The City of Rochester is honoring BOA Editions, Ltd.—one of the nation’s leading independent publishers of poetry and literary fiction—by proclaiming April 20, 2018 as “BOA Editions Day.” The mayoral proclamation will be issued during a poetry celebration at the City Hall Atrium featuring a reading by award-winning poet Chen Chen. The celebration, which takes place during National Poetry Month, will be held on April 20th at 6:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public.
BOA Publisher Peter Conners says: “Having Mayor Warren proclaim BOA Editions Day is such wonderful recognition of our contributions to Rochester’s cultural community. Like many Rochesterians, we do our work quietly, but with great pride and first-rate quality. Because our books find readers and garner awards on an international scale, it’s our honor to represent Rochester’s artistic vitality to the world. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate BOA Editions Day, and National Poetry Month, than with a reading by celebrated new BOA poet Chen Chen!”
BOA Editions has come far since its founding on July 4, 1976, when poet, editor, translator, and SUNY-Brockport professor A. Poulin, Jr. established the press as a mission-driven venue to give voice to important, yet underserved poets. Having earned an esteemed reputation as one of the nation’s premier independent presses, BOA has published more than 300 titles, including works by renowned poets Lucille Clifton, Li-Young Lee, Naomi Shihab Nye, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Jillian Weise, Aracelis Girmay, Nikola Madzirov, and Chen Chen. Many BOA titles and authors have been recognized with literary awards, including the National Book Award (Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988–2000 by Lucille Clifton, 2000) and the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry (Yin by Carolyn Kizer, 1984).
Most recently, BOA formed a National Advisory Committee comprised of distinguished authors, business people, and cultural leaders across the country. The National Advisory Committee, which will be formally announced at the celebration on April 20th, will complement the efforts of BOA’s distinguished local board by promoting the press’s books, authors, events, and overall mission.
Chen Chen was born in Xiamen, China, and grew up in Massachusetts. His critically-acclaimed debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017) won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. The book was longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Poetry, was named a Barbara Gittings Literature Award Honor Book by the ALA's GLBTA Round Table, and the 2018 GLCA New Writer’s Award. When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was also recently named a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry.
Chen was named one of “ten poets who will change the world” in Poets & Writers Magazine. His work has appeared in PBS NewsHour, Poetry, The New York Times Magazine, Tin House, The Best American Poetry, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, Lambda Literary, and the Saltonstall Foundation, Chen earned his MFA at Syracuse University and is currently pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing at Texas Tech University. He lives in Rochester with his partner, Jeff Gilbert, and their pug dog, Rupert Giles.
National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.
Visit our National Poetry Month 2018 page for more details on our Poetic Proclamations event. We hope to see you there!