Pilgrim (Alice Greene & Co., 2014)
“These beautiful poems exude an elegant calm, a dolce, that is rare in contemporary poetry and even more rarified in what passes for society. The voice is pure ‘nightfall…a long blue dress,’ and the images enact what a philosopher referred to as sudden salience on the psyche.
Spaulding takes, in the words of Li Po, ‘the earth for a pillow and the great heaven as a coverlet,’ and wakes with these gentle but poignant reminders of ‘How it was up to us— / with small brushes, bare hands— / to save what we’d found.’”— Chris Dombrowski, author of Earth Again
“When I need more white space in my life I turn to poetry. (First I turn to rivers and woods but then to poetry.) Lately I’ve been enjoying Holly Wren Spaulding’s chapbook, Pilgrim. It’s a perfect book for these deep-winter days: brief, spare, clear, uncluttered. I like that the poems are almost free of punctuation—it makes them more austere, like a winter meadow—and that they resonate, sometimes literally . . . ” —Jerry Dennis, author of The Living Great Lakes
The Grass Impossibly (MWCP, 2008) Selected by Fleda Brown for the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press Chapbook Award in Poetry. Sold Out.
“Holly has dedicated herself to making the world a more livable place for all its inhabitants—human and otherwise. In these writings you will find the depth and passion she brings to all aspects of her life, and nourishment from the soul of an activist for anyone who cares about life in planet earth.”—Michael Franti, musician and director of I Know I’m Not Alone: A Musician’s Search for the Human Cost of War
“Holly Wren Spaulding’s poems are lush, sensual and transporting; full of the intersections of beauty and heartbreak. The Grass Impossibly is a fearless, striking collection.”—Davy Rothbart, author of The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas
If August (Alice Greene & Co., 2017)
Familiars (Alice Greene & C0., 2020)
To read Familiars is to be reminded that seeing and noticing is a practice, an act of patience, a way to know our place in a world larger than, yet connected to ourselves. In Familiars, poet Holly Wren Spaulding catalogues and bears witness to the living world, weaving together what is said and unsaid: within the quality of elegy, there is also a call to speak and act, to live while we are here, and most of all, to pay attention. We are living in a time that requires clear sight and courage. Spaulding’s poems create and sustain us with their “thrum that needs no translation.” —Sejal Shah, author, This Is One Way to Dance: Essays
In these brushstroke poems, Holly Wren speaks with the fine-tuned force exhibited by the masters of concision. By touching the essential with such delicate linguistic energy, an entire world balances on her pages: vital and tender and alive. Her stanzas illuminate the white-spaced world of the page with hawk-crested beauty, with acorn, beech, heron, newt. Holly Wren’s interactions with language and the natural world are like a light that is always new, or a bird’s quick and stunning song—look, here, look here, here, here.— author of Uncoded Woman: Poems
“(Spaulding’s) poems are careful not to tell us anything; they enact, embody, adumbrate; they can take your breath away with their hushed lyricism and understated intensities. Words shimmer here in unfamiliar light, as though the poet discovered them lost in a drawer of a tired language and has lifted them free of cobwebs, has polished them with attention, has had them reappraised. There is a grand and commanding spareness here both in the unhurried flow of thought and syntax and in the exquisitely selected details that are burnished by juxtaposition and held up to the light with reverent wonderment. Her poems speak deeply and hauntingly. They navigate the most exclusive province of poetry: the ineffable.”—J. Alynn Rosser, author of Mimi’s Trapeze