Pushcart Prize Nominations

We’re pleased to say that we’re nominating for the Pushcart Prize starting this year. Each year, mags/presses are allowed to nominate 6 works. Two issues fall within the calendar year (SW #002 and the forthcoming Epistolary), so we’ve chosen a few from each. Our envelope of nominations is on its way to be added to the list, and we look forward to the press’ decision. Winners, as chosen by Pushcart, will printed in the Best of the Small Presses anthology.

Our 6 nominations are as follows:

Creative Nonfiction

“Mulberries” by Dustin Parsons, from SW#002.
“A Letter of Love and Betrayal” by Meg Tuite, from Epistolary.


“Everything Afterwards Had Been” by Anna King, from SW#002.
“Letter to Virginia” by Lori Brack, from Epistolary.
“Retired Freedom Fighter Responds to Her Lover’s Marriage Proposal” by Emily Rose Cole, from Epistolary.
“Dearest Eli” by Sarah McCartt-Jackson, from Epistolary.

In honor of the PP noms, we’ve decided to tweet 140 (or fewer) characters from each of the contributors in SW#002. From now to 14 December, you’ll find little snippets of poetry & prose in our sweet little feed.


Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Anna King Ivey

Today’s Q&A is with Anna King Ivey, a contributor of poetry to the second issue of Sugared Water.

Anna Ivey is working on a PhD in poetry at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her most recent publications have been featured in Antithesis, Stone Highway Review, West Trade, and White Stag literary magazines. She lives in McDonough, Georgia with her husband Chad and her daughter Aralyn. Anna and Chad make soy candles for fun and attempt to sell them.

a little taste of “Everything Afterwards Had Beenfrom SW#002:

After the girl becomes an inspector she learns the whereabouts of symptoms painted with lightning. After the girl becomes an inspector she jettisons the cobblestones lodged in her grief. After the girl becomes an inspector she finally sees that no diagnosis is without new respective parameters of love…

SW: What are you currently reading?
AI: I am working on Fearless by Eric Blehm–it’s the story of Navy SEAL Adam Brown. I don’t usually read a lot of non-fiction, but a family member recommended the work after the piece became inspirational to him during recovery from drug addiction. Right before that I read Cane River by Lalita Tademy, which I loved.

SW: What are you working on now?
AI: I am toying with my third manuscript. I’m about halfway finished with it, but have been focusing more so on trying to publish my finished pieces instead of producing new material. My first manuscript is still looking for a publishing home which I know is out there somewhere.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
AI: Sylvia Plath is my favorite, as is the little-known Greek poet George Seferis. I also really enjoy Wallace Stevens. The fiction works that have really moved me are Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, even though it’s very controversial in the academic community. I love Mythology by Edith Hamilton, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
AI: I am very moved by travel, though I don’t get to do so as often as I like. Usually having some quiet gives me the peace to begin processing all that I observe and what moves me from those observations. For a long time I wrote about my own grief of losing people I loved, but now instead of writing about what is past, I write about where I am in the present and all of the horrid, lovely accessories that come with it.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
AI: I usually start with a word or a phrase in mind, usually something that is visual. Sometimes unusual words, or words I like, will be enough to begin a poem. I have become a predominately prose poet, so I have to find a balance between poetic language that bends towards the surreal and the imaginary and still ground it enough to be in some kind of reality. I’ve grown a lot since entering my PhD program at Georgia State University and thank everyone who has gone through workshop with me and had to say, “Uh, I have no idea what this means?”

SW: With what are you obsessed?
AI: Right now, it’s trying to publish my book! I’m also really working on incorporating the idea of Lord of the Rings, Third Eye Blind, Garth Brooks, and being a newly-wed into my newest project. Oh, and Crossfit! I am an avid Crossfit gymgoer, and I’m completely obsessed with my local gym, Crossfit Pulse.

Anna King Ivey | SW#002

Sweet Creative Nonfiction: Q&A with Dustin Parsons

Today’s Q&A is with Dustin Parsons, a contributor of creative nonfiction to issue #002 of Sugared Water.

Dustin Parsons has work appearing recently in New Delta Review, DIAGRAM, The Collagist, Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, Sugared Water, and Seneca Review. He lives in Western New York with his wife and two sons.

a little taste of “Transmissionfrom SW#002:

We decide that the best way is to drop the transmission onto my dad’s chest and let him hold it there while I replace the seal. We could have found some padding, I suppose, an old mattress or the seat to a ’56 Willys sitting in his shop, but this seems faster and, besides, we’ll have a man who has his ass behind the weight when it’s time to put the transmission back. He lowers it as slowly as he can, but it plants itself on his sternum like a funnel cloud kissing ground.

SW: What are you currently reading?
DP: Mathew Gavin Frank’s Preparing the Ghost, a beautiful lyric book-length essay about his search for information regarding the man who took the first photo of a giant squid. Run, don’t walk to this book. I also just finished Hum by Jamaal May which was fantastic.

SW: What are you working on now?
DP: I’ve been researching the 80s oil boom and the early 90s movement by several southwest Kansas counties to secede from the rest of the state. This was happening just as I was graduating from high school and contemplating my own exodus from the state.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
DP: Theresa Cha’s Dictee is a real inspiration for my own work, as is William H. Gass’s Omensetter’s Luck. They are both books I read nearly every year.

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
DP: I look to my own experiences, but often the best inspiration comes from my own research on the more obscure elements of a memory I’m working through on the page. My essay on the mulberry tree that appeared in this magazine was profoundly affected by the bit of information I found that said the pollen of a mulberry tree is released at half the speed of sound. First, it sounded so cool, and it ended up not only being the first line, but also dictated the breathless, fast form of the essay. There is no substitute for research–it is the information you don’t know about an experience that holds most of the power in an essay. Imagine how excited you were when you found out something you didn’t know–that excitement translates to the reader.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
DP: With kids, the writing process is a bit more fast and loose than it used to be. An hour or two after the boys go down to bed. Twenty minutes reading through a paragraph when they are eating lunch. I write at a desk only once in every three sessions. I wrote my most recent essay in the waiting room of the Honda dealership getting my car’s oil changed. I’m back to pen and paper for the first time since I was in grad school. There are so many drafts I don’t bother counting. Each one shifts one small degree, but you put enough of them together and suddenly the essay isn’t what you thought it would be any more. I love seeing the first draft in my notebook, and comparing it to the final draft.

SW: With what are you obsessed?
DP: Right now, the way images and text work together to create meaning. I finished Joe Sacco’s Palestine recently, and was totally sold on the graphic essay. I’ve been looking through public domain images of schematics, diagrams, and “exploded view” catalogues of machinery, and adding essays to them. The exchange is fascinating, even when it doesn’t work.

Dustin Parsons | blog | SW#002

Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Jessica Bixel

Today’s Q&A is with Jessica Bixel, a contributor of poetry to issues #001 & #002 of Sugared Water.

Jessica Bixel edits Rufous City Review with some of her favorite pals. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Birdfeast, Parcel, Houseguest Magazine, Lines + Stars, District Lit, Handsome, Sink Review, Leveler, and Transom Journal.

a little taste of “The Sister and Other Inventionsfrom SW#002:

I am calling myself magpie, lilac,
moon in a ravine before a river.
Lighthouse. I do this for you,
of course.

SW: What are you working on now?
JB: A silly novel. A series of poems about fire and loss and mothers. Letter writing.

SW: What writers have inspired you?
JB: Larissa Szporluk and Jennifer Chang, both stunning poets and stunning humans alike. Joshua Poteat. Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Allison Titus.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
JB: I read somewhere the following: I’m very tolerant of stillness. I’d rather not move my hands just to move them. I’ll wait for the right thing. I hope I’m not misquoting. But I’ve come to tolerate spending more time not writing than writing. My process starts with a long stretch of silence, of listening, of (sometimes frustrating) stillness. But the wait, when I find the right thing, is worth it.

Jessica Bixel | web | SW#001 | SW#002