Cascadia Poetics LAB logo


Only in Seattle would you get a headline like that. & it was a typical Tuesday (except for one small fact celebrated here), so I woke up and looked at my phone to see if there was any urgent business from overnight and, seeing none, saw an email reminding me that I had an appointment to talk to the Rainier Valley Rotary this morning! Ai Yi Yi! A 7:30 start time and an 8am talk!


Fortunately I had already prepared my talk (minutes after getting the invite) and had set aside many show and tell items and just needed to get cleaned up, dressed up and postpone my daily ritual of journaling, prayers, divination and yoga until later. It turns out that the Rainier Valley Rotary, a small group I’d spoken to before, was getting smaller turnouts for these VERY EARLY meetings, but there we were, on a clear Wednesday morning. And in a Swedenborgian Church! Ethan McCardell is the Pastor of the Light for Life Church and this is a bit about the Emanuel Swedenborg:

Born Emanuel Swedberg on 29 January 1688;[2] died 29 March 1772) was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, theologian, revelator, and mystic… During the 1730s, Swedenborg undertook many studies of anatomy and physiology. He had the first anticipation, as far as known, of the neuron concept.[23] It was not until a century later that science recognized the full significance of the nerve cell. He also had prescient ideas about the cerebral cortex, the hierarchical organization of the nervous system, the localization of the cerebrospinal fluid, the functions of the pituitary gland, the perivascular spaces, the foramen of Magendie, the idea of somatotopic organization, and the association of frontal brain regions with the intellect. In some cases his conclusions have been experimentally verified in modern times.

And the program for the day:

5.17.16 Rotary Agenda

And my outline:

Welcome to Cascadia (Rainier Valley Rotary, 5.17.16)

What is a bioregion and why is it important? We live in one of the most lush, ecologically-diverse and culturally-aware bioregions in the world, Cascadia. Its very name comes out of the land because of the dynamic here, water cascading down from above. The founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival (the first iteration of which happened in 2012 in Columbia City) discusses the bioregion, the role of arts in a rapidly-gentrifying city and the next iteration of the festival happening in November.

  1. Bioregionalism
    1. On Peter Berg (Read passage on pg 246: Instead of a political movement, bioregionalism has become the base of a philosophical landscape in which localism and a belief in building the culture of place provide guiding directives. It is at the core of a new unforced social instinct for sharing that grew in our communities in face of ethical deterioration and loss of legitimacy of larger political and economic structures and processes. It offers both a practical reciprocity and a spiritual reenchantment without which the halls of our being are poorly lit. It promises a fulfillment that is based on constant rediscovery and sharing of knowledge of local ecological processes and hold out the key for adapting ourselves and our institutions to them. Bioregionalism is a force rather than an entity, one that will grow with effectiveness as generations succeed one another and our understanding of our places on the planet grows. It alone can bring us, even in our old trucks and soiled clothing, closer to home. In his inimitable, sometimes joyful, occasionally overbearing, and frequently profane way, Peter [Berg] recited for us under the apt cover of bioregionalism the siren call of the sacred, of the land, of the planet — welcoming us home. David Simpson )
    2. David McCloskey (map)
    3. Indigenous (Coastal Salish, Robert Davidson, Susan Point books.)

II.   Art/Culture

  1. Todd Lincoln, The Servant Economy. Keynote address to Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations, hosted by Theatre Puget Sound in Seattle, April 6, 2016: What if we in the arts are the people standing between the fall and survival of a civil society? And what if the only way to save that society is to disengage entirely from the economic model that brought us to this brink?
  2. SF Tech Bro (See article.)

III. Cascadia Poetry Festival, part of a 20 year Bioregional Cultural Investigation, the 4th iteration of which happens in November, 3-6, at Spring Street Center, 15th & Spring.

IV. Innovative Cascadia Poetry MOOC

V. Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia (anthology)

VI. Interviews, recently Colleen McElroy.

VII. Poems – Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia.

20160517_074532Bring: Map, folder, copies of anthology, MOOC cover, Interview page, copies of Pig War, copies of American Sentences.

Suffice it to say that I landed in a service-oriented group meeting in a space partial to esoteric spirituality, my talk was well-received. Thanks to Jayne Dehaan for the invite and to the attendees for the inspiring morning.