Daphne Marlatt and the Spirit of a Bioregion

To dwell with conifers. Eaves drip, echo cedar’s arm
shedding water down Spray scales waxy (cover
you lost.

-Daphne Marlatt from the poem UnderLiquidities Cover
published in Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now

Daphne Marlatt

Daphne Marlatt

My cultural investigation of the bioregion known as Cascadia continues with Daphne Marlatt, one of the best known Canadian poets, a participant in the seminal 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, feminist and Buddhist. It was in segment five of our January 11, 2014, interview in which she read the poem from which the above snippet was excerpted and she gives us a sense that water clearly shapes Cascadia more than your typical bioregion. Water, as mist and fog, may have a huge role in how things get masked here as well and I am thinking of the legendary passive aggression here and Daphne Marlatt does not get into it, but this is a little taste of what workshop participants will get when she facilitates the only workshop at the upcoming Cascadia Poetry Festival. The workshop is halfway sold out at this point and registrants will be limited to 15. I suspect that events like this will likely will be seen as quite important when the history of this bioregion is being written in the future. We should be as focused, perceptive and dedicated as writers like Daphne Marlatt. Hear segment five here.

In a Word, or Many: Where Language meets Terrain
Limited to 15 participants.

This poetry workshop (which does not exclude prose) will investigate the ways words come to us in the act of writing when we situate ourselves on the threshold between our outer and inner worlds, with language as the sill for that threshold.  We will look at how perception works linguistically, moving through lexicon and syntax, and relationally, within the locale, creatures and persons that sustain us. There will be writing time in the workshop as well as time for discussion and exchange.

Bio: Daphne Marlatt has published more than twenty books across a wide range of genres, including poetry, fiction, criticism, and theory.  She has also been the founder of ground-breaking journals, including Tessera and periodics, and an editor on several other journals.

She has published three innovative novels: ZocaloAna Historic, which received critical acclaim, and Taken.  Her early poem sequence, Steveston, led to the writing of The Gull (2009) an award-winning Noh play based on the traditional Japanese drama form.  Marlatt’s The Given (2008), a long narrative poem, won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.  She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2006 for her contributions to Canadian literature.


About Splabman

SPLAB founder Paul Nelson wrote Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, German, 2008) as well as a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010). In 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others. Founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, recent publications on and off-line include: Hambone, Pageboy, Menacing Hedge, Fieralingue, Rain Taxi, Solitary Plover, the Soul of the Earth anthology, Along the Rim: The Best of the Pacific Rim Review (Vol 2), Inactual, Raft magazine and Golden Handcuffs Review. He lives in Seattle, won the 2014 Robin Blaser Award from the Capilano Review and writes at least one American Sentence every day.
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