Lightning Round (Short Poem Fiesta)

Poster by Tessa Hulls

Poster by Tessa Hulls

I am not sure when we started it, or how it started, but a tradition from the old SPLAB during the first few iterations of the Ginsberg Marathon featured a Lightning Round. We’d gather in a circle and between drum beats each participant would read a haiku-length poem. Pretty simple. Some read haiku. Some recited bumper stickers. Some improvised. (I remember Ace Moore saying that it reminded him of Laugh-In.)

So, we need you, short poem aficionado. June 1 and 2 we’re staging our 12th Allen Ginsberg Open Mic Poetry Marathon. As always there will be Beat-inspired poems, open mic in the true democratic spirit of Allen and the Beats, a featured reading by Jack Remick and one by the Band of Poets, a sunrise reading at 5A and a Lightning Round at 9A. Bring a book of haiku, bring your own short poems, American Sentences, or come just to give us 17 (or less) vamped syllables. The venue is Spring Street Center, at 1101 15th in Seattle, at the corner of 15th & Spring. We hope to see you. & if you arrive at 6A, help yourself to breakfast.

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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