Hugo House Out, Whole Foods In

Seattle had the second or third highest rent increase of cities in the U.S. in 2015 depending on how you figure it. Regardless, the housing market here is insane. Is anything sacred? No. Across the street from Seattle First Baptist Church was a perfectly suitable brick office building housing dentists and other Pill Hill professionals. In new Seattle this is WAY too short and will become a 16 story tower with 800 or so apartments and a Whole Foods on the ground floor.

The Richard Hugo House literary center was the New City Theater and now will be a multi-story edifice with the Hugo House getting a new home in the new building. But, while memories of the old days at the house will linger in the minds of thousands of patrons and the sight lines will no doubt be improved, there’s something sad about the transition. If anything other than a sterile environment can be created there, it will be with a great deal of finesse. Here’s hoping.

Top - Where the Hugo House was. Bottom - Where the new Whole Foods will be.

Top – Where the Hugo House was.
Bottom – Where the new Whole Foods will be.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). He has published a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger) and American Sentences, a book of 17 syllable poems drawn from the first fourteen of his 20 years of daily practice. The tenth anniversary edition of that book includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets (see: has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Bothell, Cumberland, BC, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois, Ukiah, CA, and other places & writes an American Sentence every day.
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