Never Not Making It New: The Poet’s Always Work (Living Room Tue 2/21)

“Words can neither define nor explain”  -Alan Watts

It is not news that the world is in a constant state of flux (just ask the Fluxus poets, or Siddhartha Gautama).  Ever-evolving, it parallels life itself; the only thing absolute is amorphousness.  In his seminal text The Wisdom of Insecurity (1951), English theologian and Buddhist scholar Alan Watts discusses how, though necessary for human functional existence, the use of language betrays the nature of change in its attempt to create fixity.  In essence, words are static stickers we affix to ideas and things that defy stasis.  The more stock we put in the labels, the further we get from truly understanding life, the universe, and everything in it.  (Douglas Adams was also down with deconstructive Buddhist linguistic theory).  It is the poet’s work, therefore, to make sure words are used in new, dynamic ways – that not only do they not live by the law of the dictionary, but that they constantly re-write it.  We’ll read from Watt’s work, discuss this life/language phenomenon, talk about tables, and perhaps engage in brief writing exercise.  Bring original work for critique that speaks to – or does not – this topic. Alex Bleecker is your guide.

Alan Watts

Writers of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels gather Tuesdays at 7P to read new work, the work of someone else or to just be in the engaging company of other writers. Your donation of $5 helps SPLAB continue our programming. Please bring 8 copies of the work you plan to read. If you do not bring copies, they are available for 10c.

Living Room happens @ SPLAB in the Cultural Corner at 3651 S. Edmunds. (Look for the SPLAB sign on the wall and come inside.) We’re 2 blocks from the Columbia City Link Light Rail Station. (Parking is available on the school grounds.)

 

About Splabman

Poet/interviewer Paul Nelson:

Founded: SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) & the Cascadia Poetry Festival

Wrote: American Sentences (2015), A Time Before Slaughter (2010) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (Lumme Editions, Brazil, 2013). His 2015 interview with José Kozer was published in 2016 (Ranchos Press) as Tiovivo Tres Amigos.

Interviewed: Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Joanne Kyger, Robin Blaser, Anne Waldman, Ed Sanders, Diane di Prima, Nate Mackey, George Bowering, Brenda Hillman, among others
and is engaged in a 20 year bioregional cultural investigation of Cascadia, including the festival, a MOOC (Innovative Cascadia Poetry), interviews with Cascadia poets indigenous elders and activists, and the anthology Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia. Paul is co-editor of that anthology as well as 56 Days of August the poetry postcard anthology and writes an American Sentence daily.

*MOOC = Massive Open Online Course

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