Empty Bowl, founded in 1976 as a cooperative letterpress publisher, has produced periodicals, broadsides, literary anthologies, collections of poetry, and books of Chinese translations.


Our Mission

As of 2018, our mission is to publish work by poets who share Empty Bowl’s founding purpose, “literature & responsibility,” and its fundamental theme, the love and preservation of human communities in wild places.

Some of us consider (Peter) Berg a counter-culture hero, a lesser-known but important thinker on politics, anarchist principles, local myth, and wise approaches to local ecology. I saw in an obituary that he’s helped coin the term reinhabitation, a practice that entails settling into a bioregion, and learning it with enough lucidity and technical aptitude that you and your descendants feel like you belong.
— Andrew Schelling, Tracks Along the Left Coast: Jaime de Angulo & Pacific Coast Culture (Counterpoint, 2017)

“The Empty Bowl Poets, or perhaps, more accurately, the Empty Bowl Artists — as there are essayists and editors here, as well as a photographer, a sculptor, and a printer or two. Centered on the northern Olympic Peninsula and nearby Washington State shorelines, it’s a group that at one time or another has included Robert Sund, Tim McNulty, Jerry Gorsline, Pat Fitzgerald, Tom Jay, Michael Daley, Red Pine (Bill Porter), Mike O’Conner, Tree Swenson, Sharon Doubiago, Steve R. Johnson and more. Counter-culturists, Western Buddhists, and philosophical wanderers drawn to the Peninsula by the right, if meager, livelihoods of tree planting, fishing, cooking, and – eventually – writing. It’s said the Empty Bowl takes “its name to mean both replenishment and the gift that moves” (Daley, 2007). I suspect it also implies receptivity, humility, and a familiarity with hard times.”
— W.E. Yake

“Wilcox opens the section of new work with memories of, and a tribute to, poet Robert Sund. Sund, much admired by the Northwest poets, embodied an Asian simplicity in his life and writing. Wilcox’s work contains his own simplicity of subject and style, but Buddhist detachment is replaced with a love of friends, family and people met on the road, which shines through his words.”
— Jenny Westdal, Port Townsend Leader, September 20, 2017

“Gregarious, grateful and still ready for mischief behind that bushy beard, Wilcox is a Northwest treasure.”
— Barbara Lloyd McMichael, The Bookmonger in Coast Weekend, January 4, 2018

“Wilcox is refreshingly modest in his approach, and his language carries the tempo and vernacular of common speech. At one point he refers to his own poems as ‘A lucky pull/of the rabbit/ from a hat.’ But it’s not luck that crafts insightful love poems such as ‘Close Enough,’ “Women,’ or ‘The Walk Home,’ a poem that explores Alzheimer’s, quiet dignity and ‘love as simple courage.’ “
— Tim McNulty, Cascadia Weekly, November 8, 2017

“Whether in journals, stories, poems, Wilcox is always accessible, passionate, sometimes serious, sometimes funny and sometimes seriously funny, instructive in the ways of living a good life, a life of conscious choices, without being preachy or pedagogical.”
— Larry Lawrence, Raven Chronicles, Vol 25 • 293, Winter 2018

Banner photo: Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, WA, 1977, photograph by Steven R. Johnson