SPLAB Seattle Poetics LAB
The SPLAB mission is to present poetry events, develop the audience and resources to support poetry, lead a bioregional (Cascadia) cultural investigation using poetics and poetry festivals as main methodologies and build community through shared experience of the spoken and written word.
9030 Seward Park Av S 213
Seattle, WA 98118
The non-profit organization known as SPLAB was founded in 1993 and in 2009 moved to Seattle and the literary arts aspect of our programming, which started in 1996, became the main focus. In nearly 25 years we have facilitated visits by Michael McClure, Diane di Prima, Joanne Kyger, Anne Waldman, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Nate Mackey, Brenda Hillman, George Bowering, Daphne Marlatt, George Stanley, Jerome Rothenberg, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, Ed Sanders, Adrian Castro and many more. We have presented interviews by Allen Ginsberg, the poets mentioned above and authors like Jean Houston, Rupert Sheldrake, Father Matthew Fox, Riane Eisler and many others, with over 500 interviews having been conducted since 1993. In 2018, we will be donating our audio interview archives to the White Rover Valley Museum yet will retain intellectual property. This will create a partnership that will allow for better maintenance of the collection of historic radio interviews from 1990-2004 and open up greater possibilities for preservation, digitization and transcription of key interviews. See: www.splab.org/listen and www.AmericanProphets.org
We are in year six of a 20 year Bioregional Cultural Investigation, which began in 2012 and has seen the staging of five iterations of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, the last which happened Oct 13-15, 2017, in Tacoma at the State History Museum. Of that event, Tod Marshall, the Washington State Poet Laureate said:
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 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.
Of our 2016 fest, Jared Leising, emcee for the final reading stated:
"Thank you, Paul.
And thank you all for being here, in one of the most amazing stores in the world, (Open Books) and at the closing reading for the fourth Cascadia Poetry Festival. Before I introduce our readers, I want say a few words about this festival and what it's meant to me. I've attended the last three festivals, and this year, like the two years before it, in Nanaimo and in Seattle, when Seattle U was our host, it's been dynamic-for me and my students, who I've brought to all three festivals. When I say dynamic, I mean the festival feels like a good poem. It has layers to it and makes these leaps that few conferences and festivals do. To me, that's what matters, keeps me coming back, and it's in part thanks to all of you, but largely because of Paul Nelson. Someone who doesn't get enough credit for the work he's done, the people he's influenced, and the perspective he's offering all of us with this amazing festival. So, thank you, Paul."
In addition to the fest, we have helped create the 1st bioregional poetry anthology: Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia; twice staged a MOOC (with Cascadia College) on Innovative Cascadia Poetry. A fourth is set for Spring 2019; conducted interviews with some of the bioregion's brightest and most accomplished poets, activists and indigenous leaders (www.AmericanProphets.org) and have created tremendous awareness of bioregionalism, a deep take on eco-poetics, so necessary in our climate-endangered times.
Due to funding issues, the fest will not be staged in 2018, but we're seeking funding and venues for 2019 and moving to create two retreats in 2018:
and we will assist effort to stage a second version of the festival in Cumberland, BC, in partnership with the Cascadia Poetics LAB: http://cascadiapoeticslab.ca/