American Prophets Pre-Sales

SPLAB turns 25 on December 14, 2018, and we’ll be celebrating in the town where SPLAB was founded, Auburn, Washington, the former Slaughter. I am asking readers of this blog and supporters of SPLAB’s work to consider pre-ordering a copy of a book featuring some of the best interviews we’ve presented over the last quarter of a century for $25, one dollar for each year of our service.

The book is American Prophets and the interview subjects are:

Thinkers/Activists: Gloria DeGaetano, Rupert Sheldrake, Jean Houston and Larry Dossey.

Poets: Jerome Rothenberg, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Brenda Hillman and Nathaniel Mackey.

Technicians of the Sacred: Phyllis Curott, Bhagavan Das, E. Richard Atleo and Beaver Chief.

I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering a book for $25 and picking it up at our 25th anniversary party on December 14, or add $5 for shipping costs a one will be mailed to you in December. Paypal to [email protected]

Thanks for your support of SPLAB and this growing poetry and culture interview archive. Nov 14, 2018, update: We’re at $837.00, about a fourth of our original goal. Thanks to contributors: Chris Buckley, Bruce Greeley, George Draffan, Jared Leising,
Ina Roy-Faderman, Bhakti Watts, Greg Bem, Jami Proctor-Xu, Ewan Clark, Sally Anderson, Tom Stiles, Alan Kahn, Lesbia Nelson, Joe Chiveney, Ken Selander,
Reynold Weissinger, Mira Spies, Stanley del Gozo, Jason Wirth, Jayne DeHaan
and Ramon Kubicek.

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Tim McNulty Interview (Olympic National Park Natural History)

Interview with Tim McNulty on Olympic National Park: A Natural History 4th Edition. Recorded Sunday, October 28, 2018, at the home of Tim & Mary McNulty, Lost Mountain, WA

There is something that happens to me when I cross the Hood Canal Bridge and enter the Olympic Peninsula. It is a feeling different from that of entering the Cascades, which are a gorgeous and inspiring mountain range, no doubt. Maybe because the Olympic Peninsula is the site of an epic dam removal project, which is restoring to a pristine condition one of the most legendary salmon-bearing rivers in the world. Maybe it’s because some of the cleanest air in the world can be found here, or the biomass per acre is unique. Perhaps it’s the unique biological diversity, with numerous endemic species of plants and animals, or its prodigious glacier system, the third largest in the contiguous United States. It might be that when I moved to Seattle in 1988, our view from West Queen Anne Hill was The Brothers, or the fact that in the year 2000 I was lost in these mountains and had to be rescued by military helicopter, or that in 1995 I had an epic backpacking trip during which at the top of a mountain overlooking the pristine Boulder Creek watershed I read the words of poet Michael McClure MORE ALIVE THAN I OUGHT TO BE and felt like I understood what he was getting at. The words and setting such a perfect combination.

Poet and Nature Writer Tim McNulty lives in these mountains and he lives with these mountains. Read the 4th edition of Olympic National Park: A Natural History and you will see a hundred or more reasons why this corner of the world is unique and why it deserves its status as a UN World Heritage site. Tim has lived here since 1991 with his wife Mary and we sit at his dinner table to discuss his book, this remarkable part of the world and perhaps some of his poems about his experience living in and with these mountains. Tim, thank you so much for your world class hospitality, for the visit to Han Shan Point yesterday and for all your work on communicating the beauty of this place.

In the first segment Tim discusses how he ended up on the Olympic Peninsula, the wilderness preservation efforts he was involved with and the emergence of bioregional thought on the Peninsula which included people like Jerry Gorsline, Michael Daley, Mike O’Connor and Finn Wilcox. Listen to Part One – 9:52.

In the second segment, he talked about how the book was first conceived, about the Olympics as refugium, or area that serves as a sort of “life boat” for endemic species that do not exist anywhere else. He also read a segment about refugia and about botanical researcher Nelsa Buckingham. Listen to Part Two – 9:09.

In segment three Tim talked about how the Olympic Mountains are home to the lowest elevation of glaciers in the Continental U.S., the advanced nature of the indigenous cultures on the peninsula and the crescent formation and basalt mountains and other aspects of the Peninsula’s  geology. Listen to Part Three – 7:23.

In the fourth part Tim discussed the dramatic difference in precipitation levels between Mt. Olympus and Sequim, just forty miles apart, and the mix of diverse habitat that enables. He discussed the only endemic mammal species in the Olympics, the Olympic Marmot, the threat to the Park of climate change and read a passage on the sunflower star. Listen to Part Four – 8:13.

In part five Tim talked about the epic Elwha Dam removal project, the organization that helped the dams to be removed, the local opposition and opposition by former Senator Slade Gorton, the possibility of removal of Snake River dams and the effort to remove non-native goats from the park. Listen to Part Five – 10:07.

In the sixth and final segment Tim discussed the quiet nature of Olympic National Park, the opposition to Navy jets using the park for war practice, the critical nature of nurse logs for the ecology of the park, Roosevelt Elk (how their slaughter helped the park get created) as well as the blue-leaf huckleberry. He discussed how the park is, in his view, the “heart of Cascadia” and read his poem “A Mountain Blessing.” Listen to Part 6 – 14:28.

If you liked this interview, consider supporting our interview project by buying a copy of American Prophets.


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Elizabeth Cooperman, Thomas Walton, The Last Mosaic (Interview)

Interview with Elizabeth Cooperman and Thomas Walton on their book The Last Mosaic, published by Sagging Shorts, a division of Sagging Meniscus. Recorded Sunday, October 7, 2018, at the home of Elizabeth Cooperman.

Look at the promotional video for the new book The Last Mosaic and it doesn’t even mention that it’s a book. Try to figure out who of the two authors wrote what and good luck with that too. Still, this pocket-sized book of 121 or so pages is oddly compelling, funny, chock full of European history and the work of Elizabeth Cooperman & Thomas Walton, two Seattle poets active in the literary community for many years. Elizabeth by way of the University of Washington’s English Department and Pageboy Magazine and Thomas by way of that magazine, mostly and other activities. Welcome Writers of the Rome Mosaic!

The Last Mosaic (Official Book Trailer) from Tyler Beaman on Vimeo.

Listen to the first segment, the intro: :42

In the second segment, Elizabeth discussed the UW Rome Center and the writing class that happens there in the summer, where faculty member Rick Kenney urges participants to “keep your pencil on the city.” Daily prompts, daily sessions of sharing work written and immersion in the ancient culture of Rome are key facets of the class. Click here to listen to Part 2: 3:16.

In segment three the idea for the book was discussed, accidentally going through each other’s Rome project notes and the near-death experience they had after leaving Rome for Sicily. They also each discussed the wisdom behind a shared or blurred authorship and the liberation they felt doing that and the conscious decision to employ negative capability as defined by Romantic poet John Keats. They also quoted Charles Olson on the notion of authorial ego. Click here to listen to Part 3: 6:29.

In segment four they responded to the blurb from the back of the book which states “to be human is to be broken.” They talked about mosaics in Rome and how they became a less-valued art form, because paintings are portable and how the form of the book is to be broken and/or incomplete. They talked about the similarity of writing to dreaming and to John Berryman’s The Dream Songs regarding the notion of authorship. Click here to listen to Part 4: 7:00.

In part five they read from the book and discussed the etymology of the word mosaic which is related to the word monster. They elaborated on a quote from the book that says: “the written word has not been so neglected since, perhaps, the Dark Ages.” Click here to listen to Part 5: 6:54.

In part six they discussed the notion of how alphanumeric literacy may have re-wired modern brains to value masculinity over femininity and the use of the image by religions as a matter of control. They argued that when art became didactic, culture declined and read a passage from the book stating that. They also talked about taking a cobblestone home. Click here to listen to Part 6: 6:02.

In part seven, they discussed the quote in the book that says: “It is a mistake to think that our minds somehow control our bodies and our emotions. The body runs the show. The mind is merely engaged in damage control.” Mind creates a narrative after a body reacts to whatever happens in our lives. They also discussed a quote on pages 39 and 85: “Beauty is that which we want to repeat” and the notion of having resonances in the book which are evocative in one way of the bells one is always hearing in Rome, sound ripples.They discussed the value of poetry in our culture. Click here to listen to Part 7: 6:49.

In the 8th segment they talked about the process, about a argument they had at the beginning of writing the book and continued throughout the writing process, though they also say they had fun writing the whole book. They also discussed the experience of being in the ancient city of Rome and how it became clear to them that Rome is the foundation of all Western culture and that given Roman history, the current U.S. administration is survivable. Click here to listen to Part 8: 7:47.

In the last segment, number nine, they read a passage on the Roman Emperor Tiberius and discussed how the ancient and present are happening in the same space and the same time. We think that we understand time, but they say being in a city like Rome, is that past, present and future exist in the same street. Also, as a writing, you can choose your ancestors. They talked about their writing ancestors and included Sappho, Sylvia Plath, Montaigne and Baudelaire and how writing is listening. Click here to listen to Part 9: 8:18.

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