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BOA Editions celebrates 40 years in 2016

MGC Video Still BOA Editions, one of the nation’s leading independent publishers of poetry, literary fiction, and poetry-in-translation, is pleased to announce that 2016 will mark its 40th year bringing high quality literature to the public. The Rochester-based not-for-profit press will celebrate the occasion with a yearlong series of developments and activities, including: a new commemorative logo; a re-launched website and online bookstore; a global video and social media campaign; a celebratory kickoff at AWP 2016 in Los Angeles, among other celebrations around the country; a permanent home for the last decade of its archives; and a Major Gifts Campaign carrying a generous $40,000 challenge grant from the Lannan Foundation. BOA has come far since its founding on July 4, 1976, when poet, editor, and translator A. Poulin, Jr. established the press as a mission-driven venue to give voice to important, yet underserved writers. Having earned an esteemed reputation as one of the nation’s premier independent presses, BOA has published the works of such renowned authors as Lucille Clifton, Li-Young Lee, Naomi Shihab Nye, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Jillian Weise, Aracelis Girmay, and Nikola Madzirov. Today, the press has put more than 300 titles into the world, garnering such major awards as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and most recently the James Laughlin Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and a Whiting Award for Poetry. Releasing 10-12 new works of poetry, literary fiction, and poetry-in-translation each year, both physically and digitally, BOA publishes titles within four distinct series: the A. Poulin, Jr. New Poets of America Series; the American Poets Continuum Series; the American Reader Series; and the Lannan Translations Selection Series, which is funded by the Lannan Foundation. The press also gives voice to new and emerging authors each year with the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, now in its 15th year, and the BOA Short Fiction Prize, now in its 5th year. While honoring a 40-year legacy that has come a long way since its beginnings, BOA is specifically choosing to observe its past and continuing story within a thriving tradition as old as humankind. With a full schedule of events for 2016, the press is inviting its community of readers, authors, and supporters to join in the celebration of a timeless craft. Marketing Director Jenna Fisher says, “We want to pay homage to the fact that for 40 years, BOA has been fostering a tradition as old as language itself. Poetry—the written word—is what connects the evolving human narrative into the singular story of us all. BOA’s mission is bigger than this time and place—it is an important piece of the long human conversation—and when we participate in BOA’s story, we all become a part of that timeless tradition.” Launching at the start of 2016, BOA’s overhauled website will feature a complete redesign with focus on its unique brand and organizational mission, as well as an interactive author events page, a fully-integrated online bookstore, and an anniversary landing page which will feature a yearlong global social media campaign. Asking readers and writers to share their “ideal reading and/or writing experience,” using the hashtag #BOATurns40, the campaign will feature fresh video content of BOA authors responding to the same question each month. “The new site will be a place where online visitors want to be, where they want to stay and participate with us,” says Fisher. “The refreshed structure and design will lend itself not only to what visitors come looking for, but to a whole new sense of discovery—of BOA and its authors, and of the written word as an exciting, transformative experience.” A regular attendee of the annual AWP conference, BOA will be the Presenting Sponsor for 2016 in Los Angeles, and has plans to make it an unforgettable experience. The week of celebrations will include activities and giveaways at its Bookfair booths, an onsite reception with BOA staff and board members, and an onsite reading, the “BOA Editions 40th Anniversary Celebration,” which will feature five BOA authors whose poetry spans the organization’s 40-year history: Li-Young Lee, Aracelis Girmay, Jillian Weise, Nikola Madzirov, and Michael Waters. Each author will read from their BOA titles and will share a few words about BOA’s place in the past, present, and future of the literary landscape. With the help of a $40,000 dollar-for-dollar challenge grant from the Lannan Foundation of Santa Fe, NM, BOA has kicked off a yearlong Major Gifts Campaign which will run through July 4, 2016. Called “40 for 40,” the campaign goal of $80,000 will provide $40,000 as a celebration of BOA’s amazing 40-year history, and $40,000 to help assure its financial stability for the next 40 years. Development Director Melissa Hall says, “Our goal is to grow our endowment fund and to ensure BOA’s continuation of publishing excellent literature that is vital to the landscape of contemporary American letters. We are extremely grateful to the Lannan Foundation for its encouragement and generous support of this endeavor.” The University of Rochester is also reaffirming its belief in the importance of BOA’s history and future. In 2005, the university acquired BOA’s 1996-2005 publishing archives, which include materials related to the publication of BOA books and the organization’s general operations. In 2016, the university will make those holdings available online so that they can be searched and utilized by scholars worldwide. The university also just acquired the press’s 2006-2016 archives, thus becoming the largest repository of BOA materials. This important connection between organizations will be celebrated on the university’s campus in 2016 with BOA displays and exhibits, classroom presentations, and a group reading featuring 40 representatives from both the university and BOA communities. BOA Publisher Peter Conners says, “Whether scholars are interested in a particular author or in the daily operations of a small press that has thrived in American letters for 40 years, the University of Rochester’s BOA Publishing Archives house a wealth of research materials. Given our place in Rochester’s cultural landscape and the University of Rochester’s status as a venerable institution of higher learning, I can’t imagine a better place for BOA’s history to be housed, shared, and safeguarded.” Plans for additional 40th anniversary events and activities, both local and national, are currently in the works and will be announced by BOA in 2016. “For 40 years, BOA has given authors and readers an outlet for illuminating our world through story and verse,” says Conners. “In so doing, we have taken part in a tradition as old as humankind itself. The coming year will be a momentous one for BOA. We will celebrate BOA’s past, work to ensure its future, and celebrate the artistic and communicative power of the written word.”
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