Small Press Points: BOAAT Press

From the March/April 2019 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

When poet Sean Shearer started BOAAT Press in 2014, he wanted to combine his two loves: poetry and book arts. “Our aim was to create something beautiful as well as meaningful by publishing emerging writers and housing their words inside our signature books,” says managing editor Catherine Bresner, who joined the staff in 2015. That signature style is part of what has set BOAAT apart from the beginning: The press’s first titles, all chapbooks made from materials such as banana peels, seaweed, Spanish moss, cotton linters, and construction paper, resemble tidal waves, the seashore, or other nautical scenes. The editors even constructed some books out of wood to look like miniature docks, complete with fishing net and seashells. “These books don’t belong on bookshelves,” writes Shearer on the press’s website. “They belong out in the open, plopped on desks and coffee tables to turn heads and wow anyone in the room.” Today, in addition to handmade books, BOAAT publishes one traditionally bound chapbook and up to two full-length books each year through its two annual contests. The press also publishes BOAAT Journal, edited by poet sam sax, which has published up-and-coming poets including Cortney Lamar Charleston, Jameson Fitzpatrick, Emily Skaja, and Chelsea Dingman. The press’s forthcoming titles include Alison Stagner’s The Thing That Brought the Shadow Here, which Nick Flynn selected as winner of the 2018 book prize, and Alycia Pirmohamed’s Faces That Fled the Wind, which Camille Rankine chose as winner of the 2018 chapbook prize. Submissions to BOAAT Journal are open year-round; submissions for both the chapbook prize and book prize are open during the month of April.