Our Story

Fostering readership and appreciation of contemporary literature.

Mission Statement: BOA Editions, Ltd., a not-for-profit publisher of poetry and other literary works, fosters readership and appreciation of contemporary literature. By identifying, cultivating, and publishing both new and established poets and selecting authors of unique literary talent, BOA brings high quality literature to the public. Support for this effort comes from the sale of its publications, grant funding, and private donations.

History: Founded in 1976 by the late poet, editor, and translator A. Poulin, Jr., BOA has published more than 300 books of American poetry, poetry-in-translation, and short fiction. The first publication bearing the BOA imprint was The Fuhrer Bunker: A Cycle of Poems in Progress by W. D. Snodgrass. The Fuhrer Bunker received tremendous critical attention and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, optioned for the stage by Joseph Papp, and produced by Wynn Handman for The American Place Theater.

In 1984, BOA published Carolyn Kizer's Yin, a collection of poems that had been turned down by nearly every major publishing house. Yin won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1985. One year later, BOA published Rose by Li-Young Lee, who at that time was an unknown poet. He went on to publish four more books with BOA, and his poetry is currently taught in many university courses.

Lucille Clifton is another prominent poet on BOA's roster. Ms. Clifton was awarded the 2010 Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement posthumously from the Poetry Society of America, and was the 2007 recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from The Poetry Foundation. In 2000, she won the National Book Award for Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000. Two of her BOA poetry collections, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 and Next: New Poems, were chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988; she was the first author to have two books of poetry chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize within the same year. The Terrible Stories was a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award. In 2012, BOA published The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010, the culmination of the revered poet's 40-year career, combining all of Lucille Clifton’s published collections with 69 previously unpublished poems.

Initiated in 2007, BOA's American Reader Series has published more than 20 fiction collections. These short story collections feature voices more concerned with the artfulness of their writing than the twists and turns of plot, and have gone on to bring new and important attention to this underserved literary genre.

BOA Editions is the recipient of a 2001 New York State Governor's Arts Award for overall artistic excellence, the only New York State not-for-profit literary publisher to receive such an honor.

Funding: BOA's annual budget exceeds $300,000. Revenue from book sales and copyright permissions make up about 40% of the budget; grants, donations, and fundraising events are the source of the balance. As a 501(c)(3) organization, BOA receives regular assistance from the New York State Council on the Arts Literature Program; the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Program; the Lannan Foundation; the Sonia Raiziss Giop Charitable Foundation; the Mary S. Mulligan Charitable Trust; the County of Monroe, NY; the Rochester Area Community Foundation; the Ames-Amzalak Memorial Trust in memory of Henry Ames, Semon Amzalak and Dan Amzalak; the Steeple-Jack Fund, and individuals nationwide.

Community Outreach: BOA annually donates hundreds of books to institutions that lack the funding to purchase poetry books for the adults and youths they serve. These organizations include senior centers, hospitals, libraries, schools, Native American reservations, and YMCAs. BOA also collaborates with museums, schools, bookstores, libraries, and other arts organizations to schedule BOA authors for readings. 

In collaboration with other non-profit organizations, BOA often donates books for silent auctions or other fundraising programs.

Awards & Distinctions: Since its inception, BOA has published poets from diverse cultural and aesthetic backgrounds. Many of these writers have been recognized for their achievements. Below is a partial list of awards:

  • The 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Carolyn Kizer, Yin
  • 2009 Lois Roth Award for a Translation of a Literary Work. Adonis, Mihyar of Damascus, His Songs
  • 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Lucille Clifton
  • Kate Tufts Discovery Award. 2008, Janice N. Harrington, Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone
  • 2007 Maine Literary Award Winner for Poetry. Richard Foerster, The Burning of Troy
  • Northern California Award for Poetry in Translation 2007. Ko Un, Flowers of A Moment
  • The National Book Award for Poetry. Lucille Clifton, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988 - 2000
  • The Lenore Marshall / The Nation Prize. John Logan, The Bridge of Change
  • Lamont Poetry Selection from the Academy of American Poets. Li-Young Lee, The City in Which I Love You
  • Lamont Poetry Selection from the Academy of American Poets. Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Song
  • Great Lakes Writers Association New Writers Award. William B. Patrick, Roxa
  • Great Lakes Writers Association New Writers Award. Kim Addonizio, The Philosopher's Club
  • The Minnesota Book Award for Poetry. Barton Sutter The Book of Names: New and Selected Poems
  • The Colorado Book Award for Poetry. Mark Irwin, White City
  • The Small Press Book Award for Poetry from Small Press Magazine. William Heyen, Crazy Horse in Stillness
  • The Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award. Li-Young Lee, Rose
  • The William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, Li-Young Lee, Book of My Nights
  • The Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from The Academy of American Poets. W. D. Snodgrass, Selected Translations
  • Louis Simpson's The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems 1940-2001 was a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry and a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize
  • Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dorianne Laux, What We Carry
  • Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry. Kim Addonizio, Tell Me
  • Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry. Lucille Clifton, The Terrible Stories. Ms. Clifton is also the only poet ever to have two poetry collections cited as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in a single year: Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969 - 1980 and Next: New Poems
  • Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard
  • Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry. Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard
  • Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard
  • Colorado Book Award in Poetry. Mark Irwin, Bright Hunger
  • Finalist for the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award. Naomi Shihab Nye, Transfer
  • The 2011 Best Translated Book Award. Ales Steger, The Book of Things
  • The 2011 AATSEL 2011 Best Literary Translation into English Award. Ales Steger, The Book of Things
  • Finalist for the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Aracelis Girmay, Kingdom Animalia
  • Honorable Mention for the 2012 Arab American Book Award. Naomi Shihab Nye, Transfer
  • The 2012 Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry. Barbara Jane Reyes, Diwata
  • Finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Bruce Beasley, Theophobia
  • Finalist for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award, Sohrab Sepehri, The Oasis of Now
  • The 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry. Lucille Clifton, The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010
  • The 2013 James Laughlin Award. Jillian Weise, The Book of Goodbyes