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.
Alice James Books is a nonprofit cooperative poetry press, 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. We remain true to that mission and to publishing a diversity of poets, including both beginning and established poets, and a diversity of poetic styles.
The press is named for Alice James—the sister of novelist Henry James and philosopher William James—whose fine journal and gift for writing were unrecognized within her lifetime.
Since 1994, the press has been affiliated with the University of Maine at Farmington.
One of the few presses in the country run collectively, the success of Alice James Books can be attributed to the enthusiastic commitment of its authors, staff, donors, and interns, and to the philosophy of providing publishing opportunities to new contemporary voices, while striving to keep its present list of titles in print for many years. Members of the cooperative provide each other with a level of guidance and support rare in commercial houses, and, over the years, the cooperative structure has given the press the flexibility to adapt to the administrative and economic hardships that have doomed so many other small press publishers of poetry.
The cooperative selects manuscripts for publication through both regional and national competitions. The regional Kinereth Gensler Awards are open to residents of New England, New York and New Jersey, and the national Beatrice Hawley Award is open to all residents of the U.S. Winners of the Kinereth Gensler Awards become active cooperative members, judging future contests and participating in editorial and executive decisions. The Beatrice Hawley Award does not carry a cooperative work commitment.
AJB authors have been recipients of the American Book Award, The Kate Tufts Discovery Award, The Norma Farber First Book Award, The Arthur Rense Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Prize, the William Carlos Williams Award, The Nation/Discovery Prize, The Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, and many other awards and fellowships. Recent Alice James Books titles have been reviewed in The New Yorker, ALA Booklist, Ms., Harvard Review, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Boston Review, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, Poetry, and other publications. Alice James Books itself has been featured in such magazines as Ms, Poets & Writers, Slate and Poetry Daily.