I’m a writer and filmmaker and live on the coast of the Salish Sea. My poems have appeared in Narrative, Orion, Missouri Review, Rattle, the Sun, Radar, and Carolina Quarterly. Long Way Through Ruin was published by Blue Begonia Press, and I recently completed a second poetry collection, Say What a River Is.  

I'm grateful for residencies and awards from Ucross, PLAYA, Artists Trust, and Joya AIR (Spain). For many years I made documentary films, and my first film No Place Like Home premiered at the Venice Film Festival, in Italy. I’m currently at work on a memoir, Why I Grieve I Do Not Know.

I’ve worked as a waitress, shipscaler, short-order cook, bookseller, printer, food bank coordinator, filmmaker, and freelance writer.

I’ve been following the heart-mind practice of Zen for twenty-five years, always a beginner on a path that is no path. Lately I’ve been practicing vipassana (mindfulness) with a small group of dharma sisters.

In the 1970s I helped to found three independent, collectively-owned and -operated bookstores in the Pacific Northwest. It’s About Time, in Seattle’s U District, was one of the first feminist bookstores in the country—we had to order Virginia Woolf’s novels from England. The inestimable Red and Black Books, a collective of say-it-loud, say-it-proud commies, pinkos, and queers, anchored the literati in the U District and on Capitol Hill, in Seattle, for 25 years. Mother Kali’s Books, in Eugene, Oregon, a lefty-lesbian-feminist bookstore, offered literature written (mostly) by women, including poetry from the emerging women-owned presses. Our selection of titles drew the derision of academics, Stalinists, and hippie boys alike—fine by us.

I’ve directed documentary films, too, which have been broadcast on PBS and shown in film festivals in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Take This Heart, a feature-length film about four boys in foster care, was awarded the Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism. No Place Like Home, a film about a ten-year-old girl who lives with her family in homeless shelters, in Seattle, premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

Before turning to writing and filmmaking fulltime, I worked as a waitress, shipscaler, short-order cook, bookseller, printer, and food bank coordinator. Now, when I’m not at my desk, I’m apt to be in my garden. The tall firs keep me walking upright and offer all the glory they possess.

Connect kathryn@kathrynhunt.net

You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted. Begin again the story of your life.

— Jane Hirshfield