (February): Allan Moye

Congratulations to Allan Moyé, whose story “Looking Up” was chosen by guest judge Clifford Garstang as last month’s winner! Allan wins the Press 53 book of his choice, and his story will be published in Prime Number Magazine. Read the winning story, below.

Looking Up

It is usually a face.  When I drink too much it is Penelope who left crying with the iron still plugged in.  Sometimes it’s my old man who said I would amount to nothing. When I’m with Lola, sweet Lola from the far side of town, that ceiling stain is a palm tree.

53-Word Story Contest with Prime Number Magazine: March

                         

This month’s guest judge is Roy Kesey! Roy Kesey’s latest books are the short story collection Any Deadly Thing (Dzanc Books 2013) and the novel Pacazo (Jonathan Cape/Random House 2012). His other books include the short story collection All Over, the novella Nothing in the World, and two historical guidebooks. He has received an NEA creative writing fellowship, the Paula Anderson Book Award, and the Bullfight Media Little Book Award. His short stories, essays, translations and poems have appeared in more than a hundred magazines and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and New Sudden Fiction.

Roy’s prompt: Write a 53-word story involving minor gemstones.

Guidelines and Information

-53 words—no more, no less—titles are not included in the word count.

-1 submission per person.

-e-mail your submission directly to 53wordstory@press53.com by 5 PM Monday, March 31st Eastern Standard Time. The winner will be announced on April 14th.

-Each quarter, Prime Number Magazine, Press 53’s online literary journal, comes out with a new issue. All winning 53-word stories will be published in the journal!

-The 53-Word Story App is now available for download in the Android App Store (it’s called 53Words)! For those with other smart devices, check out the web app (developed by Daniel Krawiec) at 53wordstory.com

53-Word Story Contest Winner (January): Anthony Cote

Congratulations to Anthony, whose story “We’ll Go Out” was chosen by guest judge Myfanwy Collins as last month’s winner! Anthony wins the Press 53 book of his choice, and his story will appear in a forthcoming issue of Prime Number Magazine.

We’ll Go Out

We lay awake at night under the boughs. The two of us slick from the heat. She tells me morning comes just after them birds rush out from under that piano. We’ll hear their wings crack and the hammers hitting the strings while our eyes are still closed. We’ll go out after them.

Poetry Wednesday

This Wednesday, take a break from the monotony and read a poem by Carmen Calatayud, taken from her collection In the Company of Spirits.

Dinner for Two

If you were alive

in my soup,

I would eat you.

Scoop you to my lips

with a silver spoon

and suck you

through my teeth.

 

I’m rude and loud,

just like you left me:

Howling like a manic coyote

underneath a broken moon,

even in this restaurant.

My tongue clicks

like castanets.

Still can’t take me

anywhere.

 

Damn this hot sauce choke

and the tears that coat my throat.

Nothing can rescue my taste buds.

They blazed away with you.

 

If I could slide you

down my esophagus,

I would. I’d beg you

to warm my belly

and never excrete

yourself again.

Spotlight on Prime Number Magazine

Issue 47 of Prime Number Magazine is now live! Read a poem by Stephen S. Power below, and find two more of his poems, plus the rest of the issue, here.

Witch of the Pines

Witch of the Pines put on her rabbit cloak
and fastly hopped down a near fingerboard.
A man with blue hands there was waiting for
her Bill to either put him in an oak
or see him render up her gold-filled poke.
He fared as well as those who’d tried before.
She darted from the braken and restored
herself with just a pinch of blue-white smoke.
He knowed her and looked set in sugar sand
until she pled, “You take my cloak instead.”
Now feeling pretty middling smart, he said,
“I will.” He put it on and was unmanned.
That’s when Bill shewed. He shot the rabbit true
and gave it to her proudly for a stew.

53-Word Story Contest with Prime Number Magazine: February

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This month’s prompt comes from Prime Number Magazine editor-in-chief Clifford Garstang! Clifford Garstang is the author of In an Uncharted Country and What the Zhang Boys Know (Winner of the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction).

Cliff’s prompt: Write a 53-word story involving a palm tree.

Guidelines and Information

-53 words—no more, no less—titles are not included in the word count.

-1 submission per person.

-e-mail your submission directly to 53wordstory@press53.com by 5 PM Friday, February 28th Eastern Standard Time. The winner will be announced on March 14th.

-Each quarter, Prime Number Magazine, Press 53’s online literary journal, comes out with a new issue. All winning 53-word stories will be published in the journal!

-The 53-Word Story App is now available for download in the Android App Store (it’s called 53Words)! For those with other smart devices, check out the web app (developed by Daniel Krawiec) at 53wordstory.com

5 Questions, 3 Facts

As a welcome back from the long weekend, here’s an interview with poet John Thomas York, author of the collection Cold Spring Rising. He talks to us about what drew him to poetry and his fondness for cows, among other things, below.

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P53: When is the first time you can remember wanting to be a poet?

JTY: First, I wanted to be a rock star. My cousins and I had a basement band—nobody had a garage—and I knew that self-respecting rock stars all wrote their own songs. I played the guitar but, when I sang, I couldn’t carry a tune, so I tended to forget whatever tune I thought I made up. But I had notebooks full of lyrics. And then I discovered e. e. cummings, who appealed to my rock ‘n’ roll, anti-establishment mentality, and I started writing poems. When an English teacher named Hayes McNeill, at Starmount High School in Yadkin County, published my early efforts, I saw my name in print, and I was hooked.

P53: What are the biggest non-literary influences on your work?

JTY: My biggest non-literary influences would have to be cows, especially Holsteins. We had a herd of thirty-five when I was a lad. They ate grass, chewed their cuds, and then, presto, a white abundance. I am also fond of mountains.

P53: How do you deal with writer’s block? 

JTY: I find an old poem that I didn’t finish. I unpack it and let it unravel in the wind. Then, I try to catch it.

P53: Drink of choice?

JTY: Filtered water.

P53: What’s the longest amount of time you’ve spent working on a single line of  poetry?

JTY: I have no idea.

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Three Facts About John:

1. When I was a boy, I had a German shepherd named Thor. He was afraid of thunder.

2. My wife and three daughters are all musicians. They laugh at me when I try to sing.

3. Before I die, I would like to to go some remote place, free of all lights but supplied with an abundance of potable water, some place where I can really see the Milky Way at night.