“Holly Hughes’s elegiac meditations on birds that have vanished from earth give us a glimpse of the avian beauty that once filled our skies, and they echo with a sobering reminder of what we still stand to lose. From flocks of passenger pigeons, whose overhead passage “for three days in succession, ‘sounding like a hard gale at sea’” to Australia’s paradise parrot, a stunningly beautiful bird whose body “vibrated with the force and intensity of its song — more than 150 species have fallen silent over the past few centuries. Hughes gives eloquent voice to the voiceless in these poems, and strikes a heartfelt call to awareness.”

-Tim McNulty, author of Ascendance

“In poems at once heartbreaking and illuminating, Holly Hughes gives extinction a very personal face. She makes it clear that the bell tolls not only for the fifteen species she elegizes, but for us as well. Her words prompt us to love and revere the beauty and music of the birds still left, and to remember their well-being in all the choices we make.”

-Lorraine Anderson, editor of Earth & Eros: A Celebration in Words & Photographs

“No one knows for sure you’re gone,” Holly Hughes writes of the Eskimo curlew. Most of its fellows on this ex-life list, rarae aves no longer, are aves extincta. But they’ve not gone from the scene without grace. Even their names are poems — O’o, dodo, great auk, Spix’s macaw — and names, thanks to Passings, that will remain on the wing as long as there are lips to say them.”

-Robert Michael Pyle, author of Evolution of the Genus Iris: Poems