SPLAB 20th Anniversary (Jan 18, 2014)

It was December 13, 1993, when It Plays in Peoria Productions was formed in Auburn, Washington. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to, among other things: Injecting a Little Wisdom into the Information Age. We were started as an organization that existed to create public affairs programming for regional radio stations and, at our peak, we syndicated a weekly program to 18 stations. We created over 450 hours of original interview programming between 1993 and 2004.





In 1997 the Northwest SPokenword LAB was co-created by me (Paul Nelson) and recent arrival from Boulder, Danika Dinsmore. (See this note). We found a space (an abandoned store front) at 14 S. Division in a 100+ year old livery stable, which became our poetry center. Described by one visitor as “a center for culture in the bowels of Auburn” we hosted over 400 events between 1997 and 2004, including visits by Anne Waldman, Michael McClure, Andrew Schelling, Ethelbert Miller, Wanda Coleman, Ed Sanders, Eileen Myles, Diane diPrima, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Jerome Rothenberg and other legendary poets, a Teen Slam series which culminated in a team being taken (thanks to the Alhadeff Foundation) to San Francisco in 200, for the National Teen Poetry Slam Championships (which was the impetus to form a Youth Speaks chapter in Seattle, many workshops, critique circles, Red Cedar medicine circles and other events.

In 2009, SPLAB was re-launched in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood and the name of the organization was officially changed to SPokenword LAB (SPLAB). To see one season of activities, click here.

On January 18, 2014, at 7pm at the Spring Street Center at 15th & Spring in Seattle, we celebrate 20 years of spokenword activism and announce the headliners of our 2nd Cascadia Poetry Festival. You are welcome to attend.

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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