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Old Press, New Look: Alice James Books Heralds Big Change

(Click here to view the official Press Release!)


Old Press, New Look: Alice James Books Heralds Big Change

Alice James Books, one of the oldest established poetry presses in the country, is announcing significant change to its forty-year-old organization. The press is renewing its initial mission to support women writers. It will also launch the Alice James Award, which will now be the sole manuscript competition offered by Alice James Books. Submissions are currently being accepted for the November 1 deadline.

These transformations come via the vision of AJB’s new Board of Directors, which was formally instated in April. “For years we had one valiant Board, which handled everything from reading manuscripts to approving budgets. We are excited to announce the creation of a Board of Directors to enable the press to strengthen its financial base as it continues to expand,” said Board President Anne Marie Macari, “Help is here with a new board to handle business concerns and fundraising, while the editorial board renews its focus on what it does so well: bringing the best books of poetry they can find to AJB!”

The press will also focus on fostering publishing relationships with its writers. “We want to support AJB authors by offering them constancy—a home at Alice James,” said Carey Salerno, who has served at the helm of the press for nearly six years as its Executive Director, “We did not have a solid mechanism for doing that until now.” In April, Salerno was also named AJB’s Executive Editor, a title adjustment that offers her more autonomy in cultivating the press’s list beyond its contest, the Alice James Award. “My vision is to support current Alices and to bring in new poets with an emphasis on women,” she said.

On the redirection of its mission, Salerno also stated, “The press was founded in 1973 in support of women poets, so we will return to our roots by reaffirming this commitment. The press, however, will still continue to support and publish excellent writers, whether they identify themselves as men, women, or transgender.”

Macari also noted, “From the first book by Jane Kenyon to the first book of poems to come out of the Iraq war by Brian Turner, AJB has consistently taken risks on unknown writers, and we will continue to do so. What’s harder than getting a first or second book of poems published? Often it’s the third or fourth book. Looking forward we want Carey Salerno, our Executive Editor, to be able to cultivate and retain more of our own authors. We have launched so many poets—it’s time to keep a few of them home.”

The press’s new Board of Directors is led by Anne Marie Macari, Jan Heller Levi, Craig Morgan Teicher, and Peter Waldor. Their aim is to strengthen the nonprofit press’s visibility, leadership, and programming. Of their board membership, Levi noted, “I’m grateful that I get to give something back for the next generation of readers and writers,” and Teicher said, “I’m honored to join the board of Alice James, a press I’ve loved as long as I’ve loved poetry, and one of the central publishers of new poets in the US. I look forward to helping the press broaden its influence on American letters and publish more imperative poetry.”

To learn more about Alice James Books, visit www.alicejamesbooks.org

Carey Salerno, Executive Editor
AJB office: 207.778.7071
Email: carey.salerno@alicejamesbooks.org



Friday, May 30, 2014 8:00pm
Asian American Writers’ Workshop
112 W 27th Street, 6th floor
New York, NY

with Sally Wen Mao, R.A. Villanueva, Tarfia Faizullah, Cathy Linh Che

2014 will go down as an historic year for poetry. We’re feting Sally Wen Mao’s debut Mad Honey Symposium. Dave Eggers likes its “gritty, world-wise sense of humor that gives her work heavyweight swagger.” Also just released: Cathy Linh Che’s Split, a tender exploration of war, diaspora, and violence, and Tarfia Faizullah’s Seam, based on interviews with women survivors of the 1971 Pakistani army atrocities Dhaka, Bangladesh. R.A.Villanueva will preview his new book Reliquaria, due out later this year, which discusses, among other things, the “Bodies” exhibition.

We’re celebrating with a reading, of course, but in place of wine and polite conversation afterwards we’re throwing a pinata bash and dance party.

Sally Wen Mao is the author of  Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014), the winner of the 2012 Kinereth Gensler Award. Her work has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2013 and is published or forthcoming Colorado Review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Third Coast, and West Branch, among others. The recipient of fellowships from Kundiman and Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, she holds a B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.F.A. from Cornell University, where she is currently a lecturer.

R.A. Villanueva is the author of Reliquaria, winner of the 2013 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. A founding editor of Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art, his honors include the 2013 Ninth Letter Literary Award for poetry and fellowships from Kundiman and The Asian American Literary Review. His writing has appeared widely in journals and anthologies including AGNI, The Common, DIAGRAM, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Virginia Quarterly Review. He lives in Brooklyn.

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), winner of the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry’s First Book Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares,The Missouri Review, Passages North, New Ohio Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Southern Review, Mead, Poetry Daily, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. A Kundiman fellow, she is a graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University program in creative writing.

Cathy Linh Che is a Vietnamese American poet from Los Angeles, CA. She has received awards from The Asian American Literary Review, The Center for Book Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, Hedgebrook, Kundiman, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Residency, and Poets & Writers. She is a founding editor of Paperbag.

Co-sponsored by Kundiman and Asia Society New York. This event was funded in party by Poets & Writers, Inc. through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

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Sunday Brunch with Orphan

Alice took the train to the Upper West Side on Sunday to partake in the brunch festivities of Jan Heller Levi’s book launch party for Orphan, the latest title from Alice James Books.

After some proper mimosa and quesadilla, Jan treated the packed restaurant to a lovely reading from her collection, and Alice couldn’t help but sneak in a little recording for everyone who couldn’t join us:

Jan has incredible energy and spirit. If you haven’t picked up your copy of Orphan yet, you’ll probably want to make that your next stop. ;)


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