Wendell Hawken

Poet Information

Wendell HawkenFollow

About the Poet

Wendell Hawken
A Washington DC native, Wendell Hawken (she/her) graduated from Vassar College in 1966. A community activist in rural Clarke County VA, Hawken served as a founding director of the Barns of Rose Hill, a community arts and performance facility phoenixed from two dilapidated dairy barns in ‘downtown’ Berryville, the county seat. She founded a food pantry in the food desert of Millwood VA and ran it for ten years. From her pantry work evolved a summer feeding program and elementary school snacks. She helped to find funding and continues to serve as a director of Ability Fitness Center, a special-needs gym in Leesburg, VA.

Hawken came to poetry late in life and earned her MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College Program for Writers in 2005. To date her publications include three chapbooks and four full collections: The Luck of Being (2008), White Bird (2017) a sequence about her husband’s battle with cancer, Stride for Stride: A Country Life (2020), and After Ward (2022). A fifth All About will be published in 2023.

In 2016 Hawken won the Short Memoir Contest of Fish Publishing Ireland with poems later included in White Bird, which received the Library of Virginia’s Honorable Mention for poetry collections published in 2017. Her poem “With a Minor in History” was the Runner-up in the Calyx Press 2022 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize.

She is Poet Laureate of Millwood, VA.

Hawken lives on a grass farm in the northern Shenandoah Valley where the first meaning of AI is Artificial Insemination. Two dogs keep her company.



Virginia City or County Affiliation

Clarke County, Virginia

Years of Residence in Virginia

50 years

Current City/State of Residence

Boyce, Virginia





Year of Birth



Nature, Rural, Cancer, Quadriplegia, Grief

Published Works or Performances

  • The Luck of Being. The Backwaters Press, 2008.
  • White Bird. Future Cycle Press, 2017.
  • After Ward. Cherry Grove Editions, 2022.
  • All About. pending from Future Cycle Press, 2023.

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Wendell Hawken