Tree Swenson

Tree Swenson (born 1951) is the Executive Director of Richard Hugo House, the Seattle-based non-profit writing center. [1] Throughout her life, she has been deeply involved with poetry, independent publishing, and American literary foundations. She was the co-founder of Copper Canyon Press.

Holly Swenson was born in Utah and grew up in Montana. As a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara in the late 1960s, she began using the nickname "Tree" and became involved in the West Coast poetry scene.

Swenson met poet Sam Hamill at UCSB and, in 1972, they formed Copper Canyon Press, an independent press based in Port Townsend, Washington, that is dedicated to publishing poetry.[2]

Swenson was the Publisher and Executive Director of Copper Canyon Press for twenty years and helped publish the work of hundreds of poets, including Nobel Prize winners Pablo Neruda and Vicente Aleixandre, and Pulitzer Prize winner W.S. Merwin[3] In 1992, she left Copper Canyon Press, moved to Boston and became Director of Programs for the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Swenson became Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets in April 2002 and led this non-profit organization for ten years.[4] She is currently the Executive Director at Richard Hugo House, a writing non-profit in Seattle named for esteemed poet Richard Hugo.[5]


  1. "A book festival that means something at Seattle University".
  2. Preusch, Matthew (11 July 2008). "Old Port Town's Appeal Reaches Beyond Northwest" via
  3. Rich, Motoko (20 April 2009). "Pleased by His Pulitzer, Surprised by Poetry".
  4. Kirkpatrick, David D. (8 February 2002). "Poetry Academy, After Budget Uproar, Gets New Chief" via
  5. "Hugo House in Seattle - A Place for Writers". Hugo House. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
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