Postcards in Twisp

Thursday and Friday, (5.10 & 5.11.2018) I will be the Methow Valley for events that involve the August Poetry Postcard Fest.  Fest registration starts in less than two months and this is the first fest we’ve facilitated since the release of 56 Days of August, the poetry postcard anthology.

Judy Kleinberg

Christine Kendall is a Methow Valley resident and veteran postcard fest participant. Working with the Methow Arts Alliance she’s set up three events involving me and one other co-editor of 56 Days, Judy Kleinberg:


Tod Marshall




And after a day of workshopping at the local high school Friday, we will be part of a reading with Tod Marshall:

DATE: Friday, May 11, 5:30-7:30pm.

LOCATION: Trail’s End Bookstore in Winthrop, WA. CONTACT: Methow Arts, info (@) methowartsalliance (dot) org, 509-997-4004.

As of today I have written 728 postcard poems. I am participating in the 52/52 project, a spin-off from the August Poetry Postcard Fest conceived and produced by Kristin Cleage.

It will probably come up in the workshop, or at the high school workshop, but postcards, for me, are all about composing spontaneously and about seriality. I have been blessed in my poetry life to have access to the minds of master poets, via my radio career and the interviews I was doing for a syndicated radio show, through facilitating events for SPLAB and by being interested in this stance toward poem making. This past Sunday I had the good fortune to interview George Bowering and George Stanley in Vancouver, BC. Their new book is a “tumble book” meaning that one end the book is written by one George and the other by the other George. There is no back! And they talked about writing each other into their poems. Listen as they read poems (or parts of poems) from the new book, including two epistles: (text of two of the poems, here)

George Stanley

George Bowering and his blasphemous t-shirt

George Stanley reads a portion of “3”, a poem from West Broadway :27. Click here to listen.

George Bowering reads “Letter to George Stanley.” 1:19 Click here to listen.

George Stanley reads “Letter to George Bowering.” 1:38. Click here to listen.

That these poets are masters, having taken the job of writing and the study of poetry quite seriously for almost 60 years is important. That they’ve been part of communities that have transformed the practice of composing poetry (the San Francisco Renaissance in George Stanley’s case, TISH in George Bowering’s) and very much understand the organic method, is also critical. After 60 years, some of the conclusions these two master poets have come to include the notion of spontaneity and the notion of seriality. How to address a subject that has great importance to you, but not worry about being definitive, but knowing that you can take further stabs at attempting to articulate (or transcribe from whatever outside source) exactly what is happening? Sam Hamill talked about a “provisional conclusion” and he understood the power of the serial method as well. I hope the folks in the Methow Valley get some sense of the power I intuit in spontaneous composition and serial form.


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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2 Responses to Postcards in Twisp

  1. “As of today I have written 728 postcard poems…….” as of today I am 51/52 & 165 total….hard to catch the founder of the August PoPo Fest…..I am truly enjoying the morning “time” spent tuning/attuning with each recipient of the 52/52……have a tremendously poetic weekend in Twisp Namaste StanleydelGozo

  2. MaM says:

    Really interesting bits in this piece. Thinking of Sam and eastern Wa and how much you have brought to theNW. Thanks

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