The Press

Alice James Books is a nationally acclaimed nonprofit cooperative poetry press. It was named for Alice James, sister of William and Henry James, whose fine journal and gift for writing went unrecognized in her lifetime. Founded in 1973 by five women and two men, the objective of the press was to give women’s literature better representation and involve authors in the publishing process. While Alice James Books has a strong history of publishing women’s poetry, it encourages submissions from all interested poets. After twenty-one years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Alice James Book affiliated with the University of Maine at Farmington and moved to this small community in the western Maine mountains in September 1994.

The cooperative, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2003, has grown into a national community of poets who have participated as past collective members, as well as those who are actively engaged in the publication of books and operations of the press. Members have been recipients of the American Book Award, and Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Many Alice James Books authors have achieved national prominence, including Jane Kenyon, Jean Valentine, Fanny Howe, and B.H. Fairchild, who was a National Book Award finalist and was awarded the Arthur Rense Poetry Prize for consistent excellence over a long career.

Recent Alice James Books titles have been reviewed in The New Yorker, ALA Booklist, Ms. Harvard Review, Calyx, Ploughshares, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, Library Journal, Poetry, Publishers Weekly, and other publications. Alice James Books itself has been featured in such magazines as Ms., Poets & Writers, Slate, and Poetry Daily. For further information, visit their website.

The Apprenticeships

In the field of small press publishing, Alice James Books is widely recognized for excellence in poetry publishing. Your training at AJB will not only enrich your college education, but improve your future employment opportunities. An internship at AJB will set you apart as a distinguished individual to both graduate schools and employers. AJB internships have helped UMF graduates to find jobs in publishing, advertising, graphic arts, the nonprofit sector, and other fields. Experience gained here can benefit you for years to come.

The overall responsibilities of every intern include, answering the telephone and correspondence; taking book orders; communicating with poets, vendors, and other publishing professionals and the general public; design of advertisements with Adobe PageMaker or Quark XPress; and providing a first impression of the press to callers.

Additional intern projects include:

  • Editing and designing the AJB newsletter
  • Designing advertisements
  • Designing seasonal catalogs
  • Coordinating poetry readings
  • Introducing poets at readings
  • Writing press releases
  • Coordinating manuscript submissions
  • Writing advertising copy
  • Interviewing poets
  • Processing book orders
  • Creating press kits

Beginning and advanced internships are available to students at UMF during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Internships, worth four college credits, require that a student work at Alice James Books at least nine hours a week. The Creative Writing major requires an internship; many of these are completed through AJB. Internships are competitive: students should apply during registration week for the following semester. While all students are welcome to apply, preference is usually given to juniors and seniors with successful completion of a composition class or its equivalent. No prior experience in the publishing field is required, however, a background in writing, computers, or communications is an asset.

Alice James Books and the Sandy River Review

Alice James Books and the Humanities Department co-sponsor two internships for course credit per semester with The Sandy River Review, UMF’s annual print literary journal since 1982. Each semester two new coeditors are chosen jointly by Alice James Books and the Humanities Department at UMF. The Department supervises the editorial aspects of journal publication and AJB oversees its design and production. Both coeditors complete a year-long internship and work as partners in all aspects of the journal’s publication.

In addition to the Sandy River Review, UMF now publishes The River, an online extension of The Sandy that continuously publishes contemporary literature, art, and podcasts. UMF sponsors two River internships per semester for course credit.