Elf NYC vs. Elf MFA

By Danny Collier

Prompt, by Matt Perez: Write the two Pushcart poetry nominations from the Peg & Hammer, the number one literary magazine of Santa's (artsiest and perhaps most disgruntled) elves.

Here at the pole we may be far away from the larger enclaves of writers but we are not isolated from the writing life. As we labor surrounded by tinsel and wood shavings, we too feel the burden of striving to achieve both artistry and authenticity. And so, The Peg & Hammer is proud to nominate for the Pushcart Prize two poems which highlight this struggle.

Shelf an Elf, by Grungelwort McSparkles

We had a school. It fucked sailors

and ran art galleries

and drank too much

and died famous.

I took drugs and I wrote this poem.

It's about you, not me.

So when I write "I"

I mean "you"

so when you see "you"

or when you read "we"

think of me

and my sailors

drinking and fucking

in a display case

in our famous museum.

Grungelwort McSparkles recently returned from several years in Brooklyn, New York, USA, where he held jobs including shoe salesman, book shop clerk, environmental business consultant, and head shop manager. He maintains the ecommerce portion of our web site and designed our new line of eCigarettes. His work has appeared in The Peg & Hammer, The Cobbler's Cretins, and Burlhouse. Watch for his crypto-memoir, "The Grit & Me," due out in May 2016 from The Peg & Hammer Press.

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After Christmas, by Humblebug Krinkelbells

It's never daylight.

Snow on snow on snow.

Maybe we'll survive

if we can forbid

the phrase, "I think

there's more to say here."

Elf by elf we drift

back to the workshop.

Humblebug Krinkelbells earned his MFA at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, USA. A regular contributor to The Peg & Hammer, he manages the assembly lines for our therapy dolls and tactile feedback fidget toys. The Peg & Hammer press is proud to announce the release of his libretto for the opera "The Jinglebell Tolls for Thee," the story of a misunderstood elf genius who just won't stop saving Christmas.

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The Peg & Hammer is published online monthly and in print annually. We are currently accepting submissions for next year's print edition. The theme will be dismemberment.


Danny Collier earned an MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University. He created the ongoing web project, An Abbreviated Family Dictionary. His writing has appeared in Everyday Genius, Barrelhouse, Kill Author and The Northville Review. He helps out an unpublished poetry manuscript by typing up its tweets.