This is a guest post by Glenn “Chip” Hughes

First Glimpse of Swallows is the fifth book of Robert Sund’s poetry to be published posthumously. Lovingly printed and hand-bound in an edition of one hundred seventy-five copies by Sam and Sally Green of Brooding Heron Press (Waldron Island), it brings together twenty previously uncollected poems of the Northwest poet and painter, who died in late 2001.

Before his death, Sund named Tim McNulty (whose poetry and nature writings are widely known) and myself to be his literary co-executors. Singly and together as editors, between 2002 and 2012 we saw four books through publication, including 2004’s Poems from Ish River Country: Collected Poems & Translations.

During years of sifting through Sund’s journals, letters, and papers, which now reside in Special Collections at the University of Washington Library, we would occasionally find a stray poem of impressive quality, perhaps published in a regional newspaper, perhaps casually calligraphed on a piece of paper. To use a metaphor of Rabbe Enckell’s — a Swedish poet whose work Sund loved and translated — these poems were like matchsticks: each one suddenly lit up Robert and whatever he was writing about, making them present.

So, after the other books had been completed, we edited and sequenced what we thought to be the best of these poems, finishing the work in 2016. Soon after, Sam and Sally Green told us that Brooding Heron Press wished to honor Sund’s lifetime of gifts to the poetry community by publishing them in a chapbook.

First Glimpse of Swallows more than fulfills expectations. Not only are the poems a treasure saved from obscurity, but the features of the physical book — the dimensions, design, paper, font, open space, binding, embossed cover, and overall feel — serve them with the beauty and taste that has always been characteristic of Brooding Heron Press.

“How many are out here,” Robert asks, “listening to the moon?”

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More information on Robert Sund.
Brooding Heron Press does not have a website, but ordering information is provided below.
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Glenn “Chip” Hughes is the author of the poetry chapbooks Sleeping At the Open Window (2005) and Erato: Twenty Elegies (2010), both from Pecan Grove Press, and the poetry booklet Preparing to Wake Up (Longhouse, 2021). His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, and many other journals. He edited Robert Sund’s Taos Mountain: Poems and Paintings (2007), and with Tim McNulty coedited Notes From Disappearing Lake: The River Journals of Robert Sund (2012). He has also authored, edited, or coedited eleven books of philosophy. He can be found online at

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The following information is provided courtesy of Brooding Heron Press:

Copies of this book were printed on a 1920 C&P treadle-operated platen press & stitched into paper wrappers. Text paper is Mohawk Superfine; cover is Stonehenge. The type is 12 pt. Bembo cast by McKenzie-Harris & set by hand. The decorative elements on cover & title page were taken from an original calligraphed poem given by Robert as a gift to the publishers.

Paper: $25

Send orders by email to:

We will ship the books via media mail with a tracking number. When we know they have arrived, we will send an invoice via email, which will include Washington sales tax where applicable, as well as a shipping & handling fee of $5.

honoring Robert Sund

November 21, 2019

The Empty Bowl Poetry Reading Series (fourth Fridays in Anacortes) will honor the life and work of Robert Sund this Friday, November 22, 2019, 7:00pm, at Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse. Nice venue, good company, fine readers. Stop by.

next Friday in Anacortes

November 23, 2018

Enjoy a congenial evening in Anacortes at The Annual Celebration of the Poetry and Music of Robert Sund on Friday, November 30, 2018, 7:00pm, at Pelican Bay Books. Featured poets Georgia Johnson, Chip Hughes, Jeff Langlow, Jane Alynn, Michael Daley, and Costa Lavigne-Thomas, will be joined by musicians Jeff Winston and Brad Killion.

Friday in Anacortes

December 14, 2017

Join with other fine poets this Friday, December 15, 2017, at Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse in Anacortes, as friends of Robert Sund gather for an evening of poetry and music. Featured poets include Georgia Johnson, John Brooks, Jeff Langlow, Brad Killion, Jeff Winston, and more.

Robert Sund appreciation

July 11, 2016

A Flutter of Birds
A couple of months ago, we mentioned the new book, A Flutter of Birds Passing through Heaven: a Tribute to Robert Sund, edited by Allen Frost and Paul Piper. This week, Frost and Piper and other contributors to the tribute volume will be reading at Village Books in Fairhaven (Bellingham). Mark your calendar for Thursday, July 14, 2016, 7:00pm, and join in an appreciation of this Pacific Northwest legend. The reading is free and copies of the book will be available for purchase.

A Flutter of BirdsA Flutter of Birds Passing through Heaven: a Tribute to Robert Sund, edited by Allen Frost and Paul Piper, has just been published and is available from Amazon for $20. Local bookstores will stock it soon.

This book, a tribute to the Skagit poet Robert Sund, contains poetry, reminiscences, art, anecdotes, essays, photographs and more from over 35 contributors, and includes work by such luminaries as Robert Bly, Gary Snyder and our own Jim Bertolino.

Robert Sund was considered to be the informal poet laureate of Washington State for a number of years, and was truly a great poet of place. Keep an ear out (and watch the Calendar) for readings that will accompany the launch.

Read a review of A Flutter of Birds in the New York Journal of Books.

Ish River and the Anchor

December 5, 2013

Anchor Art Space, AnacortesEach year, during the dark months of winter, poets and friends gather for the Ish River Poets Circle in a tradition started by Robert Sund in the early 1980s.

The December gathering, on Sunday, December 15, 2013, 3:00-5:00pm, will feature poets Jane Alynn, Caleb Barber and Jennifer Bullis plus a musical intermission with Brad Killion and Jeff Winston. The poets will gather at Anchor Art Space in Anacortes, which has been transformed for the season into a holiday gift store filled with one-of-a-kind, affordable, unusual and highly crafted artwork.

a busy day for poetry…

November 10, 2013

Skagit River Poetry
Today, Sunday, November 10, 2013, is packed with options for the poetry-hungry. We have already mentioned Like a Planet: Poetry Writing Workshop taught by James Bertolino in conjunction with the Vanishing Ice exhibit at the Whatcom Museum. That’s from 1:00-5:00pm in Bellingham.

We’ve also mentioned SpeakEasy 12: Poetry of War, a reading in which poets reflect on the experience of war. That’s at 7:00pm in Bellingham.

Now add to the mix Ish River Poet’s Circle, happening today from 3:00-5:00pm at the Skagit County Historical Museum in La Conner. With featured poets Nancy Pagh, Kip Bisagna and Bob Skeele, this reading resumes a tradition started by poet Robert Sund in the 1980s: now and then, in the dark winter months, poets would gather to share their words with a small community of listeners. This is the first of this winter’s Poet’s Circle gatherings. (If you’ve attended before, please note the new location.)

You won’t be able to attend all three events, but we hope you’ll fill your day and evening with poetry by attending one or two.

poetry reading…

July 22, 2013

Robert Sund Poetry House readingRobert Sund Poetry House invites you to a Summer Poetry Reading at Anchor Art Space in Anacortes, 216 Commercial Avenue, on Friday, July 26, 2013 – 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

Please come and enjoy music by Brad and Jeff and poetry by Jane Alynn, Michael Daley, Chip Hughes and Paul Hunter. All friends of Robert and poetry welcome!
$5 donation appreciated

poetry reading…

January 22, 2013

La Conner Civic Garden ClubRekindling a Tradition; Resuming a Conversation

On Sunday, February 3, 2013, the Ish River Poets’ Circle hosts the return of the “old guard.” Poets Tim McNulty, Finn Wilcox and Michael Daley have read together for 30 years. Holly Hughes has been associated with the group for the past ten years. Join them for poem swapping between good friends in the best tradition of Robert Sund’s poets’ circles of the 1980s.

3-5 p.m.
La Conner Civic Garden Club
622 South Second Street, La Conner
Suggested donation: $5

This is the last Poets’ Circle for this season. Gatherings will resume with the return of the dark months in November 2013. The Ish River Poets’ Circle is produced in collaboration with Skagit River Poetry Project and Robert Sund Poet’s House Trust.
Information: Ron Shrigley, 360-391-3225

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