Photo credit: Rosane Olson

Tree Swenson’s personal mission in life was connecting people to the literary arts to reveal through words the richness, variety, and complexity of life. She co-founded Copper Canyon Press and published poetry books for twenty years, including numerous national-award-winning titles. 

After directing programs for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, she was executive director of the Academy of American Poets in New York, where she launched the Poem-a-Day program and started the annual Poetry & the Creative Mind reading, featuring poetry-loving celebrities at Lincoln Center.

She returned to the Northwest in 2012 and led Hugo House in Seattle until 2021 – tripling people served by the literary center, stabilizing finances, and raising money to build a multi-million-dollar home for words on Capitol Hill, now owned by the nonprofit.