Craft Talk Organic Poetry, 4.11.13 6P Ballard Library

I remember asking Michael McClure on the phone what it was like to start writing in Projective Verse. I think I had realized by that time I was writing in that manner, in which extreme concentration and dedication to the moment was preferred over extensive revision. He said: That’s like asking me how I learned to walk.” The notion here being that writing projectively (I sometimes use the word organically) is so ingrained, he can’t remember not writing in that manner.

This was probably around 1998 or so and I have learned much from that point about this stance-toward-poem-making and especially how this mode and a mode toward living are inextricable and involve the interconnection of all living things. McClure cites Hua-yen Buddhism and Alfred North Whitehead as influences in this regard and has been an excellent friend and guide to me in my own search.

Ballard Library

Ballard Library

So when asked to do a Craft Talk at the long-running It’s About Time reading at the Ballard Library on April 11, I knew I would talk about Organic Poetry and have adapted my notes for the occasion from the material at that link. (The event starts at 6P and Janée J. Baugher, Arleen Williams and Roberta Feins are also featured, as well as Open Mic.)

So, if you have heard me talk about Organic Poetry and still have questions as to what it is about, this event will be a good, though short, primer on it. I hope to be able to show graphics and play some sound, but we’ll see if that is practical.

I’m grateful to Peggy Sturdivant for the invite and for her work in maintaining this long-running reading.


Craft Talk – Organic Poetry
Ballard Library
5614 22nd Ave. N.W.
Thursday, April 11, 2013 – 6P

See notes for the reading here:

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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6 Responses to Craft Talk Organic Poetry, 4.11.13 6P Ballard Library

  1. Lyn Coffin says:

    I like hearing you hold forth, Paul. You’re entertaining, make a lot of sense, and leave me a little more knowledgeable than I was when I came in the door. I appreciate this long-running poetry site. Cheers-

  2. Jack Remick says:

    I’ll be there, Paul. I like the Olson piece a lot by the way especially his broken line thinking and idiosyncratic syntax which opens up the mind to see it all another way. ty. J

  3. Vickie says:

    FYI! Wrong date above under library address

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