Cascadia Poetry Festival 2021 Registration Open

The 7th Cascadia Poetry Festival is happening April 30-May 2, 2021 at the Multiverse on San Juan Island. Registration is $50 for all events and available at Brown Paper Tickets. See: This iteration of the fest will be more like a festival/hybrid retreat and participation will be limited to less than half of previous CPF events so that we can go deeper into these topics.

The main page for the 2021 fest is: 85 year old Beat Nun Mary Norbert Körte from Willets, CA (extreme Southern Cascadia) is part of The Practice of Cascadia/The Practice of a Life panel and Miriam Nichols, Sharon Thesen and Daphne Marlatt are part of the panel looking at the life and legacy of Robin Blaser.

There will be many breakout sessions connected to both topics and one dedicated to the Island Marble Butterfly by Bill Yake:

The Island Marble Butterfly – A Cascadian Endemic and Inspiration (handouts)

Believed to be extinct until rediscovered at American Camp on San Juan Island in 1998, the Island Marble Butterfly is a true endemic – limited (as far as is known) to San Juan and Lopez Islands. One of the last colonies persists on National Park Service (NPS) land just a couple of miles from the Multiverse – site of the 2020 Cascadia Poetry Festival. Like us, its future is precarious. In this breakout session we plan to visit American Camp where NPS staff will show us how they are working to grow this the Island Marble colony by hand-raising butterflies from eggs, preserving their food plants, and improving their considerably abused habitat. It is not an easy task. We should also have some time to consider the role of butterflies and moths (ephemeral, evasive, and often pale) as they have inspired a range of poems and poets — including examples from Vladimir Nabokov, Robin Blaser, Jim Morrison, and several poets native to Cascadia. Participants should bring a notebook (Rite-in-the-Rain might be best given weather uncertainty), a pen/pencil, outdoor clothing and sturdy shoes. Binoculars and a camera might also be helpful. Facilitated by Bill Yake

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Seattle, WA, March 19, 2020—Seattle Poetics LAB (SPLAB), a literary arts-oriented nonprofit organization and organizing entity of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, is now registering writers for the 14th August Poetry Postcard Fest. 

We understand the global seriousness of COVID-19 and the situation in which we find ourselves. In these challenging times, we can use an outlet for creativity and that is the sole reason for moving up the online registration. With a name change to POPO this year, the fest, an exercise in spontaneous composition and community building, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017 with the release of 56 Days of August. Registration for the 14th edition of the fest is open until July 18. 

To participate in POPO, writers first register online at POPO.cardsThen after March 19, lists of participants will begin to be sent out in groups of 32. Each participating poet has until the end of August to write 31 original poems on postcards to be sent to each other person on their list. Postcards can be as simple or as elaborate as the poet wishes.

In 2019 the fest had 424 participants, spread out as far as the United States, Australia and Japan. All the fest’s instructions, interviews and facts can now be found at The fest is the largest annual fundraiser for SPLAB; registration is set at $10 per poet, with donations over this amount also accepted. 

Over the past 26 years SPLAB has been instrumental in leading a bioregional cultural investigation using poetics, poetry festivals, publications and education and to building community through shared experience of the spoken and written word. Through the Cascadia Poetry Festival, the organization facilitates an annual gathering of writers, artists, scientists and activists to collaborate, discover and foster deeper connection between all inhabitants and the place itself.

SPLAB (, a Seattle-based nonprofit, was founded in Auburn, Washington, on December 14, 1993.
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Young Authors Summer Program

Exciting news! This summer is the launch of the Young Authors Summer Program…please spread the word to interested high school writers as we continue to build communities around the arts.

This new creative writing program is for high school students who want to take their writing to the next level. If you know someone who would love an immersive creative writing program with authors who are dedicated, accessible, and accomplished, please pass this on. Thank you for helping to give this world substance and soul by supporting writers and their work. The details follow:

Name: Young Authors Summer Program
Age Group: High School
Location: Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA.
Dates: July 20th – August 2nd, 2020

Learn more here:

From Jennifer Boyden:

Take your writing to the next level! Come to San Juan Island to discover for yourself why more writers and artists live here than any other place in Washington.

At the Young Authors Program, you’ll be inspired by the award-winning authors you’ll work with, the awesome beaches, funky cafes, and the forest trails that surround this safe, quirky town. Here, you’ll dive into generating and discussing your writing, explore, connect to a community of writing peers, and have fun.

Come discover our island for yourself—and what you have to say while you’re here. Our team of writers and editors is ready to help you push your current passion and skills, learn new techniques, build a community of creative writers, and take your writing to the next level. Come write with us!

Thanks for helping to get out the word out!

Ian, Jen, and Gavia Boyden

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2020 Fest Postponed ‘Til 2021

This went out today:

Dear Cascadia Poetry Festival Participant,

I am sending out an email to participants, volunteers, patrons and organizers.

The SPLAB Board voted unanimously last night to POSTPONE the 2020 fest until 2021. The COVID-19 virus is the main factor. My own personal health is another. I was diagnosed with intermediate prostate cancer a month ago and am planning treatment once the insurance signs off on the method I have chosen. I expect a full recovery, but I am told I may not have the same energy and so the two events have forced us to take this drastic step.

Can you make it on April 30-May 2, 2021? We need to get your confirmation. We plan to have as much of the programming NEXT YEAR as we planned for 2020, so please let me know. I have some confirmations via phone, so some elements will be in place, just delayed one year. Registration for 2021 IS OPEN: Buy tickets for Cascadia Poetry Festival – San Juan Island – 2021

We will also need help in getting out the word to ensure sales of 50 Gold Passes for 2021. I will let current Gold Pass Holders know we can set them up for 2021, or give them a refund.

In the meantime, SPLAB will be working on the re-boot of PoPo, the August Poetry Postcard Festival. The new site will be here: feel free to send this to your lists.

I also hope to see you APRIL 11, 2020 at the launch of my expanded edition of A Time Before Slaughter/Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. See:

Thanks for being a part of this work.


Paul E Nelson

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Poets at Carrowholly

Poets! If you’ve ever dreamed of spending a week in Ireland with a dozen poets, now’s your chance. Join Irish poets Sean Lysaght and Ness O’Mahony in September for a six-day poetry workshop and retreat on the rugged west coast of Ireland in September. Hosted by Seattle poets T. Clear and Mary Crane, the workshops will take place outside of Westport, in a marvelous setting overlooking Clew Bay. The week includes private mentoring sessions, bog walks, seaside explorations and a pub night. For complete details, go to


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