Cascadia Poetics LAB


The subject of Feminism has been coming up in recent weeks. My interview with Daphne Marlatt touched on it, as she has organized Feminist conferences thirty years ago and identifies as a Feminist. She is one of the headliners for the upcoming Cascadia Poetry Festival.

Our organizing committee for the Festival has had Feminism as a focus for months, as we have been planning two different all women poetry readings at this year’s fest (May 1-4), along with a workshop facilitated by Daphne Marlatt.

And yesterday I had great discussions with two accomplished women who both understand the importance of PLACE in our lives and who I hope will be able to participate in Cascadia II. Jean MacGregor is Senior Scholar and Director for Curriculum for the Bioregion, a project which started out being affiliated with The Evergreen State College. From their website:

Healthy ecological and human communities and a sustainable future world-wide are the greatest challenges facing humanity.We urgently need citizens and professionals who not only understand sustainability concepts and practices but are also motivated to use them – in their households, communities, and workplaces.

And I had a wonderful email exchange with Linda Russo, who teaches Creative Writing and Literature at Washington State University. She says:

“Inhabitory” describes an approach to writing within (and out of) as sense of being one who inhabits, one who is “place-based.”  Each occasion or project creates its own terms, poetics, methods, knowing-making, meanings. This site gathers several works, some completed, some ongoing, and accounts, as much as possible, for the many writers and artists who inform and influence them.

Linda Russo Poem

Her teaching interests include: “writing and place, post-WWII/New American poetries (Beat, Black Mountain, etc.), masculinist & feminist poetics, women’s writing, and creative, investigative & experimental writing.”

And a bit of her introductory essay on a Joanne Kyger feature in Jacket Magazine in 2000 reveals a very deep understanding of Feminism at its best and includes this passage:

Joanne Kyger

Joanne Kyger

…though Joanne Kyger has consistently and for various reasons been an exception to these gendered rules of exclusion, reading her work in this context confirms the limited scope of the recuperative model, for she has continually developed a poetry intricately involved with – responding to and setting forth – the ‘new.’ In stressing the self as a phenomenon, as appearing, being there – Joanne Kyger’s work encourages one to move beyond the tendency to see two types of poets (women and men), which in feminist scholarship has produced a particular, unfavorable model of literary productions. Her work encourages one to see women writers as gesturing outward – in the same generous sense that Charles Olson saw Robert Creeley as a “figure of outward.” 

Joanne Kyger happens to be one of the headliners for the second Cascadia Poetry Festival and we feel the fest is engaging the most important questions a poet in this day and age can consider. Consider being a part of the dialog by reserving your place at the festival, or registering your Small Press for the Small Press Fair while there is still room.