Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at 7:00 PM Counterpath hosted an Ahsahta Press feature, with Ahasahta Press publisher Janet Holmes and readings by Ahsahta authors Carrie Olivia Adams, Dan Beachy-Quick, David Mutschlecner, and Kate Greenstreet. Scroll down for videos of other readers.
A not-for-profit literary publisher, Ahsahta was founded in 1974 at Boise State University to preserve the best works by early poets of the American West. Its name, ahsahta, is the Mandan word meaning “Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep,” and was first recorded by members of the Lewis and Clark expedition; the founding editors chose the word to honor the press’s original mission to publish Western poetry. Peggy Pond Church, H.L. Davis, Hazel Hall, Gwendolen Haste, Haniel Long, and Norman Macleod are among the early Western writers Ahsahta Press restored to print.
Soon after its inception, the press began publishing contemporary poetry by Western poets along with its reprint titles. Ahsahta editors discovered and initially published a number of widely popular poets from the West—among them David Baker, Katharine Coles, Wyn Cooper, Gretel Ehrlich, Cynthia Hogue, Leo Romero, and Carolyne Wright. With the inception of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at Boise State University, Ahsahta Press expanded its scope, presenting the work of poets from across the nation whose work is selected through national competitions or by general submission.
Through the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing, Ahsahta gives graduate students enrolled in publishing courses the opportunity for hands-on experience in the daily business of a small press, including initial manuscript readings, pre-press production, and marketing tasks. An undergraduate internship is available each semester as well for qualified students.
Janet Holmes is author of five books of poems, most recently The ms of my kin (Shearsman, 2009) and F2F (University of Notre Dame Press). Her work has received the Chad Walsh Prize, the Ernest Sandeen Award, the Minnesota Book Award, the Anhinga Prize, the Pablo Neruda Award, and grants from the Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, the Loft, the Minnesota Arts Board and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. With an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College and a B.A. from Duke University, she teaches poetry writing and form and theory in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing. She is director and editor of Ahsahta Press, an all-poetry independent press at Boise State University, and has taught at the university since 1999.
Carrie Olivia Adams is a book publicist by day who at night names her poems for drinks at her favorite Windy City cocktail bar. Despite having perfected the art of procrastination through elaborate cooking projects that involve cheese incubators and 5-gallon water baths, she has somehow authored two books of poetry—Intervening Absence and the forthcoming Forty-One Jane Doe’s. She is learning Japanese in the hope of one day becoming a cartoon samurai.
Dan Beachy-Quick is the author of five books of poetry: Circle’s Apprentice, North True South Bright, Spell, Mulberry, and This Nest, Swift Passerine; five chapbooks: Apology for the Book of Creatures, Overtakelesness, Heroisms, Canto, and Mobius Crowns (the latter two both written in collaboration with the poet Srikanth Reddy); and a book of interlinked essays on Moby-Dick: A Whaler’s Dictionary. Reddy and Beachy-Quick’s collaboration has recently been released as a full-length collection, Conversities, from 1913 Press. Milkweed Editions has also published a new collection of essays, meditations, and tales, Wonderful Investigations. He is a contributing editor for the journals A Public Space, Dear Navigator, and West Branch. After graduating from the University of Denver, he attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He has taught at Grinnell College, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently teaching in the MFA Writing Program at Colorado State University. His work has been a finalist for the Colorado Book Award, the William Carlos Williams Prize, and the PEN/USA Literary Award in Poetry. He is the recipient of a Lannan Foundation residency, and taught as Visiting Faculty at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in spring 2010.
David Mutschlecner is author of Esse (Ahsahta, 2013) and a previous collection, Veils (Stride Press, 1999), as well as the chapbook Qualities of Resonance (Paradox Press, 1990). His degrees from Indiana University and St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, reflect his continuing interest in Thomistic metaphysics and poetry. He lives in New Mexico and makes his living in the grocery business.
Kate Greenstreet‘s new book Young Tambling is just out from Ahsahta Press. Her previous books are case sensitive and The Last 4 Things, also with Ahsahta. Her poetry can be found in Colorado Review, Boston Review, Volt, Fence, Chicago Review, and other journals.