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: