Cascadia Poetics LAB


Poetics as Cosmology With Brenda

LARFP & Poetics as Cosmology Online Workshops

Poetics as Cosmology

(Intro to Spontaneous Composition)

A five week online (Zoom) workshop for people who have had a little experience in spontaneous poetry composition and want more. Join Cascadia Poetics Lab and Poetry Postcard Fest Co-Founder Paul E Nelson in a lively course designed to help you tap into deeper levels of knowing that can begin inform your non-writing life & reduce reliance on editing. Some theory to understand the poetics of 20th/21st c approaches to spontaneous composition, some writing exercises, discussion and between class homework. The work of Charles Olson, Denise Levertov, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Nate Mackey, Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser and others may be discussed along with concepts such as seriality, & investigative poetics & how to write more by getting the most out of first drafts.

The course being offered in January 2023 will focus on the first 60 pages of Brenda Hillman’s new book In a Few Minutes Before Later.

FOR A 30% discount on Brenda’s book, add the code: q301.

All times PACIFIC.

Thursdays, 4-6pm PST, Jan 12, 19, 26, Feb 2 & 9, 2023. REGISTER FOR THURSDAYS HERE.

I think you can take a lot of credit for the fact that people were inspired to do great work in the class.  There is something about the model that really works.  You give people inspiring prompts and fire them up.  But the group is not a “class” really. And that is good. In a class people are children. And that is sort of paralyzing. It is more of an organic community — of equals — so people are constantly getting inspired by each other.  It is supportive, not competitive, and non-hierarchical. And you have an amazing capacity to listen to each person.  I enjoy the workshops and the “family” but — most important — I keep coming back because the classes — and the rich poetry community you have created — keep me writing. 

—Ann Graham Walker
Nanoose Bay, BC
Oct 7, 2022


The course works like so: Workshop participants read or watch course materials, listen to interviews and playlists and write a poem based on the exercise. Then we gather each week to discuss what we liked, or to ask questions about what we did not understand. The hope of the class is that each participant will be able to have an ease of writing spontaneously, as practiced during the Poetry Postcard Fest and that the trust in the intuitive gained in poetry practice is applied to other aspects of one’s life. The hope is that each participant will find a subject fascinating enough to them to commit to a multi-decade research project or “saturation job” in the words of Charles Olson. Matt Trease reminds me that Robert Duncan talked about “Project” being part of “Projective Verse.” To move away from the occasional/prompt poem to a project that begins to attract its own resources is key.

WEEK ONE, SUNDAY JAN 8 & THURS Jan 12 COURSE MATERIALS, LARFP & Poetics as Cosmology workshops:

LISTEN: Brenda Hillman Interview

READ: Forrest Gander Review

READ: From the dedication to page 12 in the book In A Few Minutes Before Later

LISTEN: Murraying playlist

READ: Nanao Sakaki, the Walking Poet (He would have been 100 January 1, 2023!) See also the Ginsberg blog post and this reading of a Nanao poem by Joanne Kyger.

READ: Retrospective on Yayoi Kusama’s seven-decade career


WEEK TWO, SUNDAY JAN 15 & THURS Jan 19 COURSE MATERIALS, LARFP & Poetics as Cosmology workshops:

READ: From page 13 to page 24 in the book In A Few Minutes Before Later

LISTEN: Mary Norbert Körte Interview

READ: Nate Mackey’s Long Song

READ: Anne Waldman Bard Kinetic Memoir

READ: Behind Argentina’s World Cup Magic: An Army of Witches

LISTEN: Paul & Bhakti’s Reception Playlist (During the Pretenders song you should sing along to the words “Baby, Sweetheart.)

WRITE: Unborn Poem Hillman, di Prima

WEEK THREE, SUNDAY JAN 22 & THURS Jan 26 COURSE MATERIALS, LARFP & Poetics as Cosmology workshops:

READ: From page 25 to page 37 in the book In A Few Minutes Before Later

LISTEN: Mary Norbert Körte Interview, Part 2

READ: The Other’s Voice: Cultural Imperialism and Poetic Impersonality in Gary Snyder’s Mountains and Rivers Without End

LISTEN: Stéphane Grappelli playlist

READ: This Shitty Essay

WRITE: Hillman-esque Activist Poem


WEEK FOUR, SUNDAY JAN 29 & THURS Feb 2 COURSE MATERIALS, LARFP & Poetics as Cosmology workshops:

LISTEN: Andrew Schelling on The Facts at Dog Tank Spring

EXPLORE: The Black Mountain College Museum Collection Plan on going there and spending an hour or more looking at things that interest you. Come back with at least one cool new find.

READ: From page 38 to page 47 in the book In A Few Minutes Before Later

READ: Pussy Riot

READ: Magic, Friends, Loyalty, Revolution about Anne Waldman (From Ingrid.)

READ: Bernadette Mayer’s “Memory.”

LISTEN: Sonic Perfume (Nate Mackey’s Double Trio  A playlist with tunes and artists mentioned in Double Trio. Not likely to be used as background music!

WATCH: Richart see also THIS ARTICLE.


Bonus: Sunday, February 12, 2-4pm, Special Zoom Session with Brenda Hillman.

Brenda will read poems from In A Few Minutes Before Later and take questions. She says: “I’m particularly interested in discussing lines or poems in the book they’re curious about (form and writing questions) 🙏🌺🦉” Please come with a question or two for Brenda about certain lines in her work that interest you, or questions about form. You know the Zoom Room. This event is open to those enrolled in current LARPF and Poetics as Cosmology workshops and Founding Supporters of the Cascadia Poetics Lab.

For Poetics as Cosmology workshop participants, it would be helpful if you were familiar with these essays:



THE PRACTICE OF OUTSIDE by Robin Blaser. (Also see my piece: Some Notes on the Practice of Outside.)

The Other’s Voice: Cultural Imperialism and Poetic Impersonality in Gary Snyder’s Mountains and Rivers Without End.

Creativity and the Fully Developed Bard by Ed Sanders

Investigative Poetry by Ed Sanders

Writing or ReWriting

Post Coyote Poetry by Andrew Schelling

EcoPoetics Minifesto- A Draft for Angie – Brenda Hillman