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Thirteen Essential Poetry Collections Publishing During National Poetry Month

When thinking of social justice work and activist writing, nonfiction is likely the first place your mind goes. Since its invention, however, poetry has been used to produce just as (if not more) political work in powerful turns-of-phrase and lyrical poignancy. From spoken word to page poetry to rap, the diversity of voices coming through modern poetry is a beacon of light in a country divided.

National Poetry Month is always a great excuse to dust off all of your favorite old collections, but this year, why not try something new? We’ve compiled a list of thirteen poetry collections coming out this April, with an emphasis on poets of color, trans poets, immigrant poets, and other marginalized voices we should be listening to now more than ever. Give one (or all of them) a try—you might just find something you never knew you needed.

Bright Advent by Robert Strong (White Pine Press, April 11, 2017)

If you’ve memorized every line to The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter but long for a more nuanced, progressive discussion of colonial narratives, this is the poetry collection you’ve been waiting for. Strong’s work brings Puritan America into the twentieth century, melding archival texts with a contemporary tone. This collection creates a dialogue around Christian conversion of the indigenous peoples of North America, looking specifically at the relationship between the Massachusett man John Sassamon and the Puritan missionary John Eliot. Strong’s poetry feels at once intensely academic and incredibly accessible.


Hard Child
by Natalie Shapero (Copper Canyon Press, April 11, 2017)

Full of laugh-out-loud bleakness and self-deprecation, Hard Child is poetry for millennials. Shapero isn’t afraid to get intensely personal as she picks apart the territory of newfound motherhood and leaving her 20s behind. In Hard Child, she expertly navigates the line between the relatable and the too-macabre. Her writing is compulsively readable, and uses gentle turn-of-phrase to build thought-provoking stanzas. In one of the most memorable and hilarious poems from Hard Child, Shapero shines a nihilistic light on personality quizzes that determine what dog or inanimate object the reader might be, saying, “Actually it’s ridiculous to opine on what kind / of a dog I would be, were I ever a dog, as I don’t / contain within me half enough life to power / a dog. I WOULD BE A DEAD DOG, THAT’S / WHAT KIND.”

In Memory of An Angel by David Shapiro (City Lights Publishers, April 11, 2017)

David Shapiro’s poetry carries with it the tone of the New York School of poets, the generation of authors who came of age in the mid-60s and 70s and were influenced both by the Beatniks of the previous generation and the surrealist movement of their visual art peers. In Memory of An Angel balances avant-garde tributes to post-modernism with retrospectives on childhood and fatherhood. There’s a surprisingly heartfelt undercurrent through all of these poems, making you wonder if this book is, perhaps, one long love poem. With a fifty-year career under his belt, Shapiro’s writing has both shaped and been shaped by decades of poets, and he’s considered something of a maestro. In Memory of An Angel is his first collection in fifteen years, so get on it.

mary wants to be a superwoman by erica lewis (Third Man Books, April 4, 2017)

mary wants to be a superwoman pays homage to the works of Stevie Wonder and the power of music to trigger certain emotions and memories. Each poem is titled after a line of a Stevie Wonder song, and while the poems aren’t directly about the songs, they’re inspired by them, written about lewis’s emotive responses and associations with listening to pop artists from her childhood. lewis’s writing puts the “stream” in stream of consciousness. Her words tumble over one another like river rapid, constantly tugging you forward into the next line, and the next, and the next. Don’t mistake her smooth flow for a lack of power though; the ease of her words only makes for a more potent punchline.

Of Mongrelitude by Julian Talamantez Brolaski (Wave Books, April 4, 2017)

Reading Brolaski is like reading the David Foster Wallace of poetry (or rather, the work of David Foster Wallace’s cooler, less-pretentious sibling). Brolaski (whose pronouns are xe/xir/xem) dumps Latin, pop culture, etymology, politics, and sex into the melting pot of the page, creating a new linguistic experiment. Xir poetry is the kind that demands to be read out loud, so you can chew on all of the gooey consonants and sticky vowels. References to the fourteenth century, words like “maiden” and “agog,” swirl in with contemporary criticisms of corporations and the gender binary. Of Mongrelitude is a poetry collection for a digital age, where memes, emojis, and abbreviations create new vernaculars on a daily basis. It’s poetry like you’ve never read poetry before.

Patient Zero by Tomás Q. Morín (Copper Canyon Press, April 4, 2017)

This collection brings a classic genre (the love poem or, more accurately, the lost-love poem) into a fresh and fanciful new light. Morín’s writing uses the mundane details of everyday life—from pretzels to geese to blues music—as a jumping off point for creating fascinating and philosophical worlds. In Patient Zero, Morín looks at love not only from the perspective of the lovers, but from the places and things that surround a life sick with heartbreak. Morín has an uncanny knack for painting a scene that is rarely seen in poetry. Once the scene is established, he uses clever wordplay to reveal layers upon layers of new meaning. It’s poetry that keeps you thinking, that makes you want to go back and re-read each line to untangle the puzzles that Morín dangles before you.

A People’s History of Chicago by Kevin Coval, foreword by Chance the Rapper (Haymarket Books, April 11, 2017)

You can’t be a fan of the Chicago poetry scene (or any poetry scene, for that matter) without knowing Kevin Coval. Founder of Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, the Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, and a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, there’s no one better to write a history of the Windy City than Coval. The book contains seventy-seven poems, one for each of the seventy-seven neighborhoods of Chicago, from the perspective of those on the margins. A People’s History of Chicago centers the often-untold histories of the city’s workers, poor people, and people of color. Coval’s poems have the flow of rap verses, and you can practically hear the thumping bassline running just beneath his wordsIn case that wasn’t enough to woo you, the foreword was written by Chancellor Bennett, a.k.a. the one, the only Chance the Rapper. A poetry book endorsed by Lil’ Chano himself? You know it’s gonna be good.


a place called No Homeland
by Kai Cheng Thom (Arsenal Pulp Press, April 11, 2017)

a place called No Homeland takes the reader on a journey through memory and mythos to draw new maps of gender, race, sexuality, and violence. Stemming from her experiences as a Chinese-Canadian trans woman, Thom uses a characteristic lyricism (whose cadence is drawn from a strong spoken-word influence) to unpack complex ideas of what exactly “home” is, particularly in queer and diasporic communities. If Thom’s name sounds familiar, it might be because her work has been published on Everyday Feminism, Buzzfeed, xoJane, and other intersectional feminist-forward corners of the internet. Thom isn’t just a poet; she’s also an essayist, a novelist, a performer, and, in general, a verified Superwoman. She’s a rising star to watch, and there’s no better starting place than a place called No Homeland.

Real is the Word They Use to Contain Us by Noah Wareness (Biblioasis, April 11, 2017)

If you’ve ever wished that Tim Burton had directed an uncanny-valley version of The Velveteen Rabbit, this is the poetry book for you. Using The Velveteen Rabbit as a jumping off point, Real is the Word They Use to Contain Us is a collection of twenty-six poems and the unbelievably weird happenings that link them. Noah Wareness’s writing is grim, gripping, and more than a little creepy in all the right ways. Real is the Word They Use to Contain Us is a trippy philosophical exploration that feels less like reading a book and more like walking right out of reality and into someone’s dreamscape. It’s a delicious celebration of loss, vertigo, and wonder that’s sure to give you goosebumps.

Reaper by Jill McDonough (Alice James Books, April 11, 2017)
If you’re looking for political poetry, stop right here. Jill McDonough’s Reaper zooms in on America’s expanding drone program and the ever-blurring line of man and machine. McDonough examines the distancing of culpability and repercussions when there’s a computer screen and a continent between you and the dead. This is not a happy book; it’s a book to make you think, to shine a light on the darker side of American politics, and the warfare we often pretend isn’t happening. She swaps out flowery imagery for repetition of sparse, to-the point poetry that hammers home her message. McDonough’s writing is gritty and unapologetic, refusing to let even the reader off the hook. It never feels like an attack, though. Instead, McDonough is simply insisting that we look at the whole picture, not just the pretty, easy parts.

A Sand Book by Ariana Reines (Fence Books, April 11, 2017)

Reines’s work is lyrical and painfully relatable, her work resonating with a generational experience in lines like “Smoking crack after yoga / Swallowing vitamins with wine.” Speaking to Reines’s cultural relevance, Lena Dunham is one of the poet’s biggest fans, having posted multiple passages of Reines’s previous books on Instagram and that her “poems sing to my whole body.” Reines is also an accomplished playwright, and her scriptwriting talents bleed into her poetry, giving her verses a conversational quality and a natural flow.

The Trembling Answers by Craig Morgan Teicher (BOA Editions, April 11, 2017)

Teicher’s poems are largely confessional and autobiographical, and The Trembling Answers is no exception; this particular volume deals with explorations of family and fatherhood, and the role his poetry plays across each. One of Teicher’s great strengths is in his honesty. He frequently reveals his flaws and mistakes to the reader, laying bare intimate details about his wife, his son, and his marriage to illustrate his very humanity. His writing is full of lists and repetition, as if Teicher is searching for answers in real-time with the reader. Each poem is meaty and sprawling, providing plenty of space for interpretation and re-interpretation.

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen (BOA Editions, April 11, 2017)

Chen Chen’s work is versatile, skillfully adapting to different forms and functions; on one page, you’ll find a traditional poem, lines grouped together in rhythmic couplets. On another, lines run together into paragraphs, blurring the difference between poetry and prose. Chen Chen’s poems are odes and elegies, considerations of everyday life. In When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, Chen Chen muses his way through the idea of inheritance (specifically, what it means to inherit things like love and family) at the center of his identity as a queer Chinese-American immigrant. American Book Award Winner Jericho Brown gave When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities his seal of approval in his introduction to the book. NPR even named this book “Poetry to Pay Attention To” in their 2017 book preview on February 8, calling it “deeply serious and moving.” Plus, who could say no to such a catchy title?

Find out where to buy these great collections and more here on the Consortium website!

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Words, Words, Words: Our Poetry Publishers on Their Favorite Poetic Lines

In case you haven’t heard, April is National Poetry Month, and today, instead of highlighting the poets behind your favorite works, we’re turning to the ones who make it all possible: the publishers.

With an inundation of social media, chapbooks, and more, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of poetry that exists. That’s when we look to the publishers – the few, the brave, the mighty, who wade through lines upon lines to raise up the best and the brightest of voices. O! Those careful curators, who show us new poetry that crackles with potential and remind us of the old favorites we hold close in times of need. We are eternally grateful to the endless hours they spend examining word after word to feed our literary souls.

We reached out to a few of those helming modern poetry publishing to find outwhat moves them? What are their favorite lines of poetry?

boa logoPeter Conners, Publisher at BOA Editions:

“I loved you before I was born.”

Li-Young Lee, The Word from His Song (BOA Editions, 2016)

BOA Editions is located in Rochester, New York. Their latest book of poetry is The Black Maria by Aracelis Girmay.

 

Chris Fischbach, Publisher at Coffee House Press:

“In the Johannesburg minescoffeehouselogo
There are 240,000 natives working.

What kind of poem
Would you make out of that?

240,000 natives working
In the Johannesburg mines.”

Langston Hughes, from the poem “Johannesburg Mines” (1928)

Coffee House Press is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their latest book of poetry is They and We Will Get Into Trouble For This by Anna Moschovakis.

 

copper canyon

Kelly Forsythe, Director of Publicity at Copper Canyon Press:

“Don’t listen to the words—

they’re only little shapes for what you’re saying,

they’re only cups if you’re thirsty, you aren’t thirsty.”

— Jean Valentine, from the poem “as with rosy steps the morn,” from Break the Glass (Copper Canyon, 2010)

Copper Canyon Press is located in Port Townsend, Washington. Their latest book of poetry is Alamo Theory by Josh Bell.

 

Rebecca Wolff, Publisher and Founder of Fence Books:fence

“Cosmic potential–and–actualization!”

Rodrigo Toscano, Explosion Rocks Springfield (Fence Books, May 2016)

Fence Books is located in Albany, New York. Their latest book of poetry is Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror 2 by Paul Legault.

 

manicdJennifer Joseph, Publisher and Founder of Manic D Press:

“It’s not how far you fall, but how you land.
Are you here for the sowing, reaping, or the dead?”

Justin Chin, from Gutted (Manic D Press, 2006)

Manic D Press is located in San Francisco, California. Their latest book of poetry is The Roots of a Thousand Embraces by Juan Felipe Hererra.

 

Brittany Dennison, Managing Editor at Wavewave Books (Seattle, Washington):

“Hell, I love everybody.”

James Tate, from Riven Doggeries (Ecco Press, 1979)

Wave Books is located in Seattle, Washington. Their latest book of poetry is Olio by Tyehimba Jess.

 

There you have it, folks. The most beloved lines of poetry from the people who’ve seen it all. Thank you, publishers, for all of your time, taste, and dedication!

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Celebrate National Poetry Month with 10 New Must-Read Collections

Only a decade ago, if someone asked you what you thought of poetry, you may have thought of dust-covered textbooks, of droning professors, and of lines that you read over and over and still were unable to fathom. Sure, there were the outliers—Plath, Neruda, Angelou. But for the most part, poetry got trapped in the Ivory Tower of Academia; where you needed at least one literature degree to be trusted (or even want) to really engage with the art.

But with the onset of the digital and information age, poetry is not only surviving, it’s thriving. Now poetry is diving headfirst into this new flood of possibilities provided by the digital revolution and the information age, and it’s flourishing. In the past few decades, poetry has evolved and diversified to the point that an art form once dominated by “old dead white guys” is now being reclaimed by poets of all identities, from all backgrounds and experiences.

In honor of National Poetry Month, and in honor of a new age of poetry by and for the people, we present to you a round-up of contemporary poets from leading independent publishers to both soothe and trouble the soul. Because, after all, as the late and great C.D. Wright once said, “Poetry is not like, it is the very lining of the inner life.”

night sky with exit1. Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press) is is Ocean Vuong’s first full-length collection. Vuong’s poems use his characteristic gentle (yet incredibly dynamic) cadence to explore the things that make us human—subjects of romance, family, memory, grief, and war. Night Sky with Exit Wounds is the kind of book that soon becomes worn with love. You will want to crease every page to come back to it, to underline every other line because each word resonates with power. Ocean Vuong is hot right now, picking up steam with a Whiting Award win, a roundup in Teen Vogue, and a recent excerpt in the T: the New York Times Style Magazine. Night Sky with Exit Wounds publishes April 5.

2. Olio (Wave Books), by Tolioyehimba Jess, is an exploration of black musicians and performers from the pre-Civil War Era to World War I. If you’ve been wanting to get into poetry but haven’t been willing to give up the power, characters, and length of a novel, Olio is the book for you. Clocking in at a whopping 256 pages, Olio sings with the same musicality it describes, from jazz and blues to work songs and church hymns, as it dissects the legacy of minstrelsy and blackface through the personas of almost a dozen artists. Olio will be published on April 5.

3. Scattering The Dark: An Anthology Oscattering the darkf Polish Women Poets (White Pine Press), edited by Karen Kovacik, is a collection of over thirty women poets writing before and after the fall of Communism in Poland. If you’re the poetry aficionado that’s read it all, Scattering the Dark is for you. The poets muse on universal topics—dreams, art, what “home” means—while revealing what it means to be both a woman and a writer in a time when both identities were practically forbidden. It’s a lyrical window into a previously unseen world. Scattering the Dark will be published on April 12.

4. The Spoons In The Grass Are There To Dig A Mspoonsoat (Sarabande Books) by Amelia Martens is a book of prose poetry that packs a mighty punch for such a slim volume (64 pages, folks). Her writing is unassuming and unpretentious as, again and again, she reaches into the mundane and pulls out the extraordinary. The Spoons in the Grass are There to Dig a Moat will be published on April 12.

the black maria5. The Black Maria (BOA Editions Ltd.) by Aracelis Girmay is a lyric of history, of heritage and violence, and of building new futures. Girmay writes unflinchingly of America’s long traditions of racism against African Americans, her poetry infused with both a slow-burning anger and the ache of longing. The crowning achievement of this book is a jaw-dropping long-form poem which weaves together stories from the youth of astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Girmay’s dreams of her own future child. In its first-ever poetry issue, O Magazine included The Black Maria in a sampling of “recently published gems of the genre.” The Black Maria will be published on April 12.

6playdead. Play Dead (Alice James Books) by francine j. harris is not for people who like to enter poetry and come out unchanged. harris’s writing is raw, gritty, and unflinching. Her words will reach into your very core as she spins together difficult and necessary lyrics with shreds of hope. Play Dead has been praised by everyone from Ross Gay, who “read these poems not knowing they were possible” to Publishers Weekly, who gave it a starred review. Play Dead will be published on April 12.

7. The Big Book Of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books) is a nbig bookew collection of poems by Jamaal May. If you know what it’s like to miss a step going down the stairs and suddenly find yourself breathless, you know what it’s like to read a book by May. You can feel May’s yearning tugging at you from the page. His poems are often narrative, but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking in subtlety and intricacy. May is a master of images, drawing new meanings with each turn of phrase. They’re the kind of poems you whisper to yourself over and over again. The Big Book of Exit Strategies will be published on April 12.

8. Out Of Print (City Liout of printghts Publishers) is the third book of poet and publisher Julien PoirierIf you’ve ever had trouble getting into poetry because it’s too stuffy and scholarly, Out of Print is the perfect solution. It’s raucous, it’s uncensored, and it puts on no airs as it tap-dances over the notion of “high-brow literature.” Out of Print draws equally from absurdism and pop-culture. Poirier’s poems will make you laugh until your stomach aches, only to suddenly pause and think, huh. Out of Print will be published on April 19.

9. New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Tatu) (Akashic Books) containew generationns eight volumes of poetry from eight different poets from across the African continent, plus an introduction by editors Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. The chapbooks work together like instruments in an orchestra, their unique tones and timbres coming together to present a work that is magnificent, both as a whole and in each part.  It is a love song, a lament, a history, a future, and a tribute to what Abani describes as Africa’s “unending lineage of light.” New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Tatu) will be published on April 19.

shallcross10. ShallCross (Copper Canyon Press) is Wright’s seventeenth volume of poetry and the first published after her passing on January 12, 2016. It’s safe to say that ShallCross is one of the most anticipated books of this year. Wright draws from journalistic techniques and filmic narratives to range across seven poetic sequences, including a collaborative suite responding to photographic documentation of murder sites in New Orleans. ShallCross will be published on April 26.

 

Technically, this title was published on March 15, but we love it so much that we couldn’t resist throwing it into the mix…

11. They And We Will Get Into Trouble For This (Coffee House Press) by Anna Moschovtheyandweakis, is a series of three long-form poems tied together by a fourth poem, which runs along the bottom of each page in the form of bracketed words and phrases strung together like a row of lanterns guiding you. Moschovakis writes with an honesty and simplicity that is at once concise and lyrical. She muses on heredity, mental health, and philosophy in a stream-of-consciousness that is impossible to look up from until you realize you’ve reached the back cover. Anna Moschovakis and her beautifully designed, beautifully written collection also made Bustle’s list of poetry collections to read for National Poetry Month, and you can get a taste of it from this poem, excerpted in BOMB.

Find out where to buy Night Sky with Exit Wounds, Olio, Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Woman Poets, The Spoons in the Grass are There to Dig a Moat, The Black Maria, Play Dead, The Big Book of Exit Strategies, Out of Print, New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Boxed Set (Tatu), Shallcross, They and We Will Get into Trouble for This, and many more books here at the Consortium website.

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BOA Editions Celebrates 40 Years!

Huge congratulations BOA_40th_Logoare in order: BOA Editions is turning 40 in 2016! Based in Rochester, New York, BOA has become a leading non-profit and independent publisher of poetry, literary fiction, and poetry-in-translation. Founded in 1976 “to give voice to important, yet underserved writers,” the press now has over 300 titles in their catalog and is one of the nation’s premier independent presses.

To celebrate BOA’s 40 years, the press has planned a year-long celebration, including being the Presenting Sponsor for the 2016 AWP Conference in Los Angeles, where they have many fun things planned including on-site readings and a reception to celebrate the 40 year anniversary.

BOA STAFF BOARD

BOA Editions’ Staff and Board. William J. Ingalls. © 2014 All Rights Reserved.

Peter Conners, publisher at BOA, was recently recognized in Publisher’s Weekly Star Watch because of his innovation and dedication, a timely honor to match BOA’s 40th celebration. Thanks to a dollar-for-dollar challenge grant from the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, BOA is kicking of “40 for 40,” in which $40,000 will be used to celebrate BOA’s 40 years in the industry, while another $40,000 will be provided to ensure the press’ financial stability for the next 40 years. In addition, the University of Rochester has acquired the press’ archives from 2006-2016, creating the “largest repository of BOA materials.” Conners said that given BOA’s place in “Rochester’s cultural history” and the University of Rochester’s “status as a venerable institution of higher learning,” he couldn’t be happier with the partnership.

As icing on the cake, many of BOA’s titles and authors have recently won prestigious awards. The poetry collection The End of Pink by Kathryn Nurenberger was chosen for the 2015 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the work of psychological fiction  Bridge by Robert Thomas won the 2015 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction.

Conners summed up BOA’s exciting milestone: “We will celebrate BOA’s past, work to ensure its future, and celebrate the artistic and communicative power of the written word.”

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Akashic Books, BOA Editions, and Sarabande Books Make Publisher Weekly’s Star Watch 2015!

StarWatchGet ready to break out the confetti, because the honorees and finalists for Publisher Weekly‘s inaugural “Star Watch 2015” were announced on September 11! A huge congratulations to Peter Conners at BOA editions and Kristen Radtke at Sarabande Books for making the honoree list, and to Ibrahim Ahmad at Akashic Books for being a finalist! The program “recognizes young publishing professionals who have distinguished themselves as future leaders of the industry.” Star Watch was created in collaboration with the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the 4o honorees—which includes four finalists and one “superstar”—were chosen from over 250 nominees and selected by a panel of judges from the Association of American Publishers, the American Booksellers Association, the Frankfurt Book fair, and industry consultant Richard Nash. As Publishers Weekly boasts, the honorees and finalists “represent every part of the book ecosystem: booksellers, designers, digital specialists, editors, and publicists. They sell and publish a variety of formats across all categories and genres, from literary fiction to romance, picture books to academic tomes, and comics to classics.” Publishers Weekly briefly highlighted the achievements of each honoree and winner, including quotes from peers.

PeterConners

Peter Conners. Photo credit: Ashleigh Deskins

Star Watch noted Peter Conners‘ talent for nurturing great writers and his successful fundraising pursuits among other achievements. Melissa Hall, the development director at BOA Editions, said “Peter Conners’ star has been on a meteoric rise, and his success in all aspects of American publishing deserves to be celebrated.” BOA Editions is a nonprofit press that publishes poetry and other genres, as they “foster readership and appreciation of contemporary literature.”

Kristen Radtke, the managing editor at Sarabande Books, has elevated the press in terms of visibility and sales while also “revamping” the way they design and market thsarabande-bookseir titles. Kristen Miller—director of operations and outreach at Sarabande Books—said of Radtke: “…when I hear fears about the end of books or the demise of the publishing industry, I know that as long as we have people like Kristen—with her limitless drive, her vision, her unyielding forward momentum, and lack of complacency—these fears are unfounded.” As Publishers Weekly said in their write-up, “Sarabande is a small house that is dedicated to underrepresented genres: poetry, short fiction, and essays,” and it is thanks to people like Radtke that Sarabande is so successful with these titles.

Ibrahim-Ahmad

Ibrahim Ahmad

Ibrahim Ahmad of Akashic Books was named one of four finalists, because of his fearlessness in publishing innovative works and trying new things. Now the senior editor at Akashic, Ahmad started at the press as an intern. He was new in the publishing industry and relied on his instincts as a reader, a philosophy that has continued to serve him and the company well. Publisher and editor-in-chief Johnny Temple said “equally comfortable championing everything from literary writers from the Middle East to hip-hop literature… Ahmad’s tastes wholly reflect the smart eclecticism that has come to define our list.” Temple sums it up, saying that Ahmad “has indelibly shaped Akashic Books into the thriving press it is today.”

Star Watch is a fresh program that celebrates the achievements of the tireless individuals behind important presses. The 40 honorees and finalists were honored in New York City at a party on September 16, and the “superstar” Helen Yentus—art director at New York City’s Riverhead Books—will be going on an all expenses paid trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. Congratulations to all!

 

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BOA Editions and Open Letter Books Publishers Chat about Small Presses on WXXI Public Radio

“Reading is sexy” isn’t often heard, especially in today’s modern age of celebrity gossip and mind-numbing television programming, but thanks to the efforts of small presses and the luminous work they produce, reading poetry and literature is getting sexy. In “Connections,” a podcast put out by WXXI Public Radio in Rochester, NY, in celebration of their summer book week, two CBSD publishers, Peter Connors of BOA Editions and Chad Post of Open Letter Books, sit down and discuss their publishing philosophy and how small presses fit into the larger industry and the future of publishing. Though Rochester is not widely considered to be a literary hub, these local editors and publishers show how small presses can make a big difference in the publishing world and perpetuate the idea that “people who read are sexy.”

Both publishers aim toOpenLetterBooks produce quality, honest, and enriching work, while providing authors with a home in which they can flourish and expand. Post focused on how the works of translation that Open Letter Books publishes fit into the larger scheme of publishing. Even though three percent of all published works are works in translation, Open Letter Books is a key player in this number and is working on increasing the statistic to provide more English readers with works of literature from around the world.

Peter Connors passionately stated “without small presses, these writers have nowherBOAEditionse to go… presses are where the art is.” While there are misconceptions surrounding the profitability of small and non-profit presses, Chad Post argued that if attention is paid to the balance between grants, donations, and sales, small presses with a focus towards the art of the written word can be just as profitable as larger organizations. Amidst the wails that publishing is dying, BOA Editions and Open Letter Books illustrate just how successful and important small presses are, as they give authors a home and consumers smart works of literature and poetry that not only entertain, but also, according to these publishers, increase sex appeal.

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Bookslinger Update: “Telephone Call”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

9781938160240This week’s story comes from Jewelry Box: A Collection of Histories, by Aurelie Sheehan, published by BOA Editions Ltd. Straddling memoir and fiction, these 68 short works explore the nuances of sexuality, motherhood, love, ambition, and personal history. Like Lydia Davis, Aurelie Sheehan’s stories are potent miniatures that blossom out from seemingly insignificant encounters and objects. Jewelry Box is a collection of intimate renderings of the life that surrounds us, just under the surface.

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