Featuring fifteen poems of extinct birds, Passings is a new collection by poet Holly J. Hughes, published in two limited editions:
375 trade copies bound by hand with letterpress covers on recycled paper, with interior pages printed offset. Order a trade copy here.
ISBN # 978-0-9960802-2-4
26 deluxe copies with covers of St. Armand handmade paper, heavy weight Superfine interior paper, Japanese paper interleavings with hand tooled gold foil, and an archival slipcase. Lettered A–Z, this edition is signed by the poet and the artist. Order a deluxe copy here.
ISBN # 978-0-9960802-3-1
About the Poems
Passenger pigeon. Carolina parakeet. Eskimo curlew. Heath hen. In a timely, moving collection of elegies, Holly J. Hughes gives voice to these and other bird species that no longer fill our skies. If their names sound as a litany of the hundreds of species we’ve lost, these fifteen poems ring as a reminder that their stories are still with us. In clear, well-crafted poems, Hughes serves as witness to these birds’ stories, offering each a poignant account that acts as a cautionary tale for the many species whose habitats now face threats from climate change. In her preface, Hughes introduces us to the birds she first knew and loved, and her impassioned afterword reminds us that it’s not too late to learn from these birds’ extinction and take action to protect the species that remain. “Take note,” she writes. “These birds are singing to us. We must listen.”
Praise for Passings
Holly Hughes’s elegiac meditations on birds that have vanished from earth give us a glimpse of the avian beauty that once filled our skies, and they echo with a sobering reminder of what we still stand to lose. From flocks of passenger pigeons, whose overhead passage “for three days in succession, ‘sounding like a hard gale at sea'” to Australia’s paradise parrot, a stunningly beautiful bird whose body “vibrated with the force and intensity of its song — more than 150 species have fallen silent over the past few centuries. Hughes gives eloquent voice to the voiceless in these poems, and strikes a heartfelt call to awareness.”
Tim McNulty, author of Ascendance
In poems at once heartbreaking and illuminating, Holly Hughes gives extinction a very personal face. She makes it clear that the bell tolls not only for the fifteen species she elegizes, but for us as well. Her words prompt us to love and revere the beauty and music of the birds still left, and to remember their well-being in all the choices we make.”
Lorraine Anderson, editor of Earth & Eros: A Celebration in Words & Photographs
“No one knows for sure you’re gone,” Holly Hughes writes of the Eskimo curlew. Most of its fellows on this ex-life list, rarae aves no longer, are aves extincta. But they’ve not gone from the scene without grace. Even their names are poems — O’o, dodo, great auk, Spix’s macaw — and names, thanks to Passings, that will remain on the wing as long as there are lips to say them.”
Robert Michael Pyle, author of Evolution of the Genus Iris: Poems
About the Poet
Holly J. Hughes is the author of Sailing by Ravens (University of Alaska Press, 2014), coauthor of The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World (Skinner House Press, 2012), and editor of the award-winning anthology Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press, 2009).
She has spent over thirty summers working on the water in Alaska commercial fishing for salmon, skippering a 65-foot schooner, and working as a naturalist on ships. She lives in Washington State, dividing her time between a log cabin in Indianola built in the 1930s and a home on three acres in Chimacum, and teaches writing and mindfulness workshops.