The Before Columbus Foundation (BCF) was founded in 1976 “dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of contemporary American multicultural literature.” Their annual award, the American Book Award, is given by writers to other writers. Though not as well known as the National Book Award, winning this award puts you in august company. Previous recipients of the American Book Award include Edward Said, Joy Harjo, and Toni Morrison. Current members of BCF’s board of directors include Ishmael Reed, Joy Harjo, and other respected writers.
This year’s awards were recently announced. Poet Everett Hoagland won an award for his recent collection of poetry, The Ways: Poems of Affirmation, Reflection and Wonder (North Star Nova Press, 2022); other award winners included Maxine Hong Kingston and bell hooks.
Some of the poems in Everett’s collection appeared in UU World magazine; Everett’s a member of First Unitarian in New Bedford, Mass. I got to see the book in manuscript, and loved it (Everett even invited me to write the foreword). Also, there are plenty of poems here that would work well in a Unitarian Universalist worship service, so if you’re a minister or religious educator you might want to pick up a copy.
Unfortunately, about the only place you can buy the book is through Amazon. My spouse the writer does Not Like Amazon, so I won’t provide a link here. But you can easily find it. Go buy a copy. You’ll be glad you did.