By Helene Atwan: Is it only in April that we’re supposed to appreciate poetry? After all, as this April in New England is proving beyond a doubt, it is the cruelest month. But maybe that’s why we need poetry . . . Now, more than ever, we’ve discovered that we need poetry not just to delight and uplift us, but to teach us, to show us.
Today, on the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, we honor his legacy. We reached out to some of our authors and staff members to reflect on the impact of his global vision for social justice and his tireless work in the civil rights movement. We share their commemorative responses with you below.
By Helene AtwanAh, April. No, it’s not the cruelest month at all; in fact, it’s the month when we celebrate poetry, and given all the other things that are going on in our country at the moment, it’s a gift to be able to turn to the comforts and joys that poetry offers. For Beacon, though, poetry isn’t just about offering those gifts. We view poetry as an important and effective voice for addressing issues of social justice, for underlining the importance of a community devoted to equity and building a just society. Another way, a very compelling way, of speaking truth to power.
By Helene AtwanWe received news of the death of Nancy Mairs just yesterday. All of us at Beacon, including her first editor, Andy Hrycyna, so valued Nancy’s voice, as an accomplished essayist, as a pioneer in writing about women, about faith, about social justice, and about disability: always fearlessly, always with crystal clarity. She was also a tireless activist, attending demonstrations even when she had lost significant mobility. Everyone who knew her was surprised by her frank, unsentimental assessment of life from “waist-high,” by her generosity and humor, by her insightful and unabashed ability to speak the truth in essays of brilliance. All of us lucky enough to have spent time in her company will always treasure those times.
Q&A with Helene Atwan Photo credit: Bob Kosturko What has been Beacon’s relationship with poetry? For the past decade or more, Beacon’s poetry program, such as it was, focused largely on two key poets we have published over many years,...
Beacon director Helene Atwan remembers Lillian B. Rubin, sociologist, psychotherapist, bestselling author, and friend.
Beacon Press unveils a new logo to commemorate 160 years of publishing groundbreaking, thought-provoking books, and guide readers to the issues, ideas, and values that will ignite their hearts and minds.
Beacon's Director, Helene Atwan, fondly remembers last month's Miami Book Fair and all the great writers—and food and drinks—she encountered there.
Judge Nancy Gertner discusses her life as a defense lawyer, what it meant to her to defend women, and the different paths Gertner and Justice Sotomayor took to becoming judges.
While one man and his small group of followers talk about burning copies of Islam's holy book, America's secular and religious communities speak up in solidarity.
Beacon staff returns from a productive and photogenic BookExpo America!
Beacon Press director Helene Atwan offers this remembrance of historian, author, playwright, social activist, and friend Howard Zinn.
A note from Beacon Press director Helene Atwan about the recent deaths of two Beacon authors.
Today's post is from Helene Atwan, Director of Beacon Press. She recently attended the 75th birthday celebration of Sonia Sanchez, an award-winning poet, playwright, activist, and scholar whose work includes Shake Loose My Skin and the forthcoming Morning Haiku. On...
An excerpt from Beacon Press Director Helene Atwan's remarks at the announcement of The King Legacy, a new partnership between Beacon Press and the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr.
A statement regarding recent cancellations of events featuring Beacon Press author Bill Ayers.
I'm proud to note that Beacon Broadside is celebrating its first birthday this week—what a milestone. All our metrics are strong—measures I didn't even know existed a year ago but which I now follow avidly. Thanks to a dedicated and very talented blog editor, Jessie Bennett, and especially to a tremendously creative and generous list of house authors and friends, we have a very deep archive of posts on almost any subject of interest to Americans who are drawing breath in the 21st century. This fall also happens to mark my 32nd year in book publishing, and my 13th as director of Beacon. I think I value the blog so much because it is so radically different from anything I could imagine back when I was banging out letters to authors on a Selectric, with white-out smudges betraying my all-too-frequent typos.
Several weeks ago, in the midst of National Poetry Month, I made an impulsive decision to drive out from Boston to Syracuse, New York, for a poetry reading. Mary Oliver was scheduled to fly from Logan for that reading, but I thought if I offered to intercept her on the connection from Provincetown and drive, it would give us some precious hours to talk and allow me the rare treat of hearing Mary read—an opportunity one should never pass up. Mary graciously accepted the offer of a ride and, as luck almost never has it, it was a beautiful early spring day when we set out for our five hour road trip.
by Helene Atwan I have the honor to serve as the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award administrator for PEN-NE (please visit the web site if you don’t know this wonderful organization, devoted to the causes of literacy and freedom of expression). Last...
First and foremost for a publishing house, of course, are the books: in the reflection bank, the books we published in 2007; in the resolutions file, those we look forward to publishing in 2008. For any of you unfortunate enough...