About the Press

Perugia Press, founded in 1997, is a nonprofit press that publishes one beautifully designed book each year: the winner of the Perugia Press Prize, our annual national contest for first or second books of poetry by women. Our mission is to support and promote women’s voices in print, and we aim to expand the audience for poetry by making books that welcome longtime readers of poetry and those new to poetry. We celebrate and promote our poets, and poetry, whenever we can, through social media, and at local, regional, and national book fairs, readings, and events. We also maintain resources for educators who would like to incorporate our books into their curricula.

At Perugia Press, we are doing our part to tip the scales of gender inequity in poetry into balance. Our books have won many acclaimed post-publication prizes, including the James Laughlin Award/Academy of American Poets, the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award, the PEN Center USA Award, and the Publishing Triangle Audre Lorde Poetry Prize, among others.

Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

77%
men

23%
women

Nobel Prize in Literature (Poetry Category)

88%
men

12%
women

National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry

62%
men

38%
women

Poets Laureate of the United States

73%
men

27%
women

“Perugia Press has been quietly building an extraordinary list of poets and publishing them in beautiful books. The future of American poetry literally depends on this kind of dedication and effort.”

Chase Twichell

Perugia Press & Its Poets: On the Power of Women’s Voices & Poetry

This documentary short by filmmaker Kate Way captures conversations with our poets and editors and scenes from our twentieth anniversary reading and writing workshops at Smith College.

Board of Directors

Rebecca Olander

Editor and Director

Rebecca Olander took the helm at Perugia in 2016, after serving as a longtime volunteer reader, judge, and board member. She also teaches writing at Westfield State University. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has published a chapbook, Dressing the Wounds (dgp, 2019), and has a forthcoming collection, Uncertain Acrobats (CKP, 2021). Her favorite things include reading, creating collage and collaborative writing, her family and friends, and the ocean.

Susan Kan

Founder

Susan Kan is the founder and former director of Perugia Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She has been reading poetry since she could read Dr. Seuss. She spends time fretting about global problems while on long swims, short runs, or while walking her dog in the woods. She also enjoys creative and volunteer projects. As an animal rights activist, she serves on the board of directors for the Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

Jean Blakeman

Jean Blakeman is a poet and editor. Her poems have appeared in Silkworm, Compass Roads, and 56 Days of August. She was a longtime board member of Center for New Americans, an adult education center supporting the immigrant, refugee, and migrant communities in Western MA, where she served in officer roles and on the advisory committee for its annual “30 Poems in November!” literary fundraiser. In addition to poetry, her interests include knitting, swimming, and baseball.

Sarah Sousa

Sarah Sousa is the author of the poetry collections See the Wolf, Split the Crow, and Church of Needles, and the chapbooks Yell and Hex. Her poems have appeared in Massachusetts Review, North American Review, Southern Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and Tupelo Quarterly, among others, and she founded Queen of Cups. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Bennington College. Her honors include a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship and a MA Cultural Council Fellowship.

Sharon Tracey

Sharon Tracey is the author of the poetry collections Chroma (Shanti Arts, forthcoming) and What I Remember Most Is Everything. Her poems have appeared in The Worcester Review, Mom Egg Review, The Ekphrastic Review, and elsewhere, and she is on the editorial team for Silkworm. She served as a director of research communications and environmental programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She holds an MPP from the University of California Berkeley.

Beverly Army Williams

Beverly Army Williams is a writer, multi-media artist, freelance editor, grant writer, and writing teacher at Westfield State University. Her work has appeared in The Dandelion Review, Knitty.com, Interweave Crochet, and Project 333, among other places. She is co-founder and co-editor of the webzine MotherShould.com, “where being on the fence about motherhood makes sense.” She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico.


Lynne Thompson

Poet Liaison to the Board

Lynne Thompson’s Beg No Pardon won the Perugia Press Prize in 2007 and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award in 2008. She’s also the author of Start With A Small Guitar (2013) and Fretwork (2019), winner of the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize. Among other awards, Thompson received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles. Thompson serves on the boards of Cave Canem and the Los Angeles Review of Books and is Chair of the Board of Trustees, Scripps College.

Community Partnerships