Anhinga Press began in 1972 as an outgrowth of the activities of Apalachee Poetry Center, a non-profit organization promoting the reading and understanding of poetry by bringing artists and writers together. In 1976, founder and poet Van Brock sought to expand the scope of the press by publishing chapbooks of individual poets. From 1976 through 1981, Anhinga published eight chapbooks of local poets living and writing in Florida, including the work of David Kirby and Sam Harrison.
In 1981, Anhinga published its first full-length volume of poems, Counting the Grasses, by Michael Mott, a poet of national stature. Books by Leon Stokesbury and Rick Lott were released soon after, helping establish the emerging press as a publisher of the highest quality of poems.
The Anhinga Prize for Poetry was established in 1983. It was renamed the Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize for Poetry in 2010, in honor of the late poet whose relatonship with Anhinga Press was so important over the years. The original prize was $500 and publication of the winning manuscript. The Prize has grown and now offers a cash prize of $2000 and publication. The winning manuscript is chosen by a poet of distinguished achievement. Winners include Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Sherry Rind, Judith Kitchen, Robert J. Levy, Will Wells, Juliane Seeman, Nick Bozanic, Jean Monahan, Earl S. Braggs, Janet Holmes, Frank X. Gaspar, Ann Neelon, Keith Ratzlaff, Fleda Brown, Deborah Landau, and others. Our Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize judges have included William Stafford, Denise Levertov, Henry Taylor, Louis Simpson, Hayden Carruth, Donald Hall, Marvin Bell, Joy Harjo, and Robert Dana. The stature of the Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize has increased each year, as evidenced through the increasing number of participants. The Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize winner and other Anhinga Press books are regularly reviewed in such journals as the Georgia Review, Choice, and The Bloomsbury Review.
In addition to the annual contest, Anhinga continues to publish a variety of poetry which the Board deems of the highest literary merit. Books published by Anhinga often have a distinct regional flavor, which is best represented in its anthology North of Wakulla, a collection of writers living in Tallahassee, many of whom were or are affliated with Florida State University's Creative Writing Program and also appear in Isle of Flowers: Poems by Florida's Individual Artist Fellows.
In 1997, Anhinga began sponsoring the Van K. Brock Florida Poetry Series to recognize Florida poets who are on the brink of national acclaim. Beginning in 2002, we also began co-sponsoring (with California State University, Fresno) the Levine Prize in Poetry.
In addition to the various book series, Anhinga continues its tradition of over 30 years by publishing other books by poets of national stature. We're proud to be the publishers of later books by numerous poets who had earlier won the Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize or otherwise been affiliated with the press, including Van Brock, Earl S. Braggs, Keith Ratzlaff, and Robert Dana himself. We recently published Snakebird, a 30-year retrospective of poets who have contributed to the Anhinga legacy.
Anhinga Press is administered by a Board of Directors comprising individuals from diverse backgrounds who are commonly linked to the mission of the press.
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