Len Hudson, world-renowned heart specialist, patron of Seattle arts, and whimsical potter, founded Cedar House Books after an anagama firing at East Creek kiln in Oregon, where potters and poets gathered to stoke the fire and read poems through the long days and nights of the firing. There, Len discovered that many fine books of poems were going unnoticed by the bigger publishers, and he determined to do something about that. Cedar House Books began publishing out of Len’s home, a cedar-sided bungalow on the shores of Puget Sound, and its first book, LAUDS by Tom Crawford, won the Oregon Book Award for Poetry in 1994. However, after publishing a few more titles, the press went dormant due to Len’s many other commitments, though he never wavered in his vision. In 2004, he graciously turned over the care of Cedar House Books to Gary and Linda Thompson.
A poet and a librarian would have a hard time passing up an opportunity to bring a poetry press back from dormancy. The poet, Gary, was looking for another way to keep his hand in the poetry world—aside from writing his own poems—after retiring from teaching creative writing. The librarian, Linda, a lifelong reader of poetry and a connoisseur of beautiful and well-made books, longed to try her hand at book design. Together, they joined hands to publish books they are passionate about, books they both believe the world needs to hold and to read. The poets, for their part, will be just as passionate about their art and will collaborate in the editing and design process. For now, Cedar House Books will publish one or two titles a year, though they hope to expand their annual offerings over time.