FARMINGTON – Alice James Books recently received the Golden Colophon Award for Paradigm Independent Publishing from the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses earlier this month; the award is given to publication houses that display exemplary and innovative works to the publishing field.
Executive Editor and Director Carey Salerno accepted the award on behalf of the publishing house. Salerno came to work for AJB in 2008, and has written and co-written three poetry books: “Shelter, Lit From the Inside,” and “Tributary.” On top of being an active member of the writing community, she also works closely with the University of Maine at Farmington, teaching publishing and poetry writing for the BFA program.
“The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses is an organization that brings publishers and literary magazines together in community, it helps us to foster a sense of community together. It gives us opportunity to talk to one another, mentor one another, to support one another, it helps us to be in closer conversation,” Salerno said.
Collaboration is at the heart of what AJB does for artists in their community. It is a concept that Salerno and the staff at AJB firmly believe in.
“One of the things I love about AJB is our commitment to collaboration with writers. We collaborate with authors in a way that lets them have a say in their book design and production, building community instead of a transactional relationship.”
AJB started off as a feminist press in 1994, but has now expanded to include artists of all backgrounds, genders, and walks of life. For AJB, its important that they represent the urgency, and the uniqueness of voice.
“Continuing to recognize our dream of broadening our interpretation of the American voice. To continue to push at the boundary of poetry, and expand the way in which we see a poem and the ways in which we can support our authors. Thinking about what our authors need or want from a publishing house and being able to do our best to give that to them,” Salerno said, describing the future goals of AJB.
The publishing house accepts poetry works from people all over the country and publishes six books each year. The Alice James award entitles the winner with their own book publication and $2000 cash prize submissions are reviewed by the editorial board blindly. AJB has far exceeded innovation with their publications. In recent years they have published several notable poetry collections from Alice James award recipients; Rosebud Ben-Oni’s “If This is the Age We End Discovery” and Amy Woolard’s “Neck of the Woods” to name a few.
On top of receiving the award for being “indescribable,” and “validating” Salerno brings up what receiving the award means for their readers.
“It shows that they’re hungry, hungry for the work that we’re doing and that we’re on the right track.”