Fostering readership and appreciation of contemporary literature
BOA Editions, Ltd., a not-for-profit publisher of poetry and other literary works, fosters readership and appreciation of contemporary literature. By identifying, cultivating, and publishing both new and established poets and selecting authors of unique literary talent, BOA brings high quality literature to the public. Support for this effort comes from the sale of its publications, grant funding, and private donations.
Founded in 1976 by the late poet, editor, and translator A. Poulin, Jr., BOA has published more than 300 books of American poetry, poetry-in-translation, and short fiction. The first publication bearing the BOA imprint was The Fuhrer Bunker: A Cycle of Poems in Progress by W. D. Snodgrass. The Fuhrer Bunker received tremendous critical attention and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, optioned for the stage by Joseph Papp, and produced by Wynn Handman for The American Place Theater. In 1984, BOA published Carolyn Kizer's Yin, a collection of poems that had been turned down by nearly every major publishing house. Yin won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1985. One year later, BOA published Rose by Li-Young Lee, who at that time was an unknown poet. He went on to publish four more books with BOA, and his poetry is currently taught in many university courses.
Lucille Clifton is another prominent poet on BOA's roster. Ms. Clifton was awarded the 2010 Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement posthumously from the Poetry Society of America, and was the 2007 recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from The Poetry Foundation. In 2000, she won the National Book Award for Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000. Two of her BOA poetry collections, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 andNext: New Poems, were chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988; she was the first author to have two books of poetry chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize within the same year. The Terrible Stories was a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award. In 2012, BOA published The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton: 1965-2010, the culmination of the revered poet's 40-year career, combining all of Lucille Clifton’s published collections with 69 previously unpublished poems.
Initiated in 2007, BOA's American Reader Series has published more than 20 fiction collections. These short story collections feature voices more concerned with the artfulness of their writing than the twists and turns of plot, and have gone on to bring new and important attention to this underserved literary genre.
BOA Editions is the recipient of a 2001 New York State Governor's Arts Award for overall artistic excellence, the only New York State not-for-profit literary publisher to receive such an honor.
Created in the 1970s by artist and professor Mirko Pylyshenko, the BOA Editions logo is a linoleum block print rendering of Orpheus—the greatest poet and musician of Greek mythology—playing his lyre. Legend has it that Orpheus, a true archetype of the “inspired singer,” could charm all living things—even coax stones and trees into movement—with his powerful poetry and music.
A native of Western Ukraine—and ever-mindful of the centuries of political suppression of Ukrainian language and art—Pylyshenko’s rendering of Orpheus is an ode to the ancient Dumas, traveling artists who preserved rich history and literature through poetry and song. “I saw the figure of Orpheus as a parallel artist,” said Pylyshenko, “the singer who sings because he cannot help but do so.”
Mirko Pylyshenko created his Orpheus block print while a professor at the State University of New York at Brockport. Soon after, his close friend and colleague Al Poulin started his fledgling literary press, with the mission to give voice to important, yet underserved writers. Pylyshenko agreed to let him use the image as BOA Editions’ official logo.
In 1986, with the publication of Bill Tremblay’s Duhamel and Li-Young Lee’s Rose, the image of Orpheus and his famous lyre appeared for the very first time on the title page of a BOA book. The muscular, intricate rendering of the inspired singer—conceived by Pylyshenko’s vision, and adopted by Al Poulin’s—has appeared on every BOA title since.
BOA's annual budget exceeds $300,000. Revenue from book sales and copyright permissions make up about 40% of the budget; grants, donations, and fundraising events are the source of the balance. As a 501(c)(3) organization, BOA receives regular assistance from the New York State Council on the Arts Literature Program; the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Program; the Lannan Foundation; the Sonia Raiziss Giop Charitable Foundation; the Mary S. Mulligan Charitable Trust; the County of Monroe, NY; the Rochester Area Community Foundation; the Ames-Amzalak Memorial Trust in memory of Henry Ames, Semon Amzalak and Dan Amzalak; the Steeple-Jack Fund, and individuals nationwide.
BOA annually donates hundreds of books to institutions that lack the funding to purchase new books for the adults and youths they serve. These organizations include senior centers, hospitals, libraries, schools, Native American reservations, and YMCAs. In collaboration with other non-profit organizations, BOA often donates books for silent auctions or other fundraising programs. BOA also collaborates with museums, schools, bookstores, libraries, and other arts organizations to schedule BOA authors for readings and events.
Awards & Distinctions
Since its inception, BOA has published poets from diverse cultural and aesthetic backgrounds. Many of these writers have been recognized for their achievements. Below is a partial list of awards and distinctions that BOA authors and titles have garnered:
- 2016 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry, Why God Is a Woman
- 2016 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, Beautiful Wall
- 2015 James Laughlin Award: Kathryn Nuernberger, The End of Pink
- 2015 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction: Robert Thomas, Bridge
- 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Finalist Award for Poetry: Geffrey Davis, Revising the Storm
- 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry: Aracelis Girmay, Kingdom Animalia
- 2015 Israel Prize in Literature: Erez Bitton, You Who Cross My Path
- 2015 Publisher Book Awards Poetry Gold Medal: Jim Daniels, Birth Marks
- 2015 Kirkus Star: James McManus, The Education of a Poker Player
- 2015 Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award: Jim Daniels, Birth Marks
- 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence for Finalists of the Paterson Poetry Prize: Sean Thomas Dougherty, All You Ask for Is Longing: Selected Poems
- 2015 Finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize: Lee Upton, The Tao of Humiliation
- 2014 Poetry Gold Medal for the Independent Publisher Book Awards: Jim Daniels, Birth Marks
- 2014 Kirkus Star: Lee Upton, The Tao of Humiliation
- 2014 Finalist for the Best Translated Book Award: Sohrab Sepehri, The Oasis of Now
- 2013 James Laughlin Award: Jillian Weise, The Book of Goodbyes
- 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry: Lucille Clifton, The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010
- 2013 Anne Halley Poetry Prize: Geffrey Davis, Revising the Storm
- 2013 Finalist for the Washington State Book Award: Bruce Beasley, Theophobia
- 2012 Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry: Barbara Jane Reyes, Diwata
- 2012 Finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award: Aracelis Girmay, Kingdom Animalia
- 2012 Honorable Mention for the Arab American Book Award: Naomi Shihab Nye, Transfer
- 2012 Finalist for the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award: Naomi Shihab Nye, Transfer
- 2011 Best Translated Book Award: Ales Steger, The Book of Things
- 2011 AATSEL Best Literary Translation into English Award: Ales Steger, The Book of Things
- 2009 Lois Roth Award for a Translation of a Literary Work: Adonis, Mihyar of Damascus, His Songs
- 2008 Kate Tufts Discovery Award: Janice N. Harrington, Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone
- 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement: Lucille Clifton
- 2007 Maine Literary Award for Poetry: Richard Foerster, The Burning of Troy
- 2007 Northern California Award for Poetry in Translation: Ko Un, Flowers of a Moment, Translated by Gary Gach
- 2005 Colorado Book Award in Poetry: Mark Irwin, Bright Hunger
- 2005 Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry: Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard
- 2004 Finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize: Louis Simpson, The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems 1940-2001
- 2004 Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry: Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard
- 2004 Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award: Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard
- 2003 Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry: Louis Simpson, The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems 1940-2001
- 2002 William Carlos Williams Award: Li-Young Lee, Book of My Nights
- 2001 Colorado Book Award for Poetry: Mark Irwin, White City
- 2000 Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry: Kim Addonizio, Tell Me
- 2000 Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry: Lucille Clifton, The Terrible Stories
- 2000 National Book Award for Poetry: Lucille Clifton, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988 - 2000
- 1999 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award: W. D. Snodgrass, Selected Translations
- 1998 Finalist for two Pulitzer Prizes in Poetry: Lucille Clifton, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969 - 1980 and Next: New Poems (Ms. Clifton is the only poet ever to have two poetry collections cited as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in a single year)
- 1997 Small Press Book Award for Poetry: William Heyen, Crazy Horse in Stillness
- 1994 Lamont Poetry Selection: Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Song
- 1994 Great Lakes Writers Association New Writers Award: Kim Addonizio, The Philosopher's Club
- 1994 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry: Barton Sutter The Book of Names: New and Selected Poems
- 1994 Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award: Dorianne Laux, What We Carry
- 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection: Li-Young Lee, The City in Which I Love You
- 1990 Great Lakes Writers Association New Writers Award: William B. Patrick, Roxa
- 1987 Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award: Li-Young Lee, Rose
- 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Carolyn Kizer, Yin
- 1981 Lenore Marshall Award: John Logan, The Bridge of Change
- 1981 Nation Prize: John Logan, The Bridge of Change