As the editor of the selections, which are part of the press’s American Poets Continuum Series and named after Lucille Clifton’s 2000 collection, Blessing the Boats (BOA Editions), Girmay will choose one or two books for publication each year through 2023. (The inaugural submission period was held during November; the selections will be announced later this spring.) Girmay is the author of three poetry collections, most recently the black maria (BOA Editions, 2016), and serves on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund. One week before she received her first batch of submissions, Girmay spoke about her approach to poetry and her plan for the selections.
How do you see these selections carrying forward Lucille Clifton’s legacy?
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Girmay Edits BOA Selections
In October 2020, BOA Editions, an indie press located in Rochester, New York, named poet Aracelis Girmay the first editor-at-large of its Blessing the Boats Selections, a line of poetry books written by women of color.
What We Ought to Do: THE SONG OF IMBOLO MBUE
In her second novel, How Beautiful We Were, Imbolo Mbue uses the chorus of voices in a small African village fighting for justice in the shadow of an American oil company to sing in celebration of community, connection, and enduring hope.
Pandemic Pen Pals
Nupur Chaudhury, a public health strategist living in New York City, grew up in the nineties sending letters through the mail. She received weekly aerograms from relatives in India; she corresponded with a pen pal in Texas; her father even took her to admire the post office’s new stamps every month. But as she grew older, Chaudhury says, “E-mail became more popular, and I really put that writing part of me to the side”—that is, until she came across the pen pal exchange Penpalooza on Twitter in August 2020.
Neither muscle nor mouth
Neither muscle nor mouth / devoted to one way of speaking. Every language // I borrow from somewhere else,” writes Threa Almontaser in The Wild Fox of Yemen (Graywolf Press, April 2021), winner of the Walt Whitman Award. In her debut Almontaser summons the language of her ancestors and family members, poets both contemporary and historical, experimental rock bands and rappers, and many more, to fashion an idiom that is both rebellious and reverent. Dedicated to the people of Yemen, the book offers a portrait of a country and its history and future. “Yemen has such an ancient and rich history, but with its current collapse, search engines show only the sad photos of starving kids,” says Almontaser. “I wanted to portray not only the war, but the beauty of Arabia Felix, of what it could still return to being.”
PANDEMIC WRITING GROUP
Finding Creativity, Community, and Play
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WRITING THROUGH A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
Revising the Dream
PUBLISHING A DEBUT NOVEL IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
Writers Confront Climate Crisis
Author and activist Toni Cade Bambara has said the role of the artist is “to make revolution irresistible.” So when Jenny Offill, author of the novels Dept. of Speculation (Knopf, 2014) and Weather (Knopf, 2020), heard about the work of Writers Rebel—the writers’ arm of Extinction Rebellion, an international activist group that works against climate change—she felt compelled to get involved.
A Room of (Almost) My Own
FINDING SPACE, AND PERMISSION, TO WRITE
In her third book, the essay collection girlhood, published by Bloomsbury in March, Melissa Febos transforms scars into meditations on culture and psychology.
Handyman's Hot Rod
The 1957 Chevy was anything you wanted it to be, even a baby Cadillac if you squinted just right. But if you aspired for speed, here’s how it would’ve looked when new.
THE FIGHT TO BE HEARD
A CENTURY AFTER U.S. WOMEN WON THE RIGHT TO VOTE, WE CELEBRATE THOSE COURAGEOUS ACTIVISTS AND THEIR LEGACY.
THE first homegrown peach I ever ate remains as clear in my mind as the day I ate it. Every time I eat one from the shops, I think of it; it’s like looking at a photo of the one you love when they are elsewhere.
A few weeks ago, Kent’s Morris sides were preparing for their annual highlight – May Day and the Rochester Sweeps Festival. But while this year’s events have been cancelled, the rising of the sun on the first day of May has been celebrated for centuries, and will be again.
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Childhood home to one of our most celebrated authors, with a riverside setting and ancient landmarks, here’s what to look out for when you can next visit Rochester
La Extirpación De Ovarios Puede Traer Insuficiencia Renal
Según un estudio, este tipo de cirugías durante la perimenopausia incrementa el riesgo de que las mujeres desarrollen afecciones renales crónicas.
Walking With Writers
Join us on a literary journey around the Kent coast to see how it has inspired writers over the centuries