When you think of BOA its age may be the last thing you consider. The late poet, editor, and translator A. Poulin, Jr. founded BOA on July 4, 1976, which means that on July 4, 2016, BOA will mark 40 years as a publisher of poetry and literary fiction. In those 40 years, BOA has earned an esteemed reputation as an award-winning not-for-profit publishing house. This has been achieved by a staff and board with a strong sense of mission to bring high quality literature to the public.
The fact of “40 years as an independent publisher” is remarkable and deserves celebration. The terrain for publishing poetry and literary fiction is fraught with all kinds of challenges; hardly the least of these is the marketplace itself. As William Logan recently noted, “poetry has long been a major art with a minor audience.” So when we recognize that for 40 years BOA has been a successful enterprise maintaining partnerships with its authors, poets, artists, designers, and printers to publish literature that regularly achieves the highest standards in the literary arts, the cause for celebration is brought home even more energetically.
One of my great pleasures as a long-time board member is being awed by our new books as they arrive each season. They always present an enticing visual and even tactile invitation to be opened up and read. And when that reading gets started it becomes difficult to stop. Our poets and writers stir me to think, to empathize, to learn, to understand, and often to be delighted. But what I love most is that I am regularly dazzled by their remarkable and inspiring artistry. For me to be able to say I had a small role in bringing these books to life is very satisfying. This feeling is doubled for our books in translation, which honor outstanding contemporary writers and literature from other nations and cultures, and are part of what we do as a contribution to increased global understanding.
An anniversary often triggers reflections on the past as well as preparations for the future. Our Board of Directors has been planning a number of ways for our organization to do both. In thinking about BOA’s future, we will kick off a year-long Major Gifts Campaign on July 4, 2015, one full year before our anniversary. Called “40 for 40,” the goal of this campaign is to raise $40,000 as a celebration of BOA’s amazing 40-year history, and to help ensure our financial stability as we step into the next 40 years.
Our celebration will also feature a number of special events in different locations around the country, and it is our hope that whenever we are near you, you will join us. Our website and blog will provide further information about these occasions as they take final shape. In addition, the Winter Issue of the BOAhemian will focus directly on our anniversary, and will provide full details about the year’s plans, developments, and activities.
I’m sure you will agree, as our celebration begins to unfold, that it is an exciting time to be part of the BOA family. We hope you will join the celebration as we mark our 40th year of publishing dynamic literature that enriches a culturally diverse community.
–Jack Langerak, BOA Board Chair