from HUMMINGBIRD Anthology  I
September 1990–December 1995

Guest Editor's Notes by CX Dillhunt

With this selection from its first anthology issue, Hummingbird, founded by Phyllis Walsh in 1990 with strong encouragement from her friend Cid Corman, is entering its twenty-fourth continuous year. We’re all missing Phyllis and thought that a great way to honor her and give us some time to get back on our feet would be to publish two anthology issues this year.

Our print edition of the Hummingbird Anthology I:  September 1990 –  June 2000, is due out in late April; Anthology II:  September 2000 - March 2012  will follow in October.  Each issue will highlight 54 poems.  Here in this issue of Verse Wisconsin we are offering you 27 poems from the first anthology; we’ve included all the poems from the first half of that issue.

Phyllis is still very much with us; Hummingbird magazine is Phyllis. For twenty-two volumes, Phyllis selected the poems, wrote her “Editor’s Note,” and corresponded by hand religiously to all who submitted. She loved to write letters; it’s how she and Cid first connected. Like the magazine, she was always brief and to the point. Phyllis’s letters on the Hummingbird letterhead, printed by Hynek in Richland Center where every Hummingbird was published, were on a trim half sheet mimicking a stacked double-page of the magazine—sometimes typed sometimes in her smooth cursive, always a gentle closing, often to the season. And I remember my first letter from her, a rejection: “These are fine haiku, but they are not too memorable.” But several tries later, “Perhaps send more prairie poems, those seem to work for you.”

Here’s her first Editor’s Note:

Responses to our Hummingbird flyer have been gratifying. There is a nucleus of poets for whom such a magazine seems to fill a need. We appreciate your support and welcome your input as the mag evolves. (Vol. I No.1, September 1990)

And, another, as Hummingbird completed its first decade:

As we approach the Millennium, we hope Hummingbird continues to help or readers improve their inner livers as some of you tell us it does. May this contribute to improving the larger world as well.  We are grateful for your enthusiasm and support of all kinds. Peace and joy. . . (Vol. X No.2, December 1999)

With renewed appreciation all these years later, and as we approach the next step in the evolution of Hummingbird, we are again grateful for the “enthusiasm and support of all kinds.”