Hope you’ll mark your calendar and plan to attend Poetry Postcards: a panel and conversation on Monday, October 9, 2017. Thanks to Paul E Nelson for sharing all the details.

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it’s time!

July 4, 2017

Hold the fireworks! It’s time to register for the August Poetry Postcard Fest (AugPoPo)! Registration opens today, July 4, 2017, and will continue through the month. Come August (or late July), participants write a postcard-length draft poem on a postcard each day and mail it to the next person on the list they’ve been issued. If they’re lucky, they get a postcard from each person on their list; if they’re extra lucky, they’ll get bonus cards from old AugPoPo friends and other ambitious postcarders.

There’s a small fee to participate, plus the cost of postage (some of the people on your list may require international postage, currently $1.15), and anything you might want to spend on postcards. Many people make their own and inexpensive postcards are easy to find at book shops, thrift stores, and garage sales.

Skibble on over to the AugPoPo page on Paul Nelson’s site and register!

Last year, 2016, was the 10th anniversary of the Fest and a variety of related activities are in the works, including an anthology, 56 Days of August, Poetry Postcards: a panel and conversation (October 9 in Bellingham, WA), and a Poetry Reading and Book Launch (October 20 in Portland, OR). More on those soon.

Denise LevertovA plaque to honor the memory of internationally-renowned poet Denise Levertov will be unveiled in a ceremony at 10:00am, Saturday, December 3, 2016, at her former Seattle home, 5535 Seward Park Avenue S.

The memorial is being presented by SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) and the Rainier Valley Rotary, the two organizations that helped raise funds for the plaque. More than forty individuals and organizations contributed. Longtime Levertov friend and University of Washington Professor Emeritus Colleen McElroy is scheduled to attend and address the participants.

SPLAB Founder Paul Nelson comments, “Denise Levertov was one of the most gifted poets to ever call Seattle home. That there is no public acknowledgment of that is an oversight we felt needed correction. Thanks to the Rotary’s efforts and to the crowdfunding campaign that included some of her longtime friends and fans, this beautiful plaque will inform the generations to come that Levertov lived here, in Seward Park, where she wrote some of the best poems ever written about Mt. Rainier. We honor her life and achievement.”

Levertov lived at the home the last eight years of her life, until her death, December 20, 1997. In her storied career, she published over thirty books of poems, essays and translations and her work clarifying the open form approach she called Organic Poetry was a huge influence on post-World War II North American poets. Her work and legacy was the subject of a tribute at the recent Cascadia Poetry Festival produced by SPLAB.

. . . . .
Portrait of Denise Levertov by Elsa Dorfman

Get some Cascadia!

October 8, 2016

Cascadia Poetry Festival

This is a guest post by Paul Nelson

The fourth Cascadia Poetry Festival happens Thursday through Sunday, November 3-6, 2016, at the Spring Street Center, 15th & Spring in Seattle, and three other venues. Inspired by the Taos Poetry Circus, the fest features Academic, Democratic and Performative aspects, as well as late-night events that have more of a party feel.

The Academic portion of the fest is handled in two ways: Workshops and Panels. One workshop, Poetic habitat now (Daphne Marlatt), will investigate what Wendell Berry’s call for a “biocentric” vision to replace our dominant anthropocentric one might mean in poetry. “Our challenge is to create a new language, even a new sense of what it is to be human.” This challenge is a call for a radical shift in our attention, one that foregrounds our relations with other species and with the elements that make up our habitat, one that recognizes how interdependent, even coterminous we are with them. Daphne Marlatt, the brilliant (and much overlooked south of the border) Vancouver poet, will facilitate and incorporate a notion from Denise Levertov, to whom this iteration of the fest is dedicated. (More about the Denise Levertov plaque project here.)

The other workshop will focus on the creation of beautiful hand-made artist books and be led by Portland poet Marilyn Stablein.

Panels happen on Saturday morning and will focus on the confluence of water and poetry in Cascadia, as well as Levertov’s legacy. That Marlatt, Sam Hamill, Tim McNulty and Brenda Hillman will be on the same stage talking about Levertov is something anyone interested in her legacy should not miss. In addition to the main stage poets already mentioned there will be UW Professor Emeritus Colleen McElroy, whose poems about her youth each equal about a thousand Black Lives Matter speeches; Sarah DeLeeuw of Prince George, BC, whose book-length poem Skeena looks at that mighty river from the river’s perspective; JM Miller, the UW-Tacoma faculty member and healer, whose new book is Wilderness Lessons; Peter Munro, the NOAA Fisheries Scientist who runs the popular EasySpeak Seattle reading series (& facilitates the panel); David McCloskey, the Father of Cascadia who gave the bioregion its name; Jordan Abel, the Vancouver indigenous poet whose erasures of settler texts was an award winning book, the place of scraps; and Elwha storyteller Roger Fernandes, among others. The closing reading will happen at Open Books.

A daily Democratic reading is Living Room, in which all poets can share their original work with other poets. The late night readings, called the After Party, are curated by Seattle poets Matt Trease and Greg Bem and happen at the trendy Common Area Maintenance, and a Cascadia Invitational Slam happens at Black & Tan Hall in Hillman City on Friday and Saturday nights.

On a personal note, the fest is part of a 20-year Cascadia Bioregional Cultural Investigation which also includes a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Innovative Cascadia Poetry, the first Cascadia Poetry anthology, Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia, interviews under the banner of American Prophets and soon Cascadian Prophets and my own serial poem re-enacting the history of Cascadia so far in two hunks: A Time Before Slaughter and Pig War & Other Songs of Cascadia. Through these efforts I hope to discover the Sh’te or animating spirit of place and become a fully re-inhabited Cascadian. See you at the fest.

Gold Passes for entry to every event (except the workshops and the Slam) are $35 and available at Brown Paper Tickets. Admission to single events will be available at the door for $10.

. . . . .
Paul NelsonPoet/interviewer Paul Nelson founded SPLAB & the Cascadia Poetry Festival, published: American Sentences (Apprentice House 2015); A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (essay, Lumme Editions, Brazil, 2013). He’s interviewed many poets, including Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, George Bowering and Brenda Hillman, presented poetry/poetics in London, Brussels, Qinghai & Beijing, China, and published work in Golden Handcuffs Review, Zen Monster and Hambone. Awarded The Capilano Review’s 2014 Robin Blaser Award, he writes an American Sentence every day and lives in Seattle in the Cedar River Watershed.
(Author photo by Susan M. Schultz)

It’s sign-up time!

July 4, 2016

August Poetry Postcards

Once again, it’s time to sign up for the August Poetry Postcard Fest. Registration for the 10th annual APPF begins today, July 4, 2016. To pay the small fee and register, you can go directly to Brown Paper Tickets (be sure to complete your address information carefully so postcards will find their way to you through the mail!) and you can get all the Fest details on the official APPF page.

What’s new this year is that participants will be eligible to submit postcard poems for an anthology, 56 Days of August, to be published in October 2017 by Five Oaks Press. More information on the anthology at 56 Days of August.

send a card

May 2, 2016

poetry postcardsThe first week of May is National Postcard Week. After a month of writing (or intending to write) a poem a day, NPW is an opportunity to share snippets of what you wrote during National Poetry Month — or to craft something brief and new. (Postcard stamps for U.S. mail are currently $0.34.)

This is also a good time to get that reminder into your calendar: signups for the 10th August Poetry Postcard Fest begin in early July. (At the APPF link, subscribe to Paul Nelson’s newsletter to make sure you’re notified and then start gathering postcards from shops, garage sales, thrift stores…and that box in your closet.)

the belated wrap

December 2, 2015

August Poetry Postcards 2015

Though early December seems a trifle late to be doing the wrap-up on the 2015 August Poetry Postcard Fest, here it is, better overdue than never.

The big change this year was that Paul Nelson, who masterfully coordinates the project, decided to implement a $10 participation fee. While this inspired a certain amount of whining initially, it had the overall effect of almost completely eliminating the people who were not serious about participating. In past years, the biggest disappointment has been how many people signed up but never mailed any cards. (Ideally, each participant sends/receives a postcard to/from each person on a list of 31, self sometimes, but not always, excepted.) This year, the deadbeat list was short and many of the non-receipts could be written off to lost-in-the-mail.

While not in its first year, the August Poetry Postcard Fest group on Facebook was more active than ever. One of the added benefits of the group was identifying poets whose names did not appear (by oversight, intent or damage in the mail) on the cards they sent.

About the project, Paul says, “The quality of the writing, of the images and of the kind notes has set a new water mark for the fest for me. I can’t begin to articulate how humbled am I by all the participants, by the liveliness of this here PCFB [Facebook] page and by how many people are chipping in to take this project to the next level… Abrazos!” Here is Paul Nelson’s Highlights from 2015 and his 2015 Afterword.

A number of participants posted their own recaps, some including images and text from their postcards. Here is a sampling (most date from September, so you may have to scroll back): Barbara Jean Sunshine Walsh | Courtney LeBlanc | Elizabeth Woods | Gabriel Cleveland | Kristin Cleage Williams | Margo Jodyne Dills | Mary Beth Frezon | Ruby Kane | S.E. Ingraham | Taffe Cortinas Dongham.

An unexpected bonus to the 2015 Fest has been the arrival of additional postcards well into November. A number of postcarders committed themselves to sending a card to each of the participants on this year’s list — an ambitious undertaking, but that adds up to 208 draft poems that are ready for reworking!

In all, it was a fine month of poetry. Thanks to Paul and all.

2016 will mark the 10th August Poetry Postcard Fest and the countdown clock is already running. See more on the August POetry POstcard Fest page.

See more August Poetry Postcard posts.

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