SPLAB is a literary arts-oriented non-profit organization founded in 1993.  

For Mission and Vision, click here. For the Board of Directors, click here. Vision, click here. We create an environment by encouraging writers to develop or deepen their individual writing practices and providing a supportive community so they may deepen their own personal gestures.

The antidote to violence and other forms of acting out is empathy which is a function of imagination. Writing builds the imagination. We’re a 501(c)(3) corporation and our recent IRS Determination letter is linked here. After being founded in Auburn, Washington, by poet Paul E. Nelson, SPLAB resumed operations in August, 2009, in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood.

See an article from the South Seattle Beacon, Oct  2010.

During its tenure in Auburn, SPLAB brought many renowned poets to town, including Anne Waldman, Andrew Schelling, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Jerome Rothenberg, Eileen Myles, Ethelbert Miller, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Joanne Kyger, and others. We staged several Super Bowl of Poetry events, the annual Allen Ginsberg Open Mic Poetry Marathon, hosted and produced Teen Poetry Slams, and many low-cost writing workshops.

About Paul E. Nelson, Director of SPLAB

Father/Poet/Teacher Paul Nelson, co-founder of the Northwest SPokenword LAB. Author: Organic Poetry (Oct. ‘08, VDM Verlag, Germany.) Poems/Essays in: Golden Handcuffs Review, Jacket Magazine, Fulcrum, OlsonNow Blog, The Argotist, Raven Chronicles, and elsewhere. During his 26 years in radio, he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Robin Blaser, Sam Hamill, Wanda Coleman, Eileen Myles, Jerome Rothenberg, George Bowering, and others. He was shortlisted for the Stranger Genius Award in Literature in 2010.

Read more about his American Sentences practice.
More on his graduate work on Organic Poetry.
More on Global Voices Radio, when the organization was dedicated to a weekly public affairs radio program.


For a look inside the SPLAB attic, click here for some of our glorious archives.


October 12, 2010 Press Release announcing new location.


For links to interviews Paul has done with other poets, click here: http://splab.org/?page_id=1186


A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, Oct ’09) is his first book of poetry, and he writes one American Sentence every day.


Paul earned his M.A. from Lesley University in Organic Poetry, a study of North American poets writing (to different degrees) spontaneously, including Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Michael McClure, Robin Blaser, and others. He’s specifically interested in writing that is created in the moment, but with tremendous discipline, and essays at OrganicPoetry.org go into much detail on this subject.


SPLAB 2002 Bookmark – Wanda Coleman


Danika Dinsmore, Paul E Nelson, old SPLAB Dec. 1996

Danika Dinsmore, Paul E Nelson, old SPLAB Dec. 1996

SPLAB's Auburn Location in 1997

SPLAB’s Auburn Location in 1997

6 Responses to About SPLAB

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  4. Elyssa says:

    It should really say what SPLAB stands for somewhere around here.

  5. Splabman says:

    SPokenword LAB

    http://splab.org/about-splab/splab-mission-vision/ The SPokenword LAB mission incorporates SPLAB’s unique characteristics, passions, and outlook and is the driving force behind the organization.

    SPLAB is an intergenerational spokenword performance, resource, and outreach center, dedicated to poetry, storytelling, conversation, debate, consciousness, and building community through shared experience of the spoken and written word.

  6. Pingback: Organic Poetry Workshop with Paul Nelson at Nanoose | Pig Squash Press

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