Nightboat Books was founded in 2003 by Kazim Ali and Jennifer Chapis, with Ali serving as the press first publisher. In 2004, the press published two chapbooks and received its non-profit status. The press published its first book, Fanny Howe’s The Lives of the Spirits/Glasstown: Where Something Got Broken in October 2005. The second book, The Truant Lover by Juliet Patterson, published in March 2006, was the first winner of the annual Nightboat Books Poetry Prize. The press has gone on to publish more than fifty titles. Stephen Motika became publisher in 2007. The press has maintained offices throughout New York state: Beacon, Cold Spring, New York City, and Callicoon. As of 2013, the press is based in New York City, with an additional office in Callicoon, NY.
The name Nightboat signifies travel, passage, and possibility—of mind and body, and of language. The night boat maneuvers in darkness at the mercy of changing currents and weather, always immersed in forces beyond itself. By our way of thinking, this image speaks directly to the creative process. Particularly in the generative stages, the writer is a navigator, a listener, a seeker of truths original to one’s individual course and vision. A writer trusts the symbiosis between body, mind, spirit, heart, and those things larger than the self. Her allegiance lies with the written word, not unlike the sailor and the sea, or the mountaineer and the mountain. The writer is the vehicle, the guide, and the terrain all in one, yet she’s none of these things.
Simultaneously lost and found, she revels in this exotic foreignness, the grace of existing between places and states of mind, and of not really belonging anywhere. Perhaps writing a book is a way of locating and capturing something that will never stop moving. Perhaps reading a book is a related gesture. It is our goal at Nightboat Books to shed enough light, so the writer and reader can find one another.