1st Cascadia Poetry Festival

This is the page on which is archived the material from the first Cascadia Poetry Festival, March 23-25, 2012, at SPLAB, in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood.

Gold Pass (Map: David McCloskey © 2010, Cascadia Institute )

The Cascadia Poetry Festival seeks to examine the culture of this region (see map) by gathering poets from the California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia, the Alaska panhandle and Western Montana at SPLAB, in the most diverse zip code in the U.S., to learn, share ideas and techniques, begin to discover the qualities of this bioregion and the possibilities for deeper connection between the inhabitants from all parts of the region. (See Jan 2, 2012 CASCADIA_Press_Release). All access Gold Pass $50.

There are five passes available first-come, first-served tomorrow morning after 8A at SPLAB. Online registration is now closed. Kim Goldberg fest photos here.

Renowned and emerging poets from the region will present talks on Cascadian culture and illustrate how that is presented in the best poetry of the region. Workshops will allow participants to hone their skills in the manner of the best poetry of the region and be inspired by others. Readings by faculty and other invited poets, as well as an open mic will allow for a continuation of the dialog. Morning discussions will extend the opportunities for deeper understanding of the subjects raised and personal one-on-one sessions will afford participants an opportunity to see how to deepen their own gesture.

The Cascadia Poetry Festival March 24-25, 2012, is being presented by SPLAB, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization in Seattle in partnership with the Pacific Rim Review of Books, based in Victoria, BC, the Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center in Seattle, The Raven Chronicles, Poets & Writers, Poetry Northwest, Menacing Hedge, the Elysian Brewpub and Humanities Washington.

For more information, please contact Paul Nelson at 206.422.5002 or at pen@splab.org

Friday, March 23 @ Vermillion, 1508 11th Avenue, Puget SOUND Poetry, curated by Nico Vassilakis.

Saturday March 24 Schedule: (scroll down for faculty bios and workshop descriptions)

9a-11a: Faculty-led discussion on Cascadia, open to Gold Pass holders only
12p-4p: Panel, nature walk and writing prompt: Igniting the Green Fuse: Women on Eco-Poetry moderated by Kim Goldberg and featuring Catherine Owen, Kate Braid & Heidi Greco. Held at Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center
1p-3p: Workshop with Tim McNulty, Images as Windows
4:30p-6:30p: Workshop with Dan Raphael, Reading in the Rain
7:30p: Keynote Talk and Reading with Dan Raphael, Tim McNulty, Judith Roche, Trevor Carolan & Maleea Acker.
9:30P: Great Beer and Poetry: The Cascadia After Party, hosted by Brian McGuigan and Greg Bem and sponsored by The Elysian Brewing Company, with readings by various Cascadians. For additional information, click here.

Sunday March 25 Schedule:

9a-11a: Faculty-led discussion on Cascadia, open to Gold Pass holders only. This event made possible by Poets & Writers.
1p -3p: Workshop with Judith Roche, The Power of Place CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS. A SPLAB Living Room will take place, with poets encouraged to read one of their own poems in a circle format.
4p-5p: Reading featuring poets from the anthology, Introducing A Sense of Place: The Washington State Geospatial Poetry Anthology featuring Washington’s Poet Laureate, Kathleen Flenniken.
6:30 Sunday closing reading with Sam Hamill & Richard Olafson. Sam speaks on what John Haines called “A Place of Sense.” “Or, more loosely, Cascadiana poesía.”
8P (or about 30 minutes after the closing reading) Open Mic hosted by Alex Bleecker.


All-Access Gold Pass: $50, entry to all events
Individual Workshops: $20 (The Roche workshop now FREE thanks to the State Commission on Humanities). (The eco-poetry workshop FREE thanks to the Aububon Center).
Readings: $5 Suggested Donation

Go to Contact/Directions link to register and pay online, or contact SPLAB at 206-422-5002.


Sam Hamill

Sam Hamill is the author of more than forty books, including fifteen volumes of original poetry (most recently Measured by Stone and Almost Paradise: New & Selected Poems & Translations); four collections of literary essays, including A Poet’s Work and Avocations: On Poetry & Poets; and some of the most distinguished translations of ancient Chinese and Japanese classics of the last half-century. He co-founded, and for thirty-two years was editor at, Copper Canyon Press. He taught in prisons for fourteen years and has worked extensively with battered women and children. An outspoken political pacifist, in 2003, declining an invitation to the White House, he founded Poets Against War, compiling the largest single-theme poetry anthology in history, 30,000 poems by 26,000 poets. His work has been translated into a dozen languages. He lives in Anacortes, Washington.

Kathleen Flenniken

Washington Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken

Flenniken was raised in Richland, Wash., and currently lives in Seattle. She holds engineering degrees from Washington State University and the University of Washington, as well as a Masters in Fine Arts degree from Pacific Lutheran University. She is president of Floating Bridge Press, a nonprofit organization dedicated to publishing Washington poets, and teaches poetry writing to students of all ages with the support of arts organizations including WSAC, Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program and Jack Straw Productions.

Flenniken’s first book, Famous (University of Nebraska Press, 2006), won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, and was a finalist for a Washington State Book Award. Her second collection, Plume (University of Washington Press, 2012), about the Hanford nuclear site, was recently chosen for the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series.

Trevor Carolan


Trevor Carolan began writing at 17, filing dispatches from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury scene for The Columbian. Widely traveled, he has published books of poetry, fiction, memoir, translation, anthologies, and a broad range of nonfiction articles and interviews. He served as literary coordinator for the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary; and has been Coordinator of writing programs at the Banff Arts Centre. Active in Pacific coast watershed issues, he earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. at Bond in Australia and lives in North Vancouver where he served as an elected municipal councilor. He teaches English and Creative Writing at University of the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, and is International Editor of the Pacific Rim Review of Books.

His current work The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia and a companion volume Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific are published by Cheng & Tsui, Boston. Other works include Against The Shore: The Best of Pacific Rim Review of Books, co-edited with Richard Olafson; an autobiographical novel The Pillow Book of Dr. Jazz (Ekstasis); Giving Up Poetry: With Allen Ginsberg At Hollyhock (Banff Centre Press); and Celtic Highway: Poems & Texts (Ekstasis). His Return to Stillness: Twenty Years With a Tai Chi Master (Marlowe), is a frequently cited work in Taoist studies.

See: www.trevorcarolan.com

Judith Roche

Judith Roche is the author of three poetry collections, most recently, Wisdom of the Body. Black Heron Press. and editor of First Fish, First People: Salmon Tales of the North Pacific Rim, both have been American Book Award recipients. She was Distinguished Northwest Writer at Seattle University 2007, Literary Director Emeritus for One Reel, and a Fellow in the Black Earth Institute. She has taught extensively in adult and juvenile prisons, and taught poetry workshops throughout the country.

Tim McNulty

Tim McNulty

Tim McNulty is a poet, essayist, and nature writer. He is the author of two collections of poetry, In Blue Mountain Dusk (Pleasure Boat Studio) and Pawtracks (Copper Canyon Press), and ten chapbooks, including Some Ducks and Through High Still Air (both from Pleasure Boat Studio), Cloud Studies (Empty Bowl), Last Year’s Poverty (Brooding Heron Press), and Reflected Light (Tangram Press).

His award-winning books on nature include: The Art of Nature, Olympic National Park: A Natural History, Washington’s Wild Rivers, Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park, Grand Teton: Where Lightning Walks, and Grand Canyon: Window on the River of Time. Tim has received the Washington Governor’s Writers Award and the National Outdoor Book Award. He lives with his family in the foothills of Washington’s Olympic Mountains.

Tim McNulty Workshop Description: Images as Windows (Saturday, March 24, 1-3P at SPLAB)

In our workshop we’ll explore the power of images to convey meaning, nuance and mood in our poems. We’re review some poemes that rely on images, and we’ll jot some images in our notebooks recollected from the past few days. If time permits, we may venture outdoors to gather a few fresh notes from the neighborhood. Then we’ll try an exercise or two that will coax our rough notes into a poem. If everyone is willing, we’ll share some of our works-in-progress. No preparation is necessary, but a pen and notebook are handy – and a willingness to open ourselves to the world outside ourselves.

Maleea Acker

Maleea Acker is a poet and environmental journalist. Her first book of poems, The Reflecting Pool, appeared with Pedlar Press (Toronto) in Fall 2009. Her first non-fiction book, on the Oregon White oak ecosystem, will appear with New Star Press (Vancouver) in 2012. Maleea has attended arts residencies at Blue Mountain Center (New York), Valparaiso, Centre d’art i Natura (Spain), The Banff Centre (Canada and Mexico), The Spring Creek Project (Oregon) and St. Peter’s College. She holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Victoria and teaches at Camosun College, on Vancouver Island.

Richard Olafson

Richard Olafson is an editor, poet, book designer and publisher. A long-time Victoria resident, he is active in many community organizations. Richard has published a number of books and chapbooks, among them Blood of the Moon, Cloud on My Tongue, and There Are Some Men So Unlucky They Do Not Even Have Bodies. He attended the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in its second year of operation and was much influenced the following year by taking classes from Warren Tallman at UBC’s English Department. He lives in Victoria with his family and is publisher of Pacific Rim Review of Books.

dan raphael

dan raphael has been active on the Portland poetry scene for over 3 decades as poet, performer, editor and reading arranger (including a monthly series that ran 13 years downtown.) The State I’m In is his 18th & newest book, while last September’s Impulse & Warp: The Selected 20th Century Poems, includes work from his first 13 collections. Children of the Blue Supermarket, a CD of performances with jazz saxophonist Rich Halley and drummer Carson Halley, was released in February. Current poems appear in Rattapallax, Otoliths, Raft, Heavy Bear and Caliban. He has performed at places like Bumbershoot, Wordstock, Powell’s Books, Red Sky Poetry Theatre, Eastern Oregon U and the Portland Jazz Festival.

Dan Raphael Workshop:

Reading in the Rain will help make you more aware of how to perform your work, and provide some tools, tricks and perspectives. Not that there’s a Cascadian style of poetry performance, but if there was it would have elements of story-telling, using your outside voice, gliding through hecklers and working in a variety of environments. Poets tend to be the quiet observer, but the words you write will show you how to say them. Bring another poet’s poem you like, and a couple of your own; be ready to move around a little.

“Igniting the Green Fuse: Women on Eco-poetry” panel moderated by Kim Goldberg (Nanaimo, BC)

12-4P Saturday panel, nature walk and writing prompt: Igniting the Green Fuse: Women on Eco-poetry moderated by Kim Goldberg (Nanaimo, BC) featuring: Catherine Owen (Vancouver, BC), Kate Braid & Heidi Greco (White Rock, BC) at Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center.

Kim Goldberg

Kim Goldberg is an award-winning poet, investigative journalist and author. Author of Ride Backwards on Dragon, she has studied T’ai Chi Chuan and the related martial art of Liuhebafa since 1997. Her Red Zone collection of poems about urban homelessness has been taught at Vancouver Island University and elsewhere. As a journalist, Kim has reported extensively on environmental topics, winning the Goodwin’s Award for her coverage of the anti-environmental backlash in Canada. Born and raised in Oregon, with a biology degree from University of Oregon, Kim moved to Canada with her family during the Vietnam War years. She has remained on Vancouver Island ever since where she is active in anti-war efforts, homelessness issues and urban art. She offers a popular series of workshops called Pen & Dragon: Kung Fu for Writers combining martial arts movements with creative writing exercises to awaken the body and unleash the mind. Visit her online: www.pigsquashpress.com

Catherine Owen is a Vancouver writer, the author of nine collections of poetry and one of environmental and poetic essays and

Catherine Owen

memoirs. Her book, Frenzy (Anvil Press 2009) won the Alberta Literary prize and her poems have been nominated for the CBC Award, the BC Book Prize, the Earle Birney award and the Fiddlehead contest. She has a Masters in English, works as an editor/tutor, plays bass in metal bands and will be narrator of the upcoming production Awakening the Green Man, an eco-musical.

Heidi Greco


Heidi Greco lives in South Surrey, about a mile from the invisible line that divides Canada from the U.S. She is a long-time environmentalist and has written about her beliefs and concerns in essays, blog posts, and poems. Her poetry collection, Rattlesnake Plantain (Anvil Press, Vancouver), takes its title from a forest orchid which is considered rare in some places, but that still exists in her bioregion. Other books are Siren Tattoo, Shrinking Violets, and several chapbooks. Greco is a regular visitor to Matsqui Penitentiary, where she is part of a writers’ group that does workshopping sessions with inmates. She keeps a sporadic blog at www.outonthebiglimb.blogspot.com.


Kate Braid

Kate Braid has muddled about in the intersection between loving trees and being responsible for cutting down whole forests full – as a carpenter and builder – for years. She has written poetry and non-fiction about subjects from Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Glenn Gould, to mine workers and fishers. In addition to co-editing with Sandy Shreve, In Fine Form, she has published five books of poetry. Her memoir of fifteen years as a carpenter, Journey Woman, is forthcoming in 2012. Her work has won and been short-listed for a number of awards and is widely anthologized. See www.katebraid.com

Katharine Whitcomb

Katharine Whitcomb is the author of a collection of poems, Saints of South Dakota & Other Poems, which was chosen by Lucia Perillo as the winner of the 2000 Bluestem Award and published by Bluestem Press, and two poetry chapbooks. Hosannas (Parallel Press, 1999) and Lamp of Letters (Floating Bridge Press, 2009), winner of the 2009 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. Her poetry awards include a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, a Loft-McKnight Award, a Writing Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and a Halls Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She lives in Ellensburg, WA, where she is Coordinator of the Writing Specialization English Major at Central Washington University. Find out more on her website: www.katharinewhitcomb.com.

Introducing A Sense of Place: The Washington State Geospatial Poetry Anthology edited by Katharine Whitcomb, Robert Hickey, and Marco Thompson, The Center for Geospatial Poetry at Central Washington University! The project features, via Google Earth, poems by Washington poets ABOUT a particular location in the state. A visitor can call up a Google Earth map of Washington and see a map with pins indicating the locations of poems all over the state. Each pin can be zoomed in on and opened to a photograph and a full text, attributed poem with information about the poet.

Paul Falardeau

Paul Falardeau’s Current project, an honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Trevor Carolan, is a multi-dimensional exploration of the still unclassified group of Pacific Northwest eco writers he has called the “Turtle Island Poets.” The paper considers the unique blending of ecological studies, poetics and spiritual practice into a new poetics of place that includes the work of Gary Snyder, Robert Bringhurst, Red Pine, Robert Sund, Bill Yake, Tim McNulty, Mike O’Connor, Andrew Schelling, John Schreiber, Jim Dodge and his mentor, Trevor Carolan amongst several others. He’s an emerging poet, essayist and journalist. A recent graduate of the University of the Fraser Valley, he holds a Baccalaureate in English Literature. While at UFV, Paul was the Arts editor of The Cascade, a CIVL radio DJ, and president of Students for Sustainability. He has also worked with the Reach Gallery Museum and Mission World Community Film Festival. A regular contributor to the Pacific Rim Review of Books, his latest work, “The Great Story of British Columbia: Robert Bringhurst and Haida Oral Literature,” appears in the Anvil Press release, Making Waves: Reading BC and Pacific Northwest Literature. He lives in Aldergrove, BC near Bertram Creek within the Lower Fraser River watershed.


David McCloskey of the Cascadia Institute is a Consulting Faculty Member.

David McCloskey

David McCloskey is a long-time bioregionalist. He taught Sociology, Ecology, and Geography
at Seattle University for many years. Known as “the Father of Cascadia,” he has spoken,
organized, and written widely on Cascadia & the Bioregional Vision. He made the first maps
of “Cascadia” & “The Ecoregions of Cascadia,” and is currently working on “The Bioregions
of Western North America.”

In search of the spirit of place, he has also compiled an anthology of
Cascadian Poetry in 4 movements: “Mountains, Rivers, Sea, and Sky.”
He retired in 2004, and moved back home to Eugene to remodel
the family homestead, and run the Cascadia Institute.

To sponsor or volunteer, contact Paul Nelson at 206.422.5002 or pen@splab.org.




Menacing Hedge image by Mad Graves, used with permission




Elysian Brewing Company

We’re grateful to David McCloskey of the Cascadia Institutefor his vision, inspiration and for the donation of Cascadia Maps.

Cascadia Map courtesy of the Cascadia Institute

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