78. Wren and Whale Surrender

Click on poem to see .pdf

Click on poem to see .pdf

78 in a series of 99 neo-barroco haibun written after Ramón Gomez de la Serna. This one inspired by E. Richard Atleo’s book Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview. The holistic way of thinking seems to be so natural in my own thought, yet I know there is much that has addled my way of being in the world thanks to the industry-generated-culture in which I live. Just existing in it requires some level of facility and, in many ways, that is antithetical to the kind of unity and interconnectedness I sense in the Tsawalk approach.

I feel very fortunate to have interviewed Richard Atleo and, as always, welcome your thoughts about this poem.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). www.POPO.cards. 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: https://paulenelson.com/americanprophets/) 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. www.PaulENelson.com
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2 Responses to 78. Wren and Whale Surrender

  1. Carol Blackbird Edson says:

    Hi Paul,
    Such important themes! I can sense the spiritual adventure in this poetry – when I visited Chief Sealth’s grave and meditated a few years ago, I heard his voice speaking, he said ,” You must Care for the Land.” I wonder if you were supposed to get lost in the Olympics, in the good way, to be shaken by the immensity, the primacy of it. And get rescued by angels so you can write these poems 😉

    • Splabman says:


      You’re very kind to say this, thank you. I believe the Lost in the Woods sage was an unintentional vision quest, yes. I’d like to see that spot again before I die, the place where I stayed for several days awaiting a helicopter.

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