Boxing the Compass



Author: Holly J. Hughes, Winner of the 2007 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Competition
Year: 2007
ISBN: 978-1-930446-16-8
Pages: 40

Holly J. Hughes has spent the last 28 summers working on the water in Alaska in a variety of capacities, from cook/deckhand on a salmon gillnet fishing boat to skipper of a 65-foot schooner. Her poems have appeared in the anthologies Dancing With Joy: 99 Poems, America Zen: A Gathering of Poets, and Family Matters: Poems of Our Families, as well as in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellingham Review, and The Midwest Quarterly, among others. A graduate of the MFA program Rainier Writing Workshop offered through Pacific Lutheran University, she teaches writing at Edmonds Community College and co-directs the Convergence Writer’s Series. She lives in a log cabin built in the 1930s in Indianola, Washington.

“How do we find our way—on the open ocean, in love, in life? For a navigator, philosophical questions have vital consequences. What is true? How do we find out where we’re going when as soon as we plot where we are, we’ve moved on? In these deft lyrics, Holly Hughes charts a course based in mystery, in the uncertainty of human attempts to know the earth and to comprehend this life. ‘How will she learn to ride the swell, let the earth curve her?’ This poet’s Zen question opens us to possibilities as vast as the ocean.” —Peggy Shumaker

“These smart, sensuous poems achieve a rare balance of knowledge, imagination, and memory, moving with a navigator’s skill through realms at once indelible and transient. Boxing the Compass offers a poet’s wisdom culled from vivid experience. Holly Hughes sails along the edge of worlds, alive to ‘How we always fetch up/somewhere other than we plan, and takes us with her, true to the magnetic pole of her own shifting heart.’ ” —Stan Sanvel Rubin