Derrick Austin, Jenna Fisher, and Melissa Hall at AWP. Photo courtesy of Publishers Weekly.
BOA was thrilled to celebrate its 40th anniversary at AWP 2016 in Los Angeles! The whole conference was a whirlwind of excitement and literature, and was a fabulous way to mark our milestone year.
Attended by hundreds of people, the BOA Editions 40th Anniversary Celebration premiered a documentary-style short film created by Steve Fisher of Fisher Media; a fabulous reading by BOA poets Michael Waters, Aracelis Girmay, Nikola Madzirov, Jillian Weise, and Li-Young Lee; and — to top it all off — a surprise onstage marriage proposal by BOA reader Adam Wetch that brought the audience to tears.
Publishers Weekly published a full account of the story: "At least one couple had an amazing conference for reasons having little to do with books: Adam Wetch of Avondale, Ariz. will never forget what happened at this year's AWP: he got engaged in front of hundreds of people. Wetch, a winner of poetry publisher and AWP sponsor BOA Editions' ‘Share Your Story’ campaign in honor of its 40th anniversary, proposed marriage to his girlfriend on Friday evening during a reading and panel BOA Editions hosted to celebrate its anniversary. Wetch's winning essay, for which he received a signed copy of Li-Young Lee's new chapbook, The Word From His Song, was the story of how his girlfriend's passion for Young's poems brought them closer together as a couple.
"The chapbook was presented to them on stage by Lee, who had just read on the panel, and who served as a decoy to allow Wetch to get down on one knee while his soon-to-be-fiancé had her back momentarily turned.
"'We'd been scheming with Adam for a few months,' Jenna Fisher, BOA Editions' publicity and marketing director told PW, 'This was a gorgeous event: it showcased the love of poetry and the written word — and the people who are part of it. The entire evening was leading up to that moment: she said yes immediately.'"
All of this was then followed by a cocktail reception packed with BOA readers, authors, and champions.
To read more about BOA’s time at AWP, take a look at these articles from Publishers Weekly:
- AWP 2016 Wrap-up: Literature, Commerce, and Even Love Collide in Los Angeles
- AWP 2016 in Photos: Publishers, Writers, and Readers Meet Up in L.A.
- Attendance Strong at AWP 2016