December 18, 2014

San Francisco Chronicle on Robert Thomas’ BRIDGE


Still looking for the perfect last-minute holiday gift? We highly recommend Bridge by Robert Thomas. And we’re not the only ones!

The San Franciscio Chronicle just featured the new fiction collection in a thorough and spot-on review. Calling the book an “energetic, lyrical narration,” the review discusses the “precarious mental state” of protagonist Alice.

Bridge … may borrow a weapon, along with a taut style and a slender economy, from James M. Cain, but this is no crime story. Instead, and perhaps incongruously, it is a quiet, interior novel, a character study in which the prose plays a bigger role than the plot. What happens in the story is minimal: San Francisco legal secretary Alice falls in love with her married colleague David, antagonizes her supervisor, Fran, and buys that gun. But how it happens — and how Alice describes it happening — is striking, unsettling and profound.”

According to the review, “the rushing thoughts, sense impressions, quirky language and crumbling boundaries” of Bridge speak not just to an isolated plot, but to “agonizing universal truths.”

“We realize that [Alice] is indeed on precarious ground, and, as a classic unreliable narrator, cannot be trusted — or can she? In this inventive psychological novel, the mind-set of the psychologically suspect narrator may be what matters most.”

In the new issue of Ploughshares, poet and Advisory Editor Eleanor Wilner also recommends Bridge, saying, “The serial monologues of Alice … place us inside a wholly original, slightly suicidal, radically unconventional mind: precariously balanced, yet how far down she can see without falling. In this poet’s tour de force fiction, Thomas’ imaginative language created in me, to transplant his phrase, ‘what medical books accurately term ‘prolonged dazzle.’”

Click here to read the full review from The San Francisco Chronicle.

Bridge is available now at the BOA Bookstore.

December 18, 2014

Lee Upton on her ‘first time’

Lee Upton photo, for BOA

Lee Upton, author of the wildly successful The Tao of Humiliation, recently spoke with The Quivering Pen for one of its regular features, “My First Time,” in which writers “talk about virgin experiences in their writing and publishing careers.” With clarity and good humor, Upton shares with readers her hallucinations and realizations about being a writer.

Here is a fun sneak-peek vignette from the interview:

“At first I was so excited I could hardly speak,” says Upton of the first time she learned one of her books would be published. The publisher at University of Alabama Press spoke to her for awhile, explained the publication process, and then they ended the call. But then, Upton had to call back—because she thought she had hallucinated the whole thing:

“Within an hour I called him back. It wasn’t one of those cases where I thought that maybe I had received a crank call. I called him back because I thought I might have hallucinated his call. When I asked him if he had actually called me, he told me not to worry about thinking I’d hallucinated the call. He said my reaction was normal, even though it wasn’t. I’ve always been grateful for his kindness.”

Go to The Quivering Pen to read more about Upton’s first time killing and resurrecting characters, and her first time with the feeling of finally holding one’s own book: “shouldn’t the book inflate and fill the whole room?”

Don’t worry, Lee, your books do.

Click here to read the full interview at The Quivering Pen.

The Tao of Humiliation is available now at the BOA Bookstore.

December 12, 2014

Patheos review says COPIA is ‘what poetry should do’


According to a Patheos review, Erika Meitner’s new poetry collection Copia “traverses the nature of existence in a world that is both decaying and blossoming, in which the seemingly mundane provides passage to truth.”

In this collection about “urban and suburban life, consumption and excess, desire and disappointment, and perhaps mostly about loss and hope,” reviewer Dan Wilkinson says “relationships, language, faith, buildings, objects and life itself are simultaneously transitory and expansive, diminishing and abundant. [Meitner's] poems gently explore these tensions, skillfully connecting the past with the present, and the concrete with the spiritual.”

Many of the collection’s poems find their point of departure in urban decay, from ruminations over the life-cycles of towns, to the dissolution of entire industries. This is more than the ubiquitous “plastic shopping bag poem” assigned in creative writing classes. For one, Meitner’s poems are more socially conscious. Wilkinson says “the heart of Copia is a series of documentary poems about Detroit,” referring to the handful of documentary poems originally commissioned by Virginia Quarterly Review. The former motor city, now a throwaway line, a place-holding phrase ingrained into East Coast vocabularies as a word synonymous with poverty and decline, is, he says, respectably portrayed: “she documents the city with reverence for both the life it once contained and the life it still holds.”

It’s the evolution of language over time, its new applications, and the waxing and waning that all things are subject to, which makes Copia such an adroit title for the collection. Which, ironically, is Latin for abundance.

Copia is a collection that, like all good poetry, rewards repeated engagement. Meitner’s poems sometimes masquerade as simple reflections on the everyday, but between their lines hide startling associations and disconcerting realizations. This is what poetry should do: make us stop and take notice of everything happening–not just everywhere in our world and lives, but everywhere just beneath the surface of it all.”

Click here for the full Patheos review, “‘Abundant and impossible to fill.’”

Copia is available online at the BOA Bookstore.

Right now BOA is offering FREE SHIPPING on all BOA Bookstore orders! Use promo code SHOPBOA at checkout and select the free shipping option to save big for the holidays!

December 11, 2014

Holiday book recommendations for everyone on your list


There has been a wide circulation of holiday book recommendations along the literary landscape this season, and some excellent BOA books are on the lists of many. Check out what some are saying about new and recent titles from BOA. There’s a book for everyone on your shopping list!

Bridge by Robert Thomas

In a recent piece published in The Herald of Everett, WA, the Everett Public Library staff have called Bridge a favorite book of 2014, and a “cream of the crop.” The books on this list are noted for “their dexterous and creative way with words; their narrative idiosyncrasies, interiority, and perspicacity; the frequent interweaving of other cultural material (especially literature and art); a sense of place uniquely realized and expressed. These books offer fascinating, richly satisfying pleasures to the reader, but consternation to the list-maker who wishes to convey the essence of these reading experiences … If you like good writing I think you’ll find something here to enjoy.”

The Tao of Humiliation by Lee Upton

Acclaimed fiction author Bathsheba Monk included The Tao of Humiliation on her holiday gift guide, calling the fiction collection a “literary joy.” On this list are what Monk calls “some of the nicest reads this year and they are suitable as either stocking stuffers or the main event.” She says of The Tao of Humiliation, “Don’t take my word for it, this book is winning every short fiction collection award out there, notable for both its pleasurable prose and breathtaking originality.”

No Need of Sympathy by Fleda Brown

The Kenyon Review just released its list of “Holiday Reading Recommendations,” which includes Fleda Brown’s latest poetry collection No Need of Sympathy. These are recommended titles “for cozy winter reading and inspired giving … trustworthy suggestions … of books that enriched our days, kindled our imaginations, reached in and grabbed us and didn’t let us go.” According to KR, “Brown is not out to charm us or win our approval but rather to ignite our curiosity by turning our attention to the ‘little world’ of ordinary experience that, through her witty, brilliant, and unexpected leaps of thought, grows to extraordinary proportions.”

Each of these titles is available at the BOA Bookstore. Now through Monday, December 15, get FREE SHIPPING on any BOA Bookstore order! Simply use promo code SHOPBOA at checkout, and select the free shipping option to save big. Happy holidays from BOA!

December 04, 2014

THANK YOU! Free shipping through 12/15!


THANK YOU to all of you who shopped small with BOA Editions this holiday season! In doing so, you have helped support independent publishing and our mission of bringing essential, high quality literature to the public. To express our heartfelt thanks, we’re offering FREE SHIPPING on any BOA Bookstore order through 12/15! Simply use promo code SHOPBOA at checkout, and select the free shipping option to save big on amazing books!

Happy Holidays from all of us at BOA!

December 02, 2014

Publishers Weekly reviews The Secret of Hoa Sen


Publishers Weekly is calling Que Mai’s The Secret of Hoa Sen “straightforward, personal poems” that “lament and celebrate with the landscape—the smells, colors, and people of her country—that is their touchstone.”

The collection focuses on “the lingering physical and psychological effects of the Vietnam war,” but also turns its attention to the larger world, singing for “the alienated orphans of the Vietnam War; for garment workers in Bangladesh; for the victims of Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines; and for mothers across the globe in perilous circumstances.” Even with such a scope of subjects, Que Mai writes with a “detail-oriented eye” that is “nostalgic” in its familiarity.

A bilingual edition, The Secret of Hoa Sen was translated from the Vietnamese by both Que Mai and celebrated war poet and Pulitzer Prize nominee Bruce Weigl. Que Mai and Weigl—both previously published poets and translators of high regard—find inspiration in writing on Vietnam war and its aftermath.

Click here to read the full Publishers Weekly review.

The Secret of Hoa Sen is currently available at the BOA Bookstore.

December 02, 2014

Poetry Society of America features poem from COPIA


Erika Meitner’s poem “Porto, Portare, Portavi, Portatus” was recently featured in Poetry Society of America’s column “In Their Own Words.” Poems featured here are provided in full, with an ensuing commentary by the author. This poem is the last in Meitner’s newest collection Copia, and contains many of the elements that are featured throughout the collection as a whole: optimistic mid-century Detroit; vacant buildings as a symbolic understudy for bodies; and a peculiar feeling of longing, expressed through places waning in both health and atmosphere.

Meitner gets personal about the poem and what inspired it, including the Latin verb porto from which the poem takes its name, and the themes of fertility and decay which are present throughout her new collection.

Click here to read the entire piece, including the full poem “Porto, Portare, Portavi, Portatus.”

Copia is available at the BOA Bookstore.

November 19, 2014

The Tao of Humiliation is a ‘Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014′


Lee Upton’s The Tao of Humiliation has been named to Kirkus Reviews‘ Best Books of 2014!

Called “masterful stories by a writer of great lyrical gifts” in a starred Kirkus review published earlier this year, “these 17 tales explore personal and familial relationships with both pathos and humor—and all are well worth reading.”

Alternately chilling, funny, devastating, and hopeful, these 17 stories examine the course of humiliation, introducing us to a theater critic who winds up in a hot tub with the actress he routinely savages in reviews; a biographer who struggles to discover why a novelist stopped writing; a student who contends with her predatory professor; and the startling scenario of the last satyr meeting his last woman. Upton’s characters backtrack into the past, then make their way forward with humiliation as their guide.

Congratulations to Lee Upton for this amazing honor!

See the entire list of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Fiction Books of 2014.

The Tao of Humiliation is in stock now at the BOA Bookstore!


November 14, 2014

News Alert: Marsha de la O wins Isabella Gardner Poetry Award


We are thrilled to announce that Marsha de la O is the winner of BOA Editions’ Isabella Gardner Poetry Award for her new collection, Antidote for Night!

Antidote for Night will be published by BOA Editions in fall 2015, within the American Poets Continuum Series. This award is given biennially to a poet with a new book of exceptional merit. Manuscripts are solicited; there is no formal submission process for this award.

Poet, actress, and Associate Editor of Poetry magazine, Isabella Gardner (1915-1981) published five celebrated collections of poetry, and was the first recipient of the New York State Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poetry. She championed the work of young and gifted poets, helping many of them find publication. This award carries an honorarium of $1,000 and is sponsored by the Gardner Charitable Trust. Poets Laure-Anne Bosselaar and Michael Blumenthal (both former recipients of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award) assisted in judging the award, and the final selection was made by BOA Publisher Peter Conners.

The most recent winners of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award are Jillian Weise, for The Book of Goodbyes, and Aracelis Girmay, for Kingdom Animalia.

Marsha de la O’s Black Hope won the New Issues Poetry Prize from the University of Western Michigan and an Editor’s Choice Award. Her work appears widely in such journals as Barrow Street, Passages North, Solo, and Third Coast, and has been anthologized in Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals (Ballantine), Saying What Needs to Be Said (Solo Press); Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California (Greenhouse Review Press); the poetry workshop handbook One for the Money: The Sentence as Poetic Form (Lynx House Press), and the forthcoming Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series). A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the recipient of the 2014 Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Prize, the dA Poetry Prize, the Ventura Poetry Prize, two cultural arts grants from the City of Ventura, and a Tumblewords Poetry Residency. With her husband, poet Phil Taggart, she publishes the poetry journal Askew.

Congratulations, Marsha, and welcome to the BOA family!

November 11, 2014

A poem for Veterans Day, by Hugh Martin


In honor of Veterans Day, we want to thank those who have bravely served our country with a poem from Hugh Martin’s The Stick Soldiers (BOA, 2013).

The War Was Good, Thank You

—In the college cafeteria, a freshman girl asks, So, how was the war?


We live in small steel hooches
shaped like boxcars. We fill bags

with sand and sweat
to pile beside us. Our rifles collect dust

when we sleep. Our rifles collect dust
when we fire them.


In Jalula, I stood in the turret, hands
on the Fifty. I looked over mud walls and fences

into backyards, alleyways. A man
and a woman backed from a doorway; I watched them

through dark sunglasses and the sight aperture.
They kissed, then turned—they saw me. The man smiled,

as if wanting me to keep it a secret. I didn’t tell anyone.


Some afternoons, I lay outside shirtless
and set ice cubes

on my closed eyelids. I let them melt.


After weddings, people point rifles
to the sky, and fire,

as if wanting to put holes
through heaven.


Groups send care packages. There’s always so much
ChapStick, baby wipes; we pile it in boxes

or throw it to the children. I spoil myself
with ChapStick, balm my lips

even when it’s not needed. Outside the wire,
I raise my chin to the sun, flex

my lips, kiss them together, not afraid
of anything, not afraid at all.