Robert Alexander first conceived of the Marie Alexander poetry series while he was a contributing editor at New Rivers Press. He had just finished editing, along with Mark Vinz and Bill Truesdale, an anthology of prose poems (The Party Train, 1996), a project which grew out of work he had done as a graduate student in the early 1980s. Since there were few other publishers willing to take a chance on such an unconventional poetic form, he felt that New Rivers would do well to follow up the anthology with a series which focused on single-author collection of prose poems.
The first book in the series, Traffic: New & Selected Prose Poems, by Jack Anderson, was published in 1998, followed in succeeding years by Your Sun, Manny, by Marie Harris, and Northern Latitudes, by Lawrence Millman. When New Rivers Press ran into financial difficulties and had to suspend operations in early 2001, Dennis Maloney at White Pine Press was kind enough to adopt the series. (White Pine had already published Peter Johnson's The Prose Poem, an International Anthology, as well as several other books of prose poetry.) In this way we were able to keep the series going in a timely fashion, bringing out one collection annually. Currently, the series has over 21 books under contract or in print.
Since its inception, the series has become somewhat broader: we now also accept manuscripts which mix prose poems with free verse, with the hope that the contrasting poetic forms might help cast light on the subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences between prose and verse. In addition, we are now also open to collections of flash fiction, short lyrical essays, and other hybrid forms. It is our mission to publish the very best contemporary prose poetry and to carry the rich tradition of this hybrid form on into the 21st century.
The series is named in honor of Robert Alexander's mother, who died in 1996.
Robert Alexander grew up in Massachusetts. He attended the University of Wisconsin, and for several years taught in the Madison public schools. After receiving his Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, he worked for many years as a freelance editor. From 1993-1999, he was a consulting editor at New Rivers Press, and from 1999-2001 he served as New Rivers' creative director. He has published three books of poetry and two books book of creative nonfiction, and has edited or co-edited five anthologies of prose poems and flash fiction. He divides his time between southern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. More at www.robertalexander.info
Nickole Brown received her MFA from the Vermont College, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She worked at Sarabande Books for ten years. Her first collection, Sister, a novel-in-poems, was first published in 2007 by Red Hen Press and a new edition will be reissued by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2018. Her second book, a biography-in-poems called Fanny Says, came out from BOA Editions in 2015 and won the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Poetry. The audio book of that collection became available in 2017. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for four years until she gave up her beloved time in the classroom in hope of writing full time. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council. Currently, she is the Editor for the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and teaches periodically at a number of places, including the Sewanee School of Letters MFA Program, the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNCA, and the Hindman Settlement School. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC, where she volunteers at four different animal sanctuaries. www.nickolebrown.com