Organic Poetry Essays

I’ve been migrating my Org Po essays from to this site. This was the introductory page to the essays on that site. Comments are welcome. A book is coming out in 2012 from Apprentice House:

Organic Poetry Essays

These essays were first created for the graduate work of Paul Nelson for his M.A. at Lesley University. (A Program Summary is viewable.) My gratitude goes out to the poets represented here, especially Michael McClure, Sam Hamill, George Bowering, Robin Blaser, Anne Waldman, Allen Ginsberg, Joanne Kyger and others I had the honor to interview, those poets who did readings at the Northwest SPokenword LAB between February 1997 and April 2005, the various members of my study team, including Frank Trocco and Judith Cohen of Lesley University, David Thomson, Judith Roche and Amalio Madueño.

I am grateful also to my daughter Rebecca Rose Nelson who taught me a thing or two about how to study, to my Pop, Paul Everett Nelson Sr. who helped out financially, Mom whose Cuban heritage I began to understand better after my visit to Cuba, and to all those who inquired about this work, or helped through taking workshops I have facilitated since 1997. Grazie to my SPLAB!-on-the-Road workshop partner and html coach David Rizzi who has been very helpful in getting this site on-line. Thanks also to Denise Enck for her web support and the Richard Hugo House for giving me the opportunity to facilitate extended courses in Organic Poetry. Finally, I am also grateful to the Puget Sound literary community for helping me develop as a writer and student of poetics and Red Sky Poetry Theater, the best reading series I have ever had the pleasure of attending.

For information on Organic Poetry Workshops, please click here.

Introduction to Organic Poetry

What is Open Form Poetry?

Walt Whitman: Poet of Parturition

What is Consciousness?

Cultural Connections (Cuba)

Writing Out of Hell: The Practice of William Carlos Williams

A Response from Amalio Madueño

The Oosumich of Open Form

Dualism and Olson’s Antidote

The Sound of the Field (Olson)

American Sentences: Catching the Shadow of the Moment (Allen Ginsberg)

Changing a Culture: A Look at Cultural Modernism and Free Market Verse

3rd Semester Bibliography

Organic Poetry (Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov)

Evolving The Organic (Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov)

Why Poetry Matters: An Interview with Sam Hamill

Inside Dolphin Skull (Michael McClure)

Crafting the Organic: George Bowering’s Kerrisdale Elegies

Tracking the Fire in Open Form (An Interview with Robin Blaser)

Robin Blaser Book Launch

Response to McClure’s Mysteriosos

Projective Verse: The Spiritual Legacy of the Beat Generation
Presented at the Tools of the Sacred conference in Brussels, May 2010

Innovative Northwest Poets (For Rattapallax Magazine)

Interview OF Paul E Nelson by Greg Bem (10.25.2010)

The Meat Lab of Michael McClure (Nov ’10)

Introduction to Along The Rim: The Best of the Pacific Rim Review of Books, Vol II

Powerpoint of Pacific Rim Poetics presentation given at the 3rd Qinghai Lake International Poetry Festival, China, August 8, 2011.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). He has published a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger) and American Sentences, a book of 17 syllable poems drawn from the first fourteen of his 20 years of daily practice. The tenth anniversary edition of that book includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets (see: has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Bothell, Cumberland, BC, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois, Ukiah, CA, and other places & writes an American Sentence every day.
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