Our Founder’s Story:

Legacy of Seán Mac Falls’ gift

554In .At the age of fifty, a reflective time in his life, Port Angeles poet and philanthropist Seán Mac Falls (November 18th, 1957 – June 15th, 2023) bought an historic, 100 year old farm house property on The Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, overlooking Vancouver Island on the Salish Sea, with a sweeping view across the straits of Juan de Fuca to Mount Baker. Seán was seeking a “Gentle House” with the peace and solitude he sought in which to write. In the ensuing years he desired to share this experience and, looking ahead, establish an artist residency.

In order to preserve and extend the space that proved so generative, Seán’s gift to the writing community will be a place for poets, playwrights, painters, filmmakers and songwriters, to co-mingle and create and collaborate.

Seán, in collaboration with Jeffrey Levine and the esteemed non-profit Tupelo Press, established Gentle House as a retreat and ongoing residency for artists with an original founding gift, the property, cottages and a substantial poetry library. During 2024-25, Gentle House will transition to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit literary arts organization. Gentle House continues to subsist on the generosity of Seán Mac Falls’s founding gift, supplemented by a fundraising program that began in earnest in 2021, and is growing each year.

Gentle House opened for residencies in July, 2023, and welcomed fourteen poets during the first year. In 2024 the first Tupelo / Merrill Family Fellowships were established, fully funding two BIPC poets for two week residencies in July and September of 2024.

Learn more about Gentle House. 


“To feel as if one were out in the country, yet can walk to markets and to a small town, this is what a poet yearns for, a cottage by the sea, both within and out of this world, a quiet sanctuary with picture windows, under crowns of stars and the wild, blue mountains — a ‘Gentle House’ in which to write.”

— Seán Mac Falls