Death Rattle, WA 129, Postcards, Cascadia Po Fest

It used to be that the summer in Seattle had very little in the way of literary arts events. When Labor Day weekend came around, poets got caught up at Bumbershoot at the Bookfair and the Sunday night Red Sky Theater Open Mic. A new literary season would begin. Not so anymore. Even though there is still much truth to my American Sentence from 2005:

8.21.05 — Seattle license plate holder: Yard Work is for People who don’t Kayak.

Things have changed. Not everyone is backpacking or kayaking in the summers around here.

Paul, Sept 2000, refusing media interviews for once

For me though, summer is road trips and postcards and September backpacking, only once requiring a helicopter. So, I plan my autumns around literary arts events and Fall is here. A few upcoming events, updated from last week’s post.

8pm, Thursday, October 5 – Death Rattle Writer’s Festival. I will read at the Flying M Coffee Garage, 1314 2nd St S, Nampa, Idaho 83651. Quenton Baker and Janet Holmes are also on the bill, so it should be a fine night.

7pm, Monday, October 9 – Poetry Postcard Panel, Mt. Baker Theater Encore Room, 104 North Commercial Street, Bellingham, Washington. Ina Roy-Faderman, Joanna Thomas, Nancy Pagh, Eugenia Hepworth Petty and Tallie Jones are on the panel and I moderate. Judy Kleinberg set this all up and she is a dynamo! She, with Ina Roy-Faderman and I, co-edited 56 Days of August: Poetry Postcards and the book is beautiful! They worked their asses off and it shows. Consider supporting our IndieGoGo campaign that is going to aid the effort to offset publication costs.

6pm, Wednesday, October 11 – WA 129 reading, at Vashon Bookshop, 17612 Vashon Hwy SW, Vashon, WA, with WA Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, Shankar Narayan, Laura Gamache, Allen Braden, Martha Silano, Paul Nelson and Vashon’s new poet laureate, Merna Hecht. I have a haibun published in the book and I admire the range of poetry and the geographic representation which you would expect from the first Poet Laureate from Eastern Washington. This project is my favorite of all the projects done by WA poets laureate.

7pm, Thursday, October 12 – 56 Days of August launch, King’s Books, 218 St Helens Ave Tacoma, WA. Like I said, the book is beautiful and this is the event that kicks off the 5th Cascadia Poetry Festival.

3pm Friday to 7:30pm Sunday, the 5th Cascadia Poetry Festival, Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific, Tacoma, WA. The biggest event I’ve ever attempted. Michael McClure, Patricia Smith, CA Conrad, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Bruce Weigl, Tod Marshall, Ianthe Brautigan and a tribute to her father, Tacoma native Richard Brautigan. The Saturday morning panel on Brautigan’s life and legacy promises to be a highlight and you can imagine how excited I am to present Michael McClure as the closing reader Sunday night, 5 days she of his 85th birthday. He’ll share some memories of his friend Richard Brautigan.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 3-5pm during the fest, Living Room is a democratic reading and the Puget Sound Poetry Connection is hosting the event Friday, Creative Colloquy on Saturday and Sam & Sarah Tower on Sunday, right after the unveiling of a plaque to honor Richard Brautigan and Steven Jesse Bernstein.

I hope to see you soon at one of these events.



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Death Rattle, Postcard Panel, IndieGoGo Request

Some events of note for those interested in my work:

Monday, October 2, 2017, I have been invited to read for the Striped Water Poets in Auburn, Washington at the Rainbow Cafe, 7pm, 112 E. Main Street. Bill Yake will also read and it will be my second reading in Auburn since I left in August 2009 after living there for 17 years, 6 months and 2 days and publishing the book “A Time Before Slaughter” chock full of Auburn history. I look forward to seeing old friends and reading a poem for my late friend Brian Love.

Thursday, October 5, 2017, 8pm at Flying M Coffee Garage, 1314 2nd St S. in Nampa, ID. I’ll be one of the featured readers the opening night of the Death Rattle Writer’s Festival. Quenton Baker and Janet Holmes are also featured, among others, and I look forward to meeting them and hearing their work. Good to be getting to know some poets in Eastern Cascadia.

Monday, October 9, 2017, 7pm, at the Mt. Baker Theater, 104 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA, I’ll be on a Poetry Postcard Panel, with Tallie Jones, Ina Roy, Nancy Pagh, Joanna Thomas and Eugenia Hepworth Petty. Judy Kleinberg, one of the editors of the 56 Days of August poetry postcard anthology has arranged all this and I’m delighted that Ina, the other editor (the main one truth be told) is coming up from the Bay Area to be part of this.

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 7pm, at King’s Books, 218 St Helens Ave Tacoma, WA, we have the launch of 56 Days of August as the first event in the Cascadia Poetry Festival. Ina Roy, Judy Kleinberg and hopefully MANY OTHER postcard poets will be reading that evening. Admission is free, but we would encourage you to stay in Tacoma all weekend and get a gold pass for the most ambitious poetry event I have ever attempted, with the support of Dale King, the Puget Sound Poetry Connection, the SPLAB Board, key volunteers and many other poetry lovers.

October 13-15, 2017, at the Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA, I will be enjoying Main Stage readings, a tribute to Tacoma Native Richard Brautigan featuring his daughter Ianthe, CA Conrad, WA Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, Nadine Maestas, a panel on War Poetry/Veterans, featuring Abby Murray, Philip Red Eagle, Bruce Weigl, Doug Johnson, Gary Copeland Lilley & others, as well as Lorna Dee Cervantes, Patricia Smith and one of my poetry heroes, Michael McClure, who reads 5 days before his 85th birthday, Sunday, Oct 15 at 6pm. There are workshops and it all costs $25 yankee dollars for a Gold Pass. Get one HERE.

Friday, October 27, 2017, 7pm at Mother Foucault’s bookstore, 523 S.E. Morrison, Portland, OR, the PDX launch event for 56 Days of August with Kelleyanne Pearce and other postcard poets. As she puts it: “Come join Postcard Poetry Fest alums during a poetry reading and open mic event to celebrate the launch of the 56 Days of August anthology from Five Oaks Press. Enjoy a beverage, hear poets read their best and latest works, buy a book and check out the cool, quirky, cozy and endearing Mother Foucault’s Bookshop.”

YOU CAN SUPPORT the publication of 56 Days of August. Consider a contribution to our IndieGoGo campaign. And look at the premiums from Michael McClure, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley and others! Signed books, rare editions! Ai yi yi!

See you in October!


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Cascadia in Cumberland

A comprehensive review of what I experienced in Cumberland, BC, at the first Cascadia Poetry Festival requires more bandwidth than I have right now, but a few thoughts. I as delighted to have Jared Leising, Matt Trease and Bhakti Watts join me. These are three key SPLAB volunteers, as Jared runs the MOOC on Innovative Cascadia Poetry, Matt has been coordinating the late night festival activities last year and this and Bhakti is an all-around advisor, numbers person and volunteer willing to do just about any job.

After checking into the Riding Fool Hostel, which the organizers had rented for the whole weekend, I made sure that we got to see the sculpture garden of George Sawchuk in Fanny Bay, BC.

I wrote a tribute poem to George and these woods earlier in the year after my first visit and debuted the poem at the festival to a warm reception. An excerpt:

Kevin Paul

Readings by Stephen Collis, Jan Zwicky and Sarah DeLeeuw were highlights for me, as well as the reading and overall presence of Saanich Nation poet Kevin Paul. I was not familiar with his work before this event, but his soft-spoken humility combined with powerful testimony from his elders, usually close family members, which coursed through his work and all of his participation over the weekend was inspiring. To give him a lift home and learn about his ancestral homeland was a real honor.

The event was not without was controversy, as we had a bit of mansplaining on the panel and it did not sit well with the only female panelist. It just shows how critical gender balance is to these events and that Adelia (Nicola) MacWilliam had to drop out as moderator at the last minute did not help that particular facet of the event.

The festival organizers Adelia, Ed Varney and Dan Kirk worked their asses off and are not yet planning a more intimate gathering the same weekend in 2018. Although SPLAB Co-Founder Danika Dinsmore likened the hostel accommodations as a “Poet’s Slumber Party” which of course would show up in an American Sentence.

Sarah DeLeeuw

All-in-all it is clear to me that this bioregional cultural organizing goes nowhere without an embrace from Canadians and without indigenous participation. Our progress, as I believe is the case with society as well, will only be successful if Indigenous people can live traditional lives with respect and dignity. We are a long way from that moment. Now if we could get some of the Tacoma Cascadia Poetry Festival (the big one, Oct 12-15, 2017) ) to attend in BC and vice versa.

9.9.17 – Morning after “poet’s slumber party,” of course panties in the bathroom.




Shanye Grec

Matt Trease

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