Deep in Cascadia: What Does It Mean to Be Here/Write Here?

I am honored to be invited to talk in Nanaimo on January 21, 2018, to discuss Deep In Cascadia: What Does it Mean to be Here/Write Here? I am grateful to Carla Stein, Ann Graham Walker and the BC Federation of Writers.

When I think of the ecological crisis we are facing RIGHT NOW, the 6th great extinction event, Cascadia poets are sounding the alarm and have been for, well, half a century, if you count Gary Snyder. The new book by Jason Wirth, Mountains and Rivers and the Great Earth, about Snyder’s epic poem Mountains and Rivers Without End and Snyder’s use of Dōgen is one huge source for this topic.

The book Once in Blockadia by Stephen Collis shows not only a huge awareness of the crisis, but also the huge commitment to taking a stand HERE, in this bioregion. Never didactic and using humor and poetry found in some of the most unusual places, Collis is a model for other Cascadia poets.

My Subud Sister, Adelia MacWilliam just defended her Master’s Thesis at U Vic and the work Midden is a collection of poetry which:

addresses the collective amnesia in the descendants of the first European settlers on the west coast of British Columbia. The settler woman speaker examines the deliberate erasure of the original settlers’ subtle or overt efforts to marginalize and even erase the indigenous people of the coast. 

Getting it right with the indigenous people of this land (or ANY land) is a critical step in any recovery project and can’t happen without it. Adelia’s work is remarkable and I look forward to seeing it in book form.

Peter Berg‘s essential writings, collected in The Biosphere and the Bioregion are a source highly recommended for someone interested in the practical activities to mitigate the crisis and give the next generations a direction. See also A Green City program by the Planet Drum Foundation and:

Suffice it to say I’ve been tracking these and similar threads for a long time and these are some of the potential sources for my talk on January 21, 2018. I hope to see some of my Nanaimo friends:

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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