CPF5 (Tacoma 2017) Reviews

Humanities WA

Some reviews of CPF5 (Tacoma, WA, Oct 12-15, 2017) by some participants:

I’ve been to many poetry festivals over the years, and the Cascadia Festival is one of the best at combining literary energy with explorations of environmental, political, historical, and sociological pursuits with a general celebration of poetry.  The invited poets offered a wonderful representation of the diversity of our bioregion—as did the poetics of the works shared.  There were youth events, Veteran events, “living room readings” (that featured festival poets and anyone from the community could share work in).  The WA historical piece embodied by the celebration of Richard Brautigan, the consistent return to thinking about poetry and the environment, the involvement of young poets, older poets:  really, I cannot articulate how generous and egalitarian and stimulating the festival is.  Truly, The Cascadia Poetry festival is a great thing for 

Tod Marshall Photo by Amy Sinisterra

Humanities WA and Arts WA to be a sponsor of—to put it simply, The Festival repped well and did both organizations proud!  I was glad to be there for it and am eager for the next one.

Tod Marshall
Washington Poet Laureate

 

…It was a weekend’s concentration of poetry, poetics, disaster, disability, old age, young age, woundedness, healing, gathering, dispersing, and energy-producing.  This was among the instabilities of the northwest coast Cascadian geography, and its history of conquest and adaptation.  In fact, adaptation seemed to be an underlying theme–a positive theme–of the festival.  Adaptation includes laughter, description, mourning, love, acknowledgement, and recognition.  There was great poetry at this festival and it was brilliantly and respectfully organized.  For myself, I also really appreciated being put up in a comfortable hotel room (with a view of Mt. Rainier) within walking distance of the venue, the venue itself (historical, dignified), and the courtesies and kindnesses extended by Paul and Dale and Bhakti and others working at the festival…  

thanks, and talk soon,

Sharon Thesen
Kelowna, BC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul,

Thank you again for organizing the Cascadia event (a much needed injection of creative energy & community in these bleak times) and especially for getting Michael McClure on the state history museum stage. That was a great setting for a poet of his stature. 

Your (Persian Pony by Michael McClure) introduction is great, dude. It’s a marvelous distillation of the McClurean aesthetic & disposition. I’ve always admired your stunning clarity. One sentence in particular, “McClure’s poetic courage plumbs the depths of perception, achieves a precision of luminous details, a striking originality, and a range of expression form the cosmic to the microscopic,” is an excellent summation of McClure’s oceanic scope. Reading him always gives me a more acute sensation of being alive, having a physical presence especially, as well as a strong undercurrent transcendent force. Your intro encapsulates that quality with pith & mammalian warmth.

Painful to see Michael adjusting to what I assume is a recent hip replacement. Getting old sucks. But what a tour de force to get on stage and immediately begin reciting Chaucer from memory. Jesus, that’s amazing… 

It was also really nice talking with Bhakti.

John Olson

Plans are being made for additional iterations of the festival. Please subscribe to this blog’s weekly emails to keep up to date on developments.

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CPF5 Thanks & Invitation to MOOC

CPF5 (2017) Sponsor

Thanks to Dale King and the Puget Sound Poetry Connection, Humanities Washington and Arts WA, and many other sponsors, volunteers, the SPLAB Board, Small Press Fair participants, brilliant poets and inspired attendees, we’re humbled and thrilled by the success of the recent Cascadia Poetry Festival. It was the 5th iteration, the first in Tacoma and we are moving on to planning for future fests, other events and our 3rd iteration of the Massive Open Online Course. More on that in a moment.

 

A few highlights: CA Conrad’s reading and his depiction of anti-GLBTQ laws as a new kind of segregation, as a Lesbian couple he knows had to leave Texas to continue being parents of their own children;

Patricia Smith’s presence and her Main Stage performance, displaying huge compassion for 34 souls left behind to die during Hurricane Katrina;

Michael McClure‘s touching remembrance of his friend Richard Brautigan which included some of the less-savory character traits of the Tacoma poet to whom the fest was dedicated. McClure’s reading from his brand new book Persian Pony another highlight;

Sharon Thesen‘s moving poem about fires in Kelowna, as a gesture to the fires devastating Northern California wine country, where Ianthe Brautigan-Swensen lives.

Ianthe’s main stage reading and her Brautigan panel participation, when she recalled feeling the presence of her father during those fires near her home;

Tod Marshall‘s Cascadia-centric workshop, his brilliant main stage reading and panel presentation on Brautigan;

Gary Lilley‘s prayer when his submarine would go beneath the surface of the sea, his telling about the Russian submariners who met a tragic end and his own reading on the main stage;

Lorna Dee Cervantes‘s presence, her reading at the Brautigan plaque unveiling, at the main stage and in the final Living Room;

The launch of the poetry postcard anthology 56 Days of August.

I could go on and I want to invite you to the next iteration of the fest, but we’ve not yet confirmed how that is going to happen and go back into planning mode. Video of CPF5 will be up soon.

Please consider being a part of this work of cultural bioregional discovery by enrolling in the free Massive Open Online Course, Innovative Cascadia Poetry on the Canvas portal facilitated by Jared Leising. Enrollment is open now:

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Seattle Review of Books on CPF

I was stunned and humbled by this remarkable article on our festival, which starts tomorrow. Paul Constant wrote it and has been tracking our fest for a few years now. Glad he got some things out of the way and am grateful he gets what we’re doing. An excerpt:

This is why the Cascadia Poetry Festival is more important now than it ever has been. Running from Thursday, October 12th to Sunday the 15th in Tacoma, the festival, which is now in its fifth year, hosts what may be its highest-profile slate of authors yet. Nationally recognized poets Patricia Smith and CAConrad both headline events and host workshops for aspiring poets.

The festival looks back to the history of Cascadia with a “Tribute to Grunge” reading featuring poets like David Fewster who have lived in the area since the Singles era and a panel discussion on the life and legacy of criminally underrated Cascadian poet and novelist Richard Brautigan. (You might argue that Raymond Carver or Tom Robbins have done more to shape the region’s literature than Brautigan, but I’ll respectfully riposte your claims with dozens of poems by contemporary local writers ranging from Sarah Galvin to Sherman Alexie that feel like distant literary cousins of Brautigan’s.)

But the Cascadian Poetry Festival doesn’t exist just so it can stare backward. Most of the festival’s programming is forward-facing. Washington state Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, for instance, hosts a workshop to “explore some of the ways that poets have used a sense of ‘place’ to propel their poetics,” and then extrapolate those observations into the concept of “what a Cascadian Poetic might mean for each of our practices.”

CA Conrad

There are still some slots available to take CA Conrad’s workshop and if you are coming only for one day, Saturday’s panel on the work and legacy of Cascadia native Richard Brautigan, featuring his daughter Ianthe, is not to be missed. We’ll unveil a plaque to honor Brautigan and Steven Jesse Bernstein on Sunday. The fest schedule is here.

See you Thursday, Oct 12 at King’s Books for the launch of 56 Days of August and the rest of the time at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma for this event.

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CPF5 Tacoma, October 12-15, 2017

Patricia Smith Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

Michael McClure

Please join us for the 5th Cascadia Poetry Festival in Tacoma. See the whole schedule here. Registration for all events, except workshops, is $25 and linked here.

Highlights:

Thursday, October 12 7pm – Launch of 56 Days: Poetry Postcards, King’s Books, 218 St Helens Ave. All three co-editors, Ina Roy-Faderman, Judy Kleinberg and Paul Nelson will read work and talk about the book and the August Poetry Postcard Fest. Previous fest participants are encouraged to attend and read. Look at the swag at the book’s IndieGoGo Campaign!

Join us at CPF5 for a tribute to Tacoma native Richard Brautigan.

The festival is a tribute to Tacoma native Richard Brautigan and his daughter Ianthe Brautigan-Swensen will read on the main stage, appear on a panel  focused on the life and legacy of Brautigan and lead a memoir workshop.

Among the scheduled Main Stage poets are: Beat Legend Michael McClure, Patricia Smith, CA Conrad, Bruce Weigl, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Sharon Thesen, WA Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, Philip Red Eagle, Gary Lilly and Lucia Misch.

Living Room is a daily, open and democratic reading where you can read your own work and listen to other poets from around the bioregion reading their own work, 3-5pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday’s Small Press Fair 12N-5pm features: PageBoy MagazineReckoning Press, Pleasure Boat Studio, Ken Waldman (Alaska poet), Pooka Press, Leah Mueller (poet) Blue Cactus Press, Floating Bridge PressMoon Path Press (Glenna Cook Thresholds), Pacifica Literary Review, Wave Books, Cascadia College, Uttered Chaos, entre ríos books.

Sunday at 2 we will unveil a plaque dedicated to the memory of two poets who lived in Tacoma at the very address where the plaque will be installed, Richard Brautigan and Steven Jesse Bernstein.

Michael McClure closes the fest with a solo reading and some memories of his friend Richard Brautigan Sunday at 6pm.

This is the most ambitious event we’re ever attempted and we are grateful to Dale King, the Puget Sound Poetry Connection, Humanities Washington, ArtsWa and other sponsors.

 

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