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Lannan Literary Grant Supports the Blessing the Boats Selections

Blessing the Boats Selections logo

BOA is honored to announce that the Lannan Foundation of Santa Fe, New Mexico, has generously awarded BOA a $35,000 grant in support of our Blessing the Boats Selections.

Named in honor of poet Lucille Clifton (1936–2010) and her National Book Award-winning collection Blessing the Boats: New & Selected Poems 1988–2000 (BOA, 2000), Blessing the Boats Selections titles will celebrate works that continue Clifton’s legacy of writing to the experience of nonwhite women. Submission are open to all women poets of color in the U.S., including poets who identify as cis, trans, and non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centers on women’s experiences, regardless of citizenship and publication history.

Founded with the endorsement of the Estate of Lucille T. Clifton, BOA’s hope is that Blessing the Boats Selections titles will further facilitate encounters between readers and writers of some of the most extraordinary texts of our time. The debut Blessing the Boats Selections are Year of the Dog by Deborah Paredez (BOA, 2020) and Letters to a Young Brown Girl by Barbara Jane Reyes (BOA, 2020).

Aracelis Girmay serves as the inaugural Editor-at-Large who will select and curate Blessing the Boats Selections for 2021–2023. Girmay is the editor of How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton (BOA, 2020) and the author of three collections of poems: the black maria (BOA, 2016) winner of the 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry; Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011), winner of the 2011 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; and Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007), winner of the GLCA New Writers Award.

BOA Publisher Peter Conners says, “The Lannan Foundation is a quiet hero of American literature. They have supported BOA – and many other literary organizations - in numerous crucial ways over the years. I am thrilled to have their enthusiastic endorsement for Blessing the Boats Selections.”

With this generous support from the Lannan Foundation and from the Drs. Dawn and Jacques Lipson Life Enhancing Fund granted through the Rochester Area Community Foundation, BOA is able to offer a $5000 honorarium for the poet whose manuscript is selected as our next Blessing the Boats Selection title. BOA's Blessing the Boats Selections Editor-at-Large will also receive an honorarium for their work in selecting and curating this important series that spotlights new poetry books by women of color.

EXTENDED DEADLINE! In celebration of our new Lannan support, BOA is extending the deadline for Blessing the Boats Selections until December 31. Learn more about the submissions process on BOA's submissions page for the Blessing the Boats Selections.


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