I have only lived in the Rainier Beach neighborhood for thirteen months, but already have the distinct pleasure of sharing some of my poems at the annual BAAMfest. Cindi Laws is the organizer and is creating a neighborhood festival with the spirit of the old Bumbershoot, before it became a corporate affair. I interviewed her YEARS ago about extending the monorail. (See and she was kind enough to invite me.

What: BAAMfest
When: Sunday, August 19, 2018
What Time: 1:45pm
Where: Corner of Henderson and Rainier Av S. at the Rainier Beach Community Center

I will perform for 15 minutes on the Black Business Matters Word Stage at 1:45. Hopefully we’l be running on time and I can run over to the Planet Fitness Main Stage at 2pm and see Deems Tsutakawa for the first time in YEARS. We played his music all the time on KNUA, 106.9FM, back in the day. Who else would title a tune “Tough Tofu?”

Am thinking of reading:

Frida One and Too
First, Breath
Elegy for Tahlequah’s Calf

but that is all subject to the whims of the moment, which sometimes work out well. I’ll bring some books to sell.

We love this neighborhood. Waking up to see the lake everyday to watch sunrises, & plot the track of the sun north and south, is a huge blessing. Having Red Wing Café (a VEGETARIAN café) with amazing food 700 steps away from our house is a blessing. The coffee is excellent, as are the baked goods, the soups and the food in general. I’ve never had a bad meal there and the service is always kind. Never attitude, which is a blessing these days. Also, Jude’s is fantastic and they have a bartender who has special knowledge of vermouth, which can be deadly! (Ask Mark Paschal about Rinomato Americano.)

Rainier Beach still feels like Old Seattle, pre-Amazon, though it too is changing. This neighborhood historically has been a place where people of color (Japanese-American, African-American among others) have been welcomed (or a place to which they were relegated) and so is much more diverse than most Seattle neighborhoods, which suits us. It is NOT bourgeois, which also suits us. The daylighting of Mapes Creek was done with great care and I would like to see the day when it is ALL daylighted, from south of Kubota Garden at its source, through the beautiful gardens to the spot just west of Henderson and Seward Park Avenue south where it pops back up above ground.

It should be fun Sunday. I hope to see you.

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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