The Cincinnati Review features a special section for the winners of the Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in prose and poetry. There is no commentary on the pieces, so you'll have to figure out why they won for yourself! Here is the opening of each:
Karrie Higgins's "The Bottle City of God"
My first summer in Zion, the Mormons deliver a latter-day miracle.
A grasshopper plague is encroaching on a town somewhere out there in the vast Utah emptiness, on the other side of the Great Salt Lake: two thousand grasshopper eggs to the square foot, little exoskeletons bursting into being from thin air, like popcorn kernels on a hot burner.
Local News Channel 4 bears witness: Every ten years, the grasshoppers come. Like clockwork.
As an outsider, a Gentile, I have made this reporter my hierophant. The Mormons have their Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and I have a newsman. I never watched local news before moving here.
The plague is supposed to happen.
Backyards are popcorn machines, pop, pop, pop.
Insecticide has failed us.
Martha Silano's "The World"
The world so big, so big and beyond, tumbleweed so turbulent in the wind,
the cormorants of the world so sunning themselves on shit-stained piers.
World a big son with his big-boy accretion, his magnesium need
for the screen, for his Xbox lithosphere. The world and the calderas
of the world and the peaks of the world with their toothsome fissures
toppling the calm. The world with its spiral notebook of incomprehensible