History

Alice James Books is a prominent independent poetry press that was founded in 1973 by five women and two men: Patricia Cumming, Marjorie Fletcher, Jean Pedrick, Lee Rudolph, Ron Schreiber, Betsy Sholl and Cornelia Veenendaal. Their objectives were to give women access to publishing and to involve authors in the publishing process.

AJB remains committed to its founders’ original mission while expanding upon the scope to include poets of all genders, backgrounds, and stages of their careers. In keeping with our efforts to foster equity and inclusivity in publishing and the literary arts, AJB seeks out poets whose writing possesses the range, depth, and ability to cultivate empathy in our world and to dynamically push against silence. The press sees the work it publishes as instrumental in cultivating conversations that help us overcome the barriers we face as a nation.

Alice James also stands out for its collaborative partnerships with authors, as well as the level of attention given to the aesthetics of each book we publish. AJB believes in supporting writers throughout their careers, connecting them to their readers, and allowing them to tell their stories.

Noteworthy milestones for Alice James include its move from Harvard Square to Farmington, ME in 1994 when it became affiliated with the University of Maine at Farmington and where the press currently educates up to 20 interns per year through individual writing apprenticeships. The AJB offices reside at the edge of campus on the tranquil banks of Rollo Pond, overlooking Abbott Park.

Another landmark event occurred in 2014 when, after celebrating its anniversary with the release of an anthology to hallmark 40 years of AJB poetry, the press revised its cooperative structure to allow the separation of the editorial and business boards of the press. The separation allows for greater focus on the individual goals of these two boards, while strengthening the financial health and vitality of the press.

 

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