The Before Columbus Foundation has announced the Winners of the Thirty-Eighth Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS, which respect and honor excellence in American literature without restriction or bias with regard to race, sex, creed, cultural origin, size of press or ad budget, or even genre.

Among this year’s 18 winners are poets Holly J. Hughes, Passings (Expedition Press); Solmaz Sharif, Look (Graywolf Press); and Adam Soldofsky, Memory Foam (Disorder Press). The Lifetime Achievement award went to poet/writer/educator/activist Nancy Mercado, and the Editor/Publisher Award went to Ammiel Alcalay, General Editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative.

The Award winners will be formally recognized at a free public event on Sunday, October 22, 2017, from 12:00-2:30 p.m. at the SF Jazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab, 201 Franklin Street, San Francisco, California. See the complete list of ABA winners on the Before Columbus Foundation website.


Expedition Press

On Sunday, May 22, 2016, poet Holly J. Hughes will offer a reading from her brand new chapbook, Passings (Expedition Press). Of her book, Holly Hughes says,

“This is a collection of poems I began years ago with a poem for Martha, the last passenger pigeon. That lead to another and another….with the result that this collection brings together poems about fifteen extinct birds, from the dodo to the O’o. I added a preface to provide context and an afterword with information on what we can do to protect the species that remain. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Expedition Press in Kingston, who published it in two limited editions: a trade copy bound by hand with a letterpress cover on recycled paper and a deluxe copy with covers of handmade paper and an archival slip case.”

Join Holly J. Hughes and friends on the 22nd at 4:00pm at Village Books.
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last minute!

February 28, 2016

Raising Lilly Ledbetter

Today, Sunday, February 28, 2016, at 3:00pm, Carolyne Wright, Holly Hughes, Lyn Coffin, and Mary Ellen Talley will read from the book Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Worksplace (Lost Horse Press). This free reading will take place at Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island. See additional details in the Bainbridge Island Review.

Getaway: nature, breath, words

September 23, 2015

North Cascades Institute

If poetry and meditation amidst the autumnal beauty of the North Cascades sounds intriguing, consider spending two days at the North Cascades Institute for “Sit, Walk, Write: Nature and the Practice of Presence.” Meditation teacher and author Kurt Hoelting and writing teacher and poet Holly J. Hughes will guide participants through a variety of activities that include plenty of time for hiking and relaxation. The retreat will be held Friday, October 23 through Sunday, October 25, 2015. See more and register on the NCI website.


October 16, 2013


Hypatia-in-the-Woods, a non-profit retreat and resource center for women, is located on three wooded acres outside of Shelton, Washington. Women artists and academics can apply for a stay of one to four weeks at the Holly House residence to work on a project that forwards their lives and careers.

Recent poets-in-residence have included Shannon Camlin Ward, Laura Snyder and Holly J. Hughes. Read brief notes about the experience from Shannon Ward and Holly Hughes. Learn more about Hypatia-in-the-Woods on the website and on Facebook.

poetry prompts…17

September 11, 2012

inspirationJust in case you’re on the verge of running out of ideas, here’s another installation of Poetry Prompts, an occasional review of links where you’ll find ideas to fuel your writing.

On her author site, Magic in the Backyard, Kellie Elmore offers a “Prompt Playground” with “various challenges to keep your muse entertained.”

We’ve mentioned PoeWar before but a collection of 30 prompts has been added since our previous post. Find it here.

On, the study guide, “Additional Poetry Exercises Help,” offers eight detailed exercises excerpted from the book Creative Writing Demystified, including some by Susan Rich, Michael Dylan Welch and Holly Hughes.

You can also peruse our earlier posts tagged Poetry Prompts.

Happy writing!

The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy WorldCongratulations to Brenda Miller and Holly J. Hughes, whose co-authored book, The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World, is hot off the press from Skinner House Books.

What started as an exchange of letters about writing and contemplation has evolved into a reflective and inspiring book that demonstrates the importance of contemplation as “an active practice” that directly benefits one’s writing.

The authors will read from and talk about The Pen and the Bell at a book launch on Sunday, May 20, 2012, at 4:00pm, at Village Books, in Bellingham. Learn more and join the event on Facebook.

Brenda Miller, who is a Professor of English at Western Washington University and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Bellingham Review, is the recipient of six Pushcart Prizes and author of Listening Against the Stone (Skinner House Books, 2011), Blessing of the Animals (EWU Press, 2009), Season of the Body (Sarabande Books, 2002), and co-author of Tell it Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction (McGraw-Hill, 2003 and 2012). Learn more at her website or her blog, Spa of the Mind.

Holly J. Hughes is the editor of the anthology Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press) and the author of Boxing the Compass (Floating Bridge Press). She teaches writing at Edmonds Community College.

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