History and Mission
OUR MISSION: Ahsahta Press champions and promotes surprising, relevant, and accessible experimental poetry that more commercially minded small presses avoid; in making it widely available, we aim to increase its readership.
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 our 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.
Ahsahta Press is grateful for the support it receives from donors through the Boise State University Foundation. To make a donation to Ahsahta Press, visit the Boise State Foundation page for Ahsahta Press, here.
ahsahta [at] boisestate.edu
Janet Holmes, Director and Editor
Dawn Brown, faculty support staff
Randy Tucker, accounts manager
Jerri Benson (intern), Chris Caruso, Zeke Hudson, Stepha Peters, Indrani Sengupta, Elizabeth Smith, Zach Vesper, and Michael Wanzenreid.
Chris Caruso, Charles Gabel, Zeke Hudson, Amanda Huston (intern), Torin Jensen, Genevieve Kohlhardt, Stepha Peters, Laura Roghaar, Indrani Sengupta, Elizabeth Smith, Michael Wanzenreid, and Megan Williams.
Shalom Pennington and Michael Lopez at Boise State Printing & Graphics. Thanks!
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