Get to Know a Local Poet: Paul Nelson

Oh boy. The Hugo House blog people suspected I’d kick up some shit and I probably did. (I do without knowing it! HA!) Anyway, here is the link to their latest profile of Your Wily Splabman.

And below, I’ve pasted in the portions THEY put in bold, to give you a little taste, but be sure to go to their blog and at very least see Sam Hamill’s block quote. It’s a beauty.

“A Time Before Slaughter” looks upon the history of a place with a gaze that strives to be both critical and understanding—in equal measure—from the perspective of someone who is personally invested in the actual place.

I feel the poet’s main role in such a political stance is to learn the local history and tell it in verse. If poets do not tell the story, we’re at the mercy of Fox News and other propagandists.

Sometimes you think you can get a poem out of a certain event, but the energy is not made available. Sometimes poems fall right into your lap.

We had a highly successful Teen Slam, which culminated in taking a group of young poets to San Francisco to compete in the National Teen Poetry Slam Championships.

Society has so marginalized itself with cheap entertainment and useless diversions, such as “American Idol,” talk radio, video games and technology so that if someone is not a household name, there is an education process required to illustrate why a certain poet deserves wider attention.

Many people are trying to fill some kind of personal lack through becoming some kind of poetry star

That said, Seattle has some of the most attentive and appreciative audiences you’ll find anywhere.

About Splabman

Poet & interviewer Paul E Nelson founded SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) & the Cascadia Poetry Festival. Since 1993, SPLAB has produced hundreds of poetry events & 600 hours of interview programming with legendary poets & whole systems activists including Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Joanne Kyger, Robin Blaser, Diane di Prima, Daphne Marlatt, Nate Mackey, George Bowering, Barry McKinnon, José Kozer, Brenda Hillman & many others. Paul’s books include American Prophets (interviews 1994-2012) (2018) American Sentences (2015) A Time Before Slaughter (2009) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (2013). Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia (2015), 56 Days of August: Poetry Postcards (2017) and Samthology: A Tribute to Sam Hamill (2019) Make it True meets Medusario (2019), he’s presented poetry/poetics in London, Brussels, Nanaimo, Qinghai & Beijing, China, has had work translated into Spanish, Chinese & Portuguese & writes an American Sentence every day. Awarded a residency at The Lake, from the Morris Graves Foundation in Loleta, CA, he’s published work in Golden Handcuffs Review, Zen Monster, Hambone, and elsewhere. Winner of the 2014 Robin Blaser Award from The Capilano Review, he is engaged in a 20 year bioregional cultural investigation of Cascadia and lives in Rainier Beach, in the Cascadia bioregion’s Cedar River watershed.
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