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 start where the poetry postcard fest left off and help you understand how to tap into deeper levels of knowing that can begin inform your non-writing life. 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 reducing your reliance on editing.
2 courses are being offered in Fall 2022. All times PACIFIC. Daylight Savings Time ends Nov 6.
Cost – $215 (Some scholarships available. Contact Paul.)
Limit – 15 participants in each session.
Paul E. Nelson’s “Poetics As Cosmology” course begins in a completely astounding way with a poem by Ed Dorn, “My Tribe.” If that is not enough to stop you in your tracks, what follows provides inroads and out roads from this seed sprout, this shake down. While Dorn would be embarrassed to be an initiator of such weight of purpose, he would also be so honored by Nelson leading “Poetics As Cosmology” and its poetic investigation via the stance of the Black Mountain School with his poem.
Nelson helps all attendees to explore the possibilities of language, and especially the long poem as an embodiment of instruction in one’s own life. Course materials, discussions, and work-in-progress all contribute to a sense of participation in the mysteries of the creative process made real and “organic,” to use Levertov’s term. Knowing that Nelson’s course is dispatched from deep in the Cascadia bio-region makes it even better. How wonderful it is to be a part of this.
– Susan Kay Anderson, Fall 2020 Poetics as Cosmology participant
Paul Nelson’s Poetics as Cosmology course was resonant and revelatory. I appreciated Paul’s high expectations for engagement. The workload was significant, and pushed me to meet the material: to engage with the demanding readings, to write a lot each week, and to make space in my life for artist dates. Paul pushed me to live as an artist: all-in, lit up, senses sharp, aware of life’s richness and magic. The experience felt like much more than a weeks-long, online course. It felt like a door onto something very good.
– Laura King, Fall 2020 Poetics as Cosmology participant
Paul Nelson’s organic poetry workshops are less a class than a journey, leading the participant not only to an ingeniously natural method of writing, but to the living energy of the poem itself. And he does this all with humor, profound inclusion and deep knowledge about organic verse, its origins with the Beats & Black Mountain school and its profound applicability to today’s poets. If you want to learn how to clip the strings of your mental editor and free your lines to run where they really want to, take this course.
– Rob Lewis, Fall 2020 Poetics as Cosmology participant
Expect to be surprised. Paul Nelson is a master at opening doors to fresh perspectives on poetry and your relationship with it. His Poetics As Cosmology workshop was challenging, fun, and inspiring. Paul is practically a living library of modern poetry whose depth of knowledge led me to explore readings and recordings of poets who were new to me as well as some I’d loved and forgotten.
The lessons and writing exercises offered insights into different poetic forms and the opportunity to experiment with them, each exercise like walking down a strange new street. The first writing exercise, a cover of Ed Dorn’s “My Tribe”, blew the lid off any reluctance I had to explore my own mythology. And that was only the beginning. The discussions and laughter shared with Paul and other participants, and hearing some of their poetry, added an even deeper level of richness to the workshop. I came away more confident and more disciplined in how I work and play with my poetry. Highly recommended.
— Carol Keslar, Fall 2020 Poetics as Cosmology participant
How is a stance toward writing poetry a model for living one’s life? How can the act of writing spontaneously deepen one’s intuition/guidance/connection to one’s more noble self? In six weeks we’ll investigate several post WWII stances toward spontaneous composition, read essays, poems, engage in writing exercises, discussion and have related outside-of-class activities suggested to deepen one’s relation to this stance.
Ideally participants would read materials in advance of the regular session and come ready to discuss.