Two Virginia Tech faculty members are winners of the 2015 Pushcart Prize, awarded annually since 1976 to honor authors and small publishing houses.
Bob Hicok, associate professor of English, was recognized for his poem “Why We Must Support PBS.” Matthew Vollmer, assistant professor of English and director of the undergraduate creative writing program, was honored for his essay “For Beds.”
Their works are included in “Pushcart Prize XXXIX: Best of the Small Presses,” released in November 2014.
Hicok’s poem was published in the magazine Field in 2014 and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by the magazine’s staff. Hicok is a seven-time Pushcart honoree and has been a poetry editor for the anthology.
“One of the earliest memories I have of reading contemporary poetry is wandering through the library and pulling a Pushcart off the shelf,” Hicok said. “It's the major literary anthology. I am thrilled to be part of its editorial history.”
Besides his Pushcart honors, Hicok has been published eight times in “Best American Poetry,” an anthology established in 1988. He has won a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt national award for poetry.
Vollmer’s essay “For Beds” first appeared in the Web edition of New Orleans Review. Vollmer was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Virginia Tech Professor Edward C. Falco and by the editor of New Orleans Review.
“This is my first Pushcart Prize, and it feels totally surreal to have been selected to share space in an anthology packed with such a number of astounding writers,” Vollmer said. A second work by Vollmer, an essay titled “This I Believe,” received a Pushcart honorable mention.
“For Beds” is among works from more than 60 authors that Vollmer edited for a collection titled “A Book of Uncommon Prayer,” forthcoming this spring from Outpost 19, an independent press based in San Francisco.
Established in 1972, Pushcart Press is a publishing house best known for its awards program and the annual anthology. It has been cited by Publishers Weekly and the National Book Critics Circle as one of the most influential U.S. publishers.