When I first moved to Seattle six years ago, I didn’t know where to start in terms of finding a literary community. I wandered around bookstores, cafes. I lived in Capitol Hill and found myself walking by Hugo House by chance, leaving Cal Anderson Park. I was stunned by the “vibe” of Hugo House—the warmth of the writers inside, who seemed to all know each other. Soon enough, I would be part of that warmth.
Each time I visit Hugo House—for a reading, a lecture, a class—I’m met with that family connection: a like-minded dedication to reading and writing. And more than that, too: a deep dedication to supporting and championing emerging writers—including youth in Scribes summer writing camps!
It would be an understatement to say that Hugo House has bolstered my literary career. I’ve been lucky enough to read, teach, learn from, and support the writers that are part of this literary family. When my first book, Overpour, came out last year, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I would hold the book launch at Hugo House. I’ve never cried during a performance before; it was incredibly emotional to see the space I loved so much packed with the readers and writers I love.
Even though I’ve moved to Bellingham to teach at Western Washington University, I am still drawn back to Hugo House, to walking through that door, that glowing writerly light of coffee, tea, books, and open arms. Drawn back to one of my homes.
Jane Wong‘s poems can be found in anthologies and journals such as Best American Poetry 2015, Best New Poets 2012, Pleiades, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Third Coast, and others. Awarded The American Poetry Review’s 2016 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize, she is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from Kundiman, the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Fine Arts Work Center, Squaw Valley, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Western Washington University. Along with three chapbooks, she is the author of Overpour (Action Books).