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Cascadia Poetry Festival - San Juan Island - 2021
Seattle, WA
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Cascadia Poetry Festival - San Juan Island - 2021
For the 7th iteration of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, SPLAB moves its bioregional cultural investigation to a hybrid Zoom event. April 30 - May 2, 2020, poets and literature fans will gather to celebrate the Life and Legacy of Robin Blaser and delve into The Practice of Cascadia/The Practice of the Self.

Robin Blaser's life and legacy will be one of two panels at CPF-SJI-2021.

There will be poetry readings, an open reading and panel discussions.

Poets and scholars scheduled to appear include Blaser biographer and literary executor Miriam Nichols (Vancouver, BC), Beat Nun Mary Norbert Körte (Willits, CA) Daphne Marlatt (Vancouver, BC) Sharon Thesen (Kelowna, BC), Bill Yake, (Olympia, WA), Barry McKinnon (Prince George, BC), Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma (Vashon Island, WA). Matt Trease, Nadine Maestas, Peter Munro, Cate Gable and others are scheduled to participate.


We are re-examining the feasibility and efficacy of planned Breakout Sessions at this time.

The Embodied Imagination: An Experiential Workshop on the Practice of Cascadia

The Japanese Zen master Dogen once distinguished between what could be translated as not-thinking, the mere negation of thinking, and nonthinkingthat which points beyond or beneath thinking. With this as our starting point, well explore how poetry can issue from ones deeper body-and-mind, rooted in the earth beneath ones feet. Well take a meditative approach to an awareness of body and breath, and play with some unusual exercises for freeing ones voiceboth ones speaking or singing voice and ones voice as a writer. Well also consider how this exploration connects with a practice and poetics of place. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a notebook and something to write with. Facilitated by Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma.

The Holy Forest as Method & Practice

Taking off from the title of Robin Blaser's collected poems, this workshop will discuss Blaser's use of the words holy and forest as a main focus, in addition to other mid-century spontaneous approaches, including Blaser's and Spicer's practice of outside and Charles Olsons projective verse, along with Frances Boldereff's rarely acknowledged contribution to the latter. Participants are encouraged to bring a poem they'd like to workshop..  Sharon Thesen

Big Poetry and the Public World

This break-out session invites participants to push off from the Big Poetry section in chapter 7 of the Blaser biography (A Literary Biography of Robin Blaser: Mechanic of Splendor). In that section, I contrasted Blaser's push for big poetry with some common literary-theoretical positions of the mid-1990s which would seem to preclude anything so ambitious. By big poetry I mean a poetry of cosmosone that speaks the world as do the creation stories, myths, and epics of the worlds cultures. Blasers own model was Dantes Divine Comedy.  The context of this section is the 1995 conference held in Blasers honor in Vancouver at the Emily Carr College of Art and the published proceedings of it, both titled The Recovery of the Public World (edited by Edward Byrne and Charles Watts, published by Talonbooks). The arguments that I selected from that publication which would seem to render a big poetry unthinkable are as follows:

   From Adorno scholar Robert Hullot-Kentor: a critique of the titular concept of the conferences public world as a façade for economic manipulation and of identity politics as the abandonment by progressives of class-based social change.
   From Steve McCaffery: a Deleuzean reading of Blaser that emphasizes the end of the discrete entity. Blaser's poetic sensibility rests on the polarization of self and world which would seem to assume a universe of definable entities rather than one of continuities and intensities.
   From Charles Altieri: A critique of poetry as unable to offer anything but negation. If all idealizations are ideologically suspect, all histories contaminated, and all worlds partisan then the poet is left with negation of what is or a formalism that endlessly exposes its own devices.

The point of bringing these arguments into contiguity with Blaser's oeuvre is not to defeat them in Blaser's favour, but to explore the premises of Blaser's position which I think come from a different starting point. The purpose of the seminar is to discuss those elements of the above  arguments that participants find compelling and current in the context both of Blasers work (and by extension that of New American poets close to him) and contemporary cultural landscapes: heterogeneous, globalized, presentist, unequal. Moderated by Miriam Nichols.
Sunday 8-9am  Gentle Pre-Breakfast Yoga
In this session, we will practice gentle yoga, conscious breathing and somatic meditation.  Attending to the body, breath, mind and heart is the fundamental focus of yoga. Flexibility is not required!  Laura will bring some mats and blankets, but if you have your own, please feel free.  Facilitated by Laura Yon.

The processional aspect of the world: some pointers from Robin Blaser on writing now

This will be a session that talks about what might be involved in writing our actual present.  It will begin with a brief talk that unfolds from the above phrase taken from Blaser's germinal essay, The Fire. This session begins with the question: how write out of both the personal and the so-much-larger than personal in our crisis-riven time?  It will include a reading from one of his serial Image-Nation poems.  There will be time for discussion of these ideas and how they might be relevant to ones own writing practice in the present. If further time allows, there will be a prompt for an on-the-spot writing session. Facilitated by Daphne Marlatt.


SPLAB (View)
9030 Seward Park Av S.
Seattle, WA 98118
United States

Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
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Online / Streaming / Virtual
Arts > Literary
Other > Green

Minimum Age: 10
Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: Yes!
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


Owner: Director
On BPT Since: Jan 23, 2011
Cascadia Poetry Festival-2021

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