SPLAB Mission & Vision

SPLAB was founded in Auburn, Washington, December 14, 1993. (For pre-Feb 16, 2020 mission, see this statement.)




The Seattle Poetics LAB (SPLAB) works to reestablish poetry as a method for knowing self & place by engaging poets, writers and artists bioregionally in Cascadia to build community through shared experience of the spoken & written word.

SPLAB supports:

    • Poetry as a noetic practice allied with outsider traditions.
    • A poetry of witness, deeply rooted to place.
    • Organic form in all of its manifestations, open, discerning and aware of/responsible to the interconnectivity of life.
    • A visionary poetics that embodies our place on the edge of a continent.

SPLAB envisions 10,000 people each year participating in the Poetry Postcard Fest and using those revenues to maintain operations, including administration, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and other in-person events in Seattle and the Cascadia bioregion and our ongoing interviews.


  • Peer support for writers and artists.
  • Teaching “first-take-best-take” approach to developing writing skills.
  • Providing programs and content for educators to improve literacy.

IRS EIN: 91-1618296
DUNS: 83-131-9103
UBI: 601-510-184
SAM: LA5LAMBP6769 (Unique Entity I.D.)

How are two of SPLAB’s key programs (the August POetry POstcard Fest and the Cascadia Poetry Fest related?) See Tetsuezn Jason Wirth elaborate on a SPLAB Zoom call:

Jason on Ahimsa, January 20, 2021

And just bringing a few of the strands together, I’m sympathetic with much of what I’ve heard. That James did not see the POPO and the Cascadia Poetry Festival as connected, indicates to me that we need to be very explicit about what that connection is, and really drive that as part of our mission, and even part of our fundraising. I would put that connection like this: It’s in a sense what Paul said, but I’ll put it into my own idiom. When you’re writing poetry of course, part of poetry is the craft of poetry. Those are rules I want to understand in a variety of contexts. It’s not just craft. That’s a necessary but not sufficient condition. You’re also going into your mind and experiencing your mind, at a very deep level. And that mind as you experience it more deeply, is not in a vacuum.

It’s not anywhere. It’s now and here. It’s rooted in the socio-economic and ecological conditions that make it possible. It’s rooted in those conditions now and here. And so participating in, I would say, the spiritual exercise of these postcards, is already entering into something that is, if you think it all the way through, a deep bioregional awakening and conversion. In a way we’re trying for something like a spiritual revolution, and that poetry is not just an interesting thing that you can do, if you like. It’s a fundamental exercise of being here in a less harmful way.

And we’ve seen plenty of harm in the last four years. And it’s a deep ahimsa, a deep practice of non-harming and cultivation. And so, it’s all connected. And it’s connected to everything else beyond SPLAB. But I think not being afraid of what our ambition is, and in a way, we’re trying to have a mind that would be capable, of being in this place in a better way. I think that’s something that we could incentivize people to say, “oh yeah how could the stakes be higher?” We’re going to live or die, by how we come down on these issues going forward.

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SPLAB 2020 Annual Report

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In 2012 SPLAB began a 20 year bioregional cultural investigation of Cascadia. See SPLAB Founder Paul E Nelson’s presentation on that project delivered at the Cascadian Zen symposium at Seattle U, February 14, 2020.

3 Responses to SPLAB Mission & Vision

  1. Rodney Herold says:

    I’d like to be involved. My main creative talents at present lie in the area of video production. In the ’70’s I was one of the founders of South End Seattle Community Organization (SESCO)and in the late ’80’s I was part of Cascadia Community Builders, a general contracting cooperative.

  2. Logan Chrysler says:

    This is great! I’ve never seen a site quite like this… And I hope to help out a lot in the future, This is a great site for the spoken word to flourish, expand, and hopefully, make history.

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