May 18 BeHolden All Things New


Week of May 18 | Holden 2020 | Sustenance for our journey

Keep showing up

ChuckPegimg.jpgIf we keep showing up in the moment – with openness and thoughtfulness, and with the desire to be of benefit to others – we will have moved forward collectively in love and hope. We cannot go back to “normal” because we have left that behind for something better and more sustainable for creation. We would be wise to heed the bold and obvious invitations to listen, to engage, to be open, and to love each other.

In this issue of All Things New, you will find beautiful thoughts from former Washington State Poet Laureate and summer faculty member, Elizabeth Austen. You will also find our 2020 Children’s Recommended Reading List. Wherever you may be reading this, we hope that you find inspiration and connection with Holden Village for the days ahead. May you be safe, may you be well and may you be held in love.

With good courage,

Peg Carlson-Hoffman + Chuck Hoffman
Co-Executive Directors
Chuck + Peg PHOTO by John Noltner



There are many invitations afforded us in times such as these. Invitations to listen, to engage, to be open, to love and remind ourselves that we don’t own the answers. In the spirit of our Summer Conversation, All Things New, this summer will be a different kind of summer. Holden will continue to be a light — just in a new way. In this new world we’re all inhabiting, we offer these
recommendations for our children.


Featured Summer Faculty

ElizabethAusten.jpgElizabeth AUsten

Poet, Performer, Teacher and Poetry Advocate.

Elizabeth served as the Washington State Poet Laureate from 2014 to 2016. She believes poetry is a part of our human birthright. Among the many things poetry can do, she’s most interested in its capacity to confront big questions with intelligence and feeling. Through its intimacy, slowness and layered silences, poetry can offer moments of stillness in a frantic, clamorous world. Her own poems explore the nature of physical and emotional courage, question societal norms for women, and consider the possibilities and limitations of healing in beauty and silence. She’s the author of Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press), which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and two chapbooks. Her poems have been featured in anthologies and journals such as New England Review, Willow Springs and Poetry Northwest. She works with organizations including Seattle Children’s Hospital, Neighborcare, Virginia Mason and Kaiser Permanente, using her poetry to help clinicians renew their connection to the heart of care. Elizabeth earned an MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles, and produced poetry programming for NPR-affiliate KUOW 94.9 for nearly 20 years. She is currently working on a new poetry manuscript.

Elizabeth writes, “I’m sad not to get to enjoy another summer session with you in the Village. However, I can contribute to virtual programming, I’d be happy to do that. I produced a virtual Schwartz Rounds for Seattle Children’s – an audio version of a gathering that is normally interactive. It includes poetry, guided meditation and some reflections – here it is, if you’d like to listen."

Listen to elizabeth Austen

Elizabeth's Poetry

EveryDressADecision.jpgEvery Dress a Decision

By Elizabeth Austen

How do we become who we are? That's the question at the center of Seattle-based poet Elizabeth Austen's collection, Every Dress a Decision, published by Blue Begonia Press. Austen’s poems test the boundaries between the known and the unknowable, as a woman reckons with the sudden death of a brother and her complicated past, and tensions reverberate among desire, family, spirituality and identity. Poet Jane Hirshfield describes Austen’s work as “powerfully original in both vision and voice.

For more about Elizabeth Austen go to:

Children's Book Recommendations

NotForMePleaseIchoosetoactgreen_300.pngNot for me, please!: I choose to act green

by Maria Godsey, illustrated by Christoph Kellner

Join Luke on his journey to protect what he loves with this engaging children's picture book about sustainability and acting green. After noticing the damage caused to the environment and animals due to trash and waste, Luke decides to take action. He believes he can have a big impact on the world around him and invites his readers to join him!

TheLonelyPolarBear.jpgTHe Lonely POlar Bear

by Khoa Le, author and illustrator

This sweet children's picture book presents a moving story, set in a fragile Arctic world threatened by climate change. A little polar bear wakes up alone after a furious storm and finds himself all alone. With his mother nowhere in sight, he makes friends with a mysterious little girl and other animal friends such as puffins, elks, wolves, whales, and more. All his friends come together, surrounding him in the magnificent polar sky. In the end the little bear sits peacefully, enjoying a winter day lit up by beautiful northern lights.

WhereAreYouFrom.jpgWhere Are You From?

by Yamile Saied Méndez, illustrated by Jaime Kim

With themes of self-acceptance, identity, and home, this powerful, lyrical picture book will resonate with readers young and old, from all backgrounds and of all colors – especially anyone who ever felt that they didn’t belong. A Spanish-language edition, ¿De dónde eres?, is also available.

Summer Faculty Voices

Podcast150.jpgAn Exercise in Reflective WritinG

With Elizabeth Austen (2019)

"I want to share a technique that I teach health care providers. It is a tool to tend to our hearts and stay connected to the heart of care. A way to summon a sense of interest and discovery about our feelings. It's difficult to be judging when you are curious." LISTEN NOW


With Elizabeth Austen

“ ‘Every Dress a Decision’ is a poem from my collection that I often think of when I'm here at Holden, because I love to hike here. So many other people hike here, and then there's always that question of do we hike alone? This poem is called ‘The Girl Who Goes Alone.’ ” LISTEN NOW



In Any Event
If we are fractured
we are fractured
like stars
bred to shine
in every direction,
through any dimension,
billions of years
since and hence.
I shall not lament
the human, not yet.
There is something
more to come, our hearts
a gold mine
not yet plumbed,
an uncharted sea.
Nothing is gone forever.
If we came from dust
and will return to dust
then we can find our way
into anything.
What we are capable of
is not yet known,
and I praise us now,
in advance.
— Dorianne Laux —


Photo by Chuck Hoffman

This series, All Things New, will explore in part the conversation originally scheduled for summer. In this new world we all inhabit, may you find sustenance for your journey.