An essay “not bound to its origins can become something that matters less for the situation it represents and more for what it—tough, resilient, lenslike—does, which is to rearrange the past and make possible a larger question, something perhaps about complicity, maybe forgiveness.
— Barbara Hurd’s “Lime Sea Glass” in Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shifts and What Remains


 Barbara Hurd teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.


  • Listening to the Savage / River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies (2016)
  • Tidal Rhythms: Change and Resilience at the Edge of the Sea (with photographer Stephen Strom, 2016)
  • Stepping into the Same River Twice (with artist Patricia Hilton) 2013
  • Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shifts and What Remains (2008)
  • Entering the Stone: On Caves and Feeling Through the Dark, a Library Journal Best Natural History Book of the Year (2003)
  • The Singer's Temple (2003)
  • Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and Human Imagination, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001 (2001)
  • Objects in this Mirror (1994)


Her essays have appeared in numerous journals including

  • Best American Essays 1999
  • Best American Essays 2001
  • The Yale Review
  • The Georgia Review
  • Orion, Audubon and others

Awards & Fellowships

  • 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship
  • NEA Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction
  • Sierra Club’s National Nature Writing Award
  • Three Pushcart Prizes
  • Five Maryland State Arts Council Awards

Selected Interviews

I’ll not attempt to make much of a dead clam’s ascendancy, except to offer it as further evidence that the world is full of both beauty and breakage. If there’s an illusionless behest on the beach today, it’s this: how to live well, here, among the delicacies and ruins, the necessary insufficiencies of mystery and loss.
— Barbara Hurd’s “Angel Wings” in Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shifts and What Remains