Boise State University’s Ahsahta Press has been awarded its first-ever National Endowment for the Arts grant. The grant will help fund an anthology of postmodern pastoral poetry titled “The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral.”
“This is our first anthology and our first NEA grant and it represents a huge breakthrough for us,” said Ahsahta Press director and editor Janet Holmes. “Because of the NEA support, we’re able to take on this large project in addition to our usual publishing schedule. Our aim is to have it ready for fall adoptions for poetry and literature courses next year.”
Ahsahta’s NEA proposal for the $7,500 grant was to support the publication, promotion and website development for an anthology of poetry that documents postmodernism’s intersection with the pastoral and the latter’s changing definition. An online component, featuring new media work and teaching aids to accompany the book, also is part of the project. Edited by poets Joshua Corey of Lake Forest College in Illinois and G.C. Waldrep of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, its contributors include Rae Armantrout, Oni Buchanan, Thalia Field, C.S. Giscombe, Sarah Gridley, Brenda Hillman, K. Silem Mohammad, Ed Roberson, Arthur Sze, Brian Teare and C.D. Wright.
Ahsahta is a Mandan word meaning “Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep” and was first recorded by members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Ahsahta Press is a not-for-profit literary publisher, founded at Boise State to preserve the best works by early poets of the American West, including many under-published women poets.
Soon after its inception, the press began publishing contemporary poetry by Western poets along with its reprint titles. With the inception of the MFA in Creative Writing at Boise State, Ahsahta Press expanded its scope, presenting the work of poets from across the nation whose work is selected through a national competition or by general submission. Ahsahta Press seeks out and publishes the best new poetry from an eclectic range of aesthetics—poetry that is technically accomplished, distinctive in style and thematically fresh.