The Barthelme Prize for Short Prose

Congratulations to the winner and honorable mentions for the 2019 Barthelme Prize, judged by Ben Marcus!

2019 Winner:
"How it Was for Walt Whitman" by Bennet Bergman

Honorable Mentions:
"Deep Clean" by Michael Holt
"Gossip, with Headless Body" by Stanley Delgado

Ben Marcus, on the winner: 
“How it Was for Walt Whitman” cautions us that “to name a thing is to do it such damage,” and manages, through precision and poetry and elusive insights, to show that attentive and detailed prose like this can, for the moment, do something far better than mere naming. In just a short page, we travel through a life and feel its sheer strangeness, longing, and sorrow, and if we are unmoored from the facts of this life, then we are all the more receptive to its subtle, astral signs. This prose captures the true interior of experience.

Bennet Bergman, winner of the 2019 Barthelme Prize, is a poet. His work has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Electric Literature. He’s currently completing an MFA at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. 

Stanley Delgado is an honorable mention for the 2019 Barthelme Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glimmer Train, Puerto del Sol, Paper Darts, Mud Season Review, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. He lives and works in Los Angeles, where he is currently finishing his BA.

Michael Holt is an honorable mention for the 2019 Barthelme Prize. His writing has appeared in Fence, Conjunctions, The Rupture, The Threepenny Review, and DIAGRAM. He grew up in Seattle, and currently lives in San Francisco.


Thanks to everyone who submitted to the 2019 Barthelme Prize! The winner and honorable mentions will appear in the print edition of Gulf Coast 32.2, available Spring 2020.