Erin Coughlin Hollowell

Connie Boochever Award, Literary Arts, 2013
Alaska Literary Award, 2014

Erin Coughlin Hollowell is a poet and writer who lives at the end of the road in Alaska. Prior to landing in Alaska, she lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns, pursuing many different professions from tapestry weaving to arts administration.

She earned her MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University in 2009.  She was the Rona Jaffe Scholarship winner in poetry for the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference in 2010. In 2013, she was awarded a Rasmuson Foundation Fellowship by the Rasmuson Foundation and a Connie Boochever Award by the Alaska State Council on the Arts. She was one of the inaugural recipients of the Alaska Literary Awards in 2014. She was awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Willapa Bay Artist in Residency Program in 2014.

Currently, she is the executive director of 49 Writers, a statewide writing organization, and on the faculty of the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. Her work has most recently been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Terrain: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environment, Sugar House Review, Permafrost, Blast Furnace, and Prairie Schooner.  Pause, Traveler released in 2013 by Boreal Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press, is her first book-length collection. Her second poetry collection Every Atom is forthcoming.

Not asking the sky to come down to my good will,
scattering it freely forever

The crow’s compass swings wildly.
See him tumble from the sky, a flung rag,
a scrap of darkness plummeting.

I want to own such reckless practice.
To find the taproot of doubt and dig it out,
be scraped clean on the sun-bleached soil.

Saint Crow, I am a shabby petitioner.
One of your feathers tucked behind my ear,
I am hungry for your sprung song gospel.

Teach me how to scull through the day
with wings pinioned, lucky, afflicted,
ready to abandon this broken and whole.

When I woke this morning, night’s trespass
still on the water but horizon igniting,
I pledged myself to your gape-mouthed ministry.

Hurl me beyond the wildfire of my mind
into air. Into that crystalline shatter
so I might, like too-bright light, scatter.

from the forthcoming collection Every Atom and first published in Blast Furnace literary magazine