Prime Number Magazine
is a publication of 
Press 53
PO Box 30314,
Winston-Salem NC 27130

ISSN 2160-4207
Welcome to Issue No. 53 of Prime Number: 
A Journal of Distinctive Poetry & Prose
Letter from the Editor (or jump to the Table of Contents)

Dear Readers,

It's time for another issue! And we think it's a good one. As Publisher Kevin Watson says in his letter above, to celebrate this milestone--Issue 53, the end of our 4th year of publishing Prime Number Magazine--we've given you an enlarged issue--more fiction, more poetry, more essays, more reviews.

To see work from previous issues, check out the Archives, or order Editors' Selections Volumes 1, 2  and 3, shipping now from Press 53. These three volumes are beautiful books and contain some excellent poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Plus, Volume 3 has an interview with Pam Houston that you won't find anywhere else.

We are currently reading submissions for Issue 53 updates, Issue 59, and beyond. Please visit our Submit page and send us your distinctive poetry and prose. We’re looking for flash fiction and nonfiction up to 750 words, stories and essays up to 5,000 words, poems, book reviews, craft essays, short drama, ideas for interviews, and cover art that reflects the number of a particular issue. If we’ve had to decline your submission, please forgive us and try again!

And as we begin our fifth year, we're making a few staff changes. Jon Chopan, who has been Nonfiction Editor for the past year, shifts to take over the duties of Fiction Editor. And we'd like to welcome Amy Monticello, our new Nonfiction Editor. (I'll be remaining with the magazine as Editor in Chief.)

A number of readers have asked how they might comment on the work they read in the magazine. We’ll look into adding that feature in the future. In the meantime if you are moved to comment I would encourage you to send us an email ( and we’ll pass your thoughts along to the contributors. Similarly, if you are a publisher and would like to send us ARCs for us to consider for reviews, please contact us at the above email address. We’re especially interested in reviewing new, recent, or overlooked books from small presses.

One more thing: Prime Number Magazine is published by Press 53, a terrific small press helping to keep literature alive. Please support independent presses and bookstores.

Clifford Garstang

Stephanie Carpenter
Priming the Crop

Stan Lee Werlin

Perle Besserman

Kimmo Rosenthal
Reading Murnane at 4AM (The Consolation of Possibility)

C.L. Bledsoe
If Two of Them Are Dead

Andrea Lewis
Thinks Like the Color of the Sky

J.T. Townley

Katie Darby Mullins
How to Listen to Otis Redding After Your Husband Leaves


B.J. Hollars
Blood Feathers

Donna Steiner
The Science of Light

Katie Ray
A Friendship


Mark Jay Brewin
Five Cigarettes
Mix-tape (#3) with the One I've Played Too Much

Kathryn Stripling Byer
Literary Conventions
And So On
Winter Kitchen

Lauren Camp
My Ever-loving Heart
The Night Clouds Wrestled the Sky

Faith Holsaert
Snow Day

Simon Perchik
5 Poems
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Issue 53, April-June 2014
New Poetry and Flash Fiction every month between issues. Sign up for our updates and we'll let you know. 

Prime Decimals 53.2

Prime Decimals 53.3 is now live!
Table of Contents, Prime Number Magazine
Issue 53, April-June 2014
Prime Number Magazine is a publication of Press 53, PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130

Available now:
Prime Number Magazine, Editors' Selections Volumes 1, 2 and 3.
Learn more...

Kim Church
Review of Elaine Neil Orr's A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa

Curtis Smith
Review of Terence Hawkins's  American Neolithic

Catherine Prescott
Review of Catherine Staples's The Rattling Window


Kim Church
Interview with Elaine Neil Orr

Curtis Smith
Interview with Terence Hawkins

Enter the 53-Word Story Contest—for free!
A new contest every month: Details


Dear Readers,

As the publisher of Prime Number Magazine, and founder of Press 53, I asked editor Clifford Garstang if I could write the introduction for Issue 53, which is a landmark issue for a couple of reasons. First, and obviously, it is Issue 53, a number that I have considered lucky since childhood and a number that has proven to be lucky into adulthood. When asked, “Why 53?” I tell a very long story, which leaves anyone who asked wishing he or she hadn’t. So I will just say here: “I liked the way it looked and felt. And I figured that the odds of someone also having my lucky number decreased if it were two digits.” (I would like to note that I chose 53 a couple of years before Disney bestowed it on Herbie, that cute little Volkswagen Beetle in Herbie the Love Bug.)

The other reason this is a landmark issue is that it marks the completion of Prime Number Magazine’s fourth year of publication. From the beginning we wanted Prime Number Magazine to be a fun and rewarding experience for readers and writers. We publish the magazine quarterly, and every three or four weeks we publish new prose and poetry as “Prime Decimals,” which is our way of adding new content to the current issue so our readers don’t go into withdrawal between quarterly issues.

What began as an idea that Cliff brought up while we drove between bookstores in North Carolina about four and a half years ago, has now become one of the finest literary magazines published today, featuring works ranging from widely published, award-winning authors and poets to those who are publishing for the first time. 

A prime number is a number that is divisible only by one and itself, so with Prime Number Magazine we strive to publish writing that is unique, individualistic, and exceptional. Cliff and his editors, Valerie Nieman (Poetry), Jon Chopan (Nonfiction), and Brandon D. Shuler (Book Reviews), look for writing that takes them along new paths and brings to them fresh perspectives; writing that engages their senses, emotions, and minds in new ways, which we all hope will deliver the same experience to our readers. And in this issue, our editors have doubled the experience with almost twice the content we normally publish.

I raise my virtual glass of Pinot Noir to Issue 53 of Prime Number Magazine, to Clifford Garstang for his leadership and vision, to Valerie, Jon, and Brandon, for their valuable contributions, to Press 53 Fiction Editor Christine Norris for managing our free, monthly 53-Word Story Contest, to all our writers for trusting us with their words, and to you, our readers, for letting us know that you share our love for distinctive prose and poetry. Cheers!

Kevin Morgan Watson, Publisher