Alice James Books

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Alice James Books
Parent company University of Maine at Farmington
FounderPatricia Cumming, Marjorie Fletcher, Lee Rudolph, Ron Schreiber, Betsy Sholl, Cornelia Veenendaal, and Jean Pedrick
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Farmington, Maine
Distribution Consortium Book Sales & Distribution
Publication types Books
Official website

Alice James Books is an American non-profit poetry press located in Farmington, Maine and affiliated with the University of Maine at Farmington.


History and mission

"Alice James Books was founded as a co-operative press in Cambridge, MA in 1973 by five women and two men: Patricia Cumming, Marjorie Fletcher, Lee Rudolph, Ron Schreiber, Betsy Sholl, Cornelia Veenendaal, and Jean Pedrick. The intent of this company was to provide women with a greater representation in literature and involve the writer in the publishing process. While this may seem unbelievable today, in the 1970s women writers had a very difficult time being published. Recognizing this dire need, Alice James Books was established." [1] Maine Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl shared her memory of being a founding member of the press in an interview: "The experience of starting the press from the ground up, she says, was a heady one, not least because the organization put a special emphasis on publishing poetry written by women. 'There really were attitudes that made it hard for women to publish,' Sholl says. 'There weren't a lot of women being published, and male editors tended to be pretty disdainful.' " [2] The press is named for Alice James (sister of novelist Henry James and philosopher William James), whose fine journal and gift for writing were unrecognized within her lifetime. The mission of Alice James Books, a cooperative poetry press, is to seek out and publish the best contemporary poetry by both established and beginning poets, with particular emphasis on involving poets in the publishing process.

Notable authors and honors

Notable poets published by Alice James Books include Cynthia Cruz, Jane Kenyon, Donald Revell, Jean Valentine, David Kirby, Cole Swensen, Brian Turner, Kaveh Akbar, Robin Becker, Frank X. Gaspar, Mary Szybist, Forrest Hamer, Sarah Manguso, Kazim Ali, Ellen Doré Watson, Fanny Howe, B.H. Fairchild and Matthea Harvey. Authors have been recipients of the Witter Bynner Award, [3] American Book Award, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Norma Farber First Book Award, the Arthur Rense Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the William Carlos Williams Award, The Nation/Discovery Prize, The Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, Whiting Writer's Award, Guggenheim Fellowships, NEA fellowships, and many other honors. Alice James Books titles have been reviewed in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, [4] [5] [6] The New Yorker, [7] ALA Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, and many other publications. Alice James Books itself has been featured in such magazines as Ms, Poets & Writers,Publishers Weekly, [8] Slate, and Poetry Daily.

Manuscript selection and awards

"The cooperative selects manuscripts for publication through its national, annual award, the Alice James Award , previously known as the Beatrice Hawley Award . The press previously offered the Kinereth Gensler Awards, a regional, annual competition open to residents of New England, New York and New Jersey. Winners of the Kinereth Gensler Awards became active cooperative members, judging future contests and participating in editorial and executive decisions. The Alice James Award does not carry a cooperative work commitment." [9] The Kundiman Poetry Prize was previously offered through Alice James Books for a first or second book by an Asian American poet. The prize was co-sponsored by Kundiman (nonprofit organization). [10] [11]

Alice James Books also selects manuscripts for publication through the JB Translation Series, which accepts queries of poetry manuscripts translated into English.

Affiliation and funding

Since 1994, the press has been affiliated with the University of Maine at Farmington, [12] and offers a publishing internship program for UMF students which offers the students work experience and education. [13] [14] The press has received funding from the Maine Arts Commission, as well as receiving funding from UMF and the National Endowment for the Arts, [15] private foundations, and individuals. [16]

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  1. UNH - Manchester Library > Special Home > Exhibits > Jean Pedrick: A Virtual Exhibit of Her Life and Work > Alice James Books
  2. Down East: The Magazine of Maine, June, 2006 > The People's Poet: Maine's New Poet Laureate, Betsy Sholl, finds poetry in the most unlikely places > by Michaela Cavallaro
  3. Library of Congress > 2009 Witter Bynner Fellows
  4. The New York Times Sunday Book Review > My Daughter's Murder, by David Kirby > 04/10/09
  5. The New York Times Sunday Book Review> Review of Here, Bullet > By Joel Brouwer
  6. The New York Times Sunday Book Review Review of Ruin > By Joel Brouwer
  7. The New Yorker > The Talk of the Town> War Poet by Dana Goodyear > 11/14/05
  8. Publishers Weekly > Alice James at 30 by Judith Rosen > 05/19/03
  9. Alice James Books > About Us Archived 2009-02-10 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Kundiman > Recent News Archived 2009-05-07 at the Wayback Machine
  11. Poets & Writers > G&A: The Contest Blog > Alice James Books and Kundiman Present Book Prize for Asian American Poets > July 14, 2009
  12. Alice James Books > About Us Archived 2009-02-10 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "University of Maine at Farmington, Creative Writing Department". Archived from the original on 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  14. "Alice James Books > Internships". Archived from the original on 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
  15. NEA: 2009 Grant Awards > Access to Artistic Excellence Archived 2009-05-07 at the Wayback Machine
  16. "Alice James Books > About Us > Supporters and Partners". Archived from the original on 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2009-06-04.