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. Read our 2021 Annual Report here.
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.
“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
Rebecca Olander took the helm at Perugia Press in 2016 after serving as a longtime reader, judge, and board member. She also teaches writing at Amherst College and Westfield State University and works with poets in the Maslow Family Graduate Program at Wilkes University. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has published a chapbook, Dressing the Wounds (dgp, 2019), and a full-length collection, Uncertain Acrobats (CavanKerry, 2021), a MA Book Award finalist. To learn more about her work, visit: rebeccahartolander.com.
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 enjoys creative projects and volunteering with the Center for New Americans, the Welcome Home Refugee Resettlement program, and Happier Valley Comedy Theater.
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.
Amy Dryansky’s second poetry collection, Grass Whistle (Salmon Poetry), received the MA Book Award. Her first book, How I Got Lost So Close to Home, won the New England/New York Award from Alice James Books. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has received fellowships/honors from the MA Cultural Council, MacDowell Colony, and Bread Loaf. She teaches creative writing and works as a grant writer for a conservation organization. To learn more about her work, visit: amydryansky.com.
Shanta Lee is a writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, and journalism, and a visual artist and public intellectual actively participating in the cultural discourse with work that has been widely featured. Shanta Lee is the author of the poetry collection GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues, winner of the 2020 Diode Press book prize and the 2021 Vermont Book Award. Her latest illustrated poetry collection, Black Metamorphoses (Etruscan Press, 2023), was named a finalist in the 2021 Hudson prize, shortlisted for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize, and longlisted for the 2021 Idaho Poetry Prize. Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine, her latest exhibition featuring her short film, interviews, photography, and more has been on view at the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum of Art. To learn more about her work, visit: shantalee.com.
Arya Samuelson is a writer and editor living in Northampton, MA. She is the winner of CutBank‘s Montana Prize in Non-Fiction awarded by Cheryl Strayed, and her writing has also appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Columbia Journal, New Delta Review, The Millions, and elsewhere. She teaches online writing workshops with Pioneer Valley Writers Workshop, LitReactor, and through her own writing platform, Writing as Ritual. She holds an MFA from Mills College in Prose and works professionally as a grant writer for social change organizations. To learn more about her work, visit: aryasamuelson.com.
Yasotha Sriharan is a poet and professor in the Pioneer Valley. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Papua New Guinea and England before immigrating to the U.S. She writes about the countries of her childhood. She teaches at Springfield Technical Community College and has taught at Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Springfield College, and other colleges in the area.
Sharon Tracey is the author of the poetry collections Land Marks (Shanti Arts, 2022), Chroma: Five Centuries of Women Artists (Shanti Arts, 2020) 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 UMass Amherst and holds an MPP from the University of California Berkeley. To learn more about her work, visit: sharontracey.com.
Beverly Army Williams is a writer, textile artist, and writing teacher at Westfield State University. Her writing has appeared in The Whale Road Review, The Ekphrastic Review, and The Dandelion Review among other places. Beverly holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico. She lives in the woods of Connecticut where she hikes daily.
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. Her next book, Blue on a Blue Palette, will be out with BOA Editions in 2024. Among other awards, Thompson received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles, the Tucson Literary Festival Poetry Prize, served as the LA Poet Laureate in 2021-2022, and was a Poet Laureate Fellow of the Academy of American Poets. Thompson serves on the boards of Cave Canem and the Los Angeles Review of Books. To learn more about her work, visit: lynnethompson.us.