Alice James Books

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Alice James Books
Parent company University of Maine at Farmington
Founded 1973
Founder Patricia Cumming, Marjorie Fletcher, Lee Rudolph, Ron Schreiber, Betsy Sholl, Cornelia Veenendaal, and Jean Pedrick
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Farmington, Maine
Distribution Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, Small Press Distribution
Publication types Books
Official website www.alicejamesbooks.org

Alice James Books is an American non-profit poetry press located in Farmington, Maine and affiliated with the University of Maine at Farmington.

History and mission[edit]

"Alice James Books was founded [as a co-operative press, in Cambridge, MA] in 1973 by five women and two men: Patricia Cumming, Marjorie Fletcher, Lee Rudolph, Ron Schreiber, Betsy Sholl, Cornelia Veenendaal, and Jean Pedrick. The intent was to provide women with a greater representation in literature and involve the writer in the publishing process. While this may seem unbelievable today, in the 1970s women writers had a very difficult time being published. Recognizing this dire need, Alice James Books was established."[1] Maine Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl shared her memory of being a founding member of the press in an interview: "The experience of starting the press from the ground up, she says, was a heady one, not least because the organization put a special emphasis on publishing poetry written by women. 'There really were attitudes that made it hard for women to publish,' Sholl says. 'There weren't a lot of women being published, and male editors tended to be pretty disdainful.' "[2] The press is named for Alice James (sister of novelist Henry James and philosopher William James), whose fine journal and gift for writing were unrecognized within her lifetime. The mission of Alice James Books, a cooperative poetry press, is to seek out and publish the best contemporary poetry by both established and beginning poets, with particular emphasis on involving poets in the publishing process.

Notable authors and honors[edit]

Notable poets published by Alice James Books include Cynthia Cruz, Jane Kenyon, Donald Revell, Jean Valentine, David Kirby, Cole Swensen, Brian Turner, Robin Becker, Frank X. Gaspar, Mary Szybist, Forrest Hamer, Sarah Manguso, Kazim Ali, Ellen Doré Watson, Fanny Howe, B.H. Fairchild and Matthea Harvey. Authors have been recipients of the Witter Bynner Award,[3] American Book Award, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Norma Farber First Book Award, the Arthur Rense Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the William Carlos Williams Award, The Nation/Discovery Prize, The Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, Whiting Writer's Award, Guggenheim Fellowships, NEA fellowships, and many other honors. Alice James Books titles have been reviewed in The New York Times Sunday Book Review,[4][5][6] The New Yorker,[7] ALA Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, and many other publications. Alice James Books itself has been featured in such magazines as Ms, Poets & Writers, Publishers Weekly,[8] Slate, and Poetry Daily.

Manuscript selection and awards[edit]

"The cooperative selects manuscripts for publication through both regional and national competitions. Awards given by Alice James Books include the Beatrice Hawley Award and the Kinereth Gensler Awards. The Kinereth Gensler Awards are open to residents of New England, New York and New Jersey, and the Beatrice Hawley Award is open to all residents of the U.S. Winners of the Kinereth Gensler Awards become active cooperative members, judging future contests and participating in editorial and executive decisions. The Beatrice Hawley Award does not carry a cooperative work commitment."[9] Awards given by AJB soon will include The Kundiman Poetry Prize, for a first or second book by an Asian American poet. The prize is being co-sponsored by Kundiman (nonprofit organization).[10][11]

Affiliation and funding[edit]

Since 1994, the press has been affiliated with the University of Maine at Farmington,[12] and offers a publishing internship program for UMF students which offers the students work experience and education, and provides the press with assistance.[13] [14] The press has received funding from the Maine Arts Commission, as well as receiving funding from UMF and the National Endowment for the Arts,[15] private foundations, and individuals.[16]

References[edit]

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