the passing of Phyllis Walsh, poet, editor, small press publisher : on September 4, 2012

Early morning messages today from Ce Rosenow telling of the passing of our mutual friend and small press pal, Phyllis Walsh. Phyllis was a poet, located in that long tradition of Wisconsin wholeness, so no surprise she regularly and dutifully also issued from there her haiku journalHummingbird. I hold them all, thanks to Phyllis. ~ Bob Arnold at  A Longhouse Birdhouse

Phyllis Walsh, poet, writer, and small press publisher and editor of “Hummingbird” , has died. Ce Rosenow, poet, publisher, and president of the Haiku Society of America, has noted. 

Phyllis Walsh championed the small poem, the small press, the work of Lorine Niedecker, and so many poets, I was one.

I loved Phyllis Walsh, as poet, writer, and editor. Her journal Hummingbird  is already legend. Her short poems in the chapbooks Center Stillness (Scythe Press, 1989) and River (Hummingbird Press, 1993) are visitations, proximal, light seared. Also, a rare fineness is her understanding of Lorine Niedecker, in Walsh’s book on the poet, Lorine Niedecker: Solitary Plover (Juniper Press, 1992).

Rest in peace in your center stillness, Phyllis Walsh.  Donna Fleischer

wild iris island





empty cove’s

resident egret remembered –

above, cloudless blue

Phyllis Walsh
from River

set in water patterns

lake center


Phyllis Walsh
from Center Stillness

    • Ed Baker
    • September 6th, 2012

    Phyllis was with us in Milwaukee in 2003.
    a gentle, quiet, Beauty … and a stellar editor
    I treasure her inclusion in Hummer of many of my “shorties”
    and the many typed notes and letters sent my way.

    One I have framed and hanging on my wall .. hanging between a letter from Carl Rakosi and one from Cid one one side and a letter from Pema Chodron and one Diane Di Prima on the other.
    I was expecting at any day now a copy of the latest Hummer with a slip
    of paper in it reminding me that my subscription was about up ;

    • Hi, Ed. Phyllis Walsh was also quite a writer of and into Lorine Niedecker, way back when she hadn’t yet been collected or written much about. I also love Phyllis’ poetry. Her “hummingbird” stands hands above. Thanks for your memorable eulogy. ~ Donna

    • Ed Baker
    • September 7th, 2012

    I regret not taking a picture of Phyllis and Cid hugging each other at that LN 100 th. I am sure that that hug embrace Lorine (and all of the other poet-friend that they had over the years in common were) was included.

    two old birds

    • What would you do with the photograph, if you had it?

      two old birds entirely embracing

      Better than a snapshot. Thanks for it.


  1. Dear Friends of Hummingbird & Phyllis Walsh,

    Here is the letter I wrote at Phyllis’s family’s request.

    CX Dillhunt
    September 6, 2012

    Dear Friends,

    Sadly, I must tell you all that Phyllis Walsh died over the past weekend. What a loss, she has been such an inspiration to me these past 22 years! We’ll all miss her so. I think she and I were a good team for Hummingbird these past few years, gracious, what will I do without her wit, wisdom, and welcome smile.

    Gosh, I only go back to the start of the magazine in ’91 but feel I’ve known her forever, she has been such a delight, such an independent thinker, such a fun, fun friend. And without her mentoring, I certainly would have failed at haiku, or given up too soon.

    I wanted to let everyone know that Theresa, her daughter, mentioned to me yesterday, that she wondered what I thought about a tribute both in the form of a chapbook or special edition of Hummingbird as well as some sort of gathering or reading. Theresa mentioned something similar to the Avol’s [Bookstore in Madison, WI] 20-year celebration and I am wondering your thoughts.

    She mentioned that most likely there would be no memorial service. Phyllis’s wish is to be cremated and have her ashes scattered over the marsh in Fort Atkinson. She said she’s not up to anything for the next month or so, but please ask if others would like to do something; for a gathering we even talked about something in the spring and getting beyond all the holidays. Perhaps in Fort. I mentioned the library & Phyllis’s relationship with the Friends of Lorine Niedecker.

    A publication could be sooner. I’ve agreed to continue the magazine, Theresa saying that would be the best tribute ever to keep it going; we are in touch with her mom’s “Hummingbird friends,” including the writing group that would go to Milwaukee [Greenfield, where she lived] to do the mailings of each new issue, a tradition that goes back to Richland Center where Hummingbird began. There also is the option of Hummingbird Press, Phyllis and I were working on collection of Cid Corman’s and her poetry & we’d had talked about a Hummingbird anthology.

    An interview I did recently with Phyllis is due out in Verse Wisconsin in the spring as part of a cooperative VW/HB issue (similar to the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar approach).

    Let’s keep in touch, Phyllis would want that.

    Blessed September to all,


    PS Cards, gifts, letters, memorials, can be sent to Phyllis’s daughter
    or to me for forwarding to the family:

    Theresa Walsh • 4955 South 43rd St. • Greenfield WI • 53220

    CX Dillhunt • 7129 Lindfield Rd. • Madison WI • 53719

    • Dear CX,

      You were invaluable to Phyllis Walsh. I knew that Phyllis had been struggling with illness while continuing with “Hummingbird” these past few years. You made the difference for her, the extraordinary journal she created, and for poetry.

      Glad to hear of your interview with her. I’m unfamiliar with “Verse Wisconsin” but will do my best to find it and read it. Would it be agreeable to you if I posted the interview here at word pond?

      Since I live in CT I won’t be able to participate in person as I’d prefer, in any of the events that may materialize in Fort Atkinson. I am there already in spirit beneath Phyllis’s wingbeats.

      Thank you, for your letter. Knowing that Phyllis’s ashes are now in the world and that her “Hummingbird” will continue publishing because of you makes a real difference, for so many.

      in sorrow and in joy,

      Donna Fleischer

  2. oct 23/2013 to CX Dillhunt: is the Hummingbird magazine going to continue publishing? if so, what is the subscription cost a year? what types of poetry will you be accepting? sincerely, Jeanne Jorgensen

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