Saturday, May 10, 2014



I'm back in the Kootenays after an incredibly stimulating and satisfying weekend in Seattle at the 2nd Cascadia Poetry Festival.
It's been a full couple of days since I got home (thanks to a kitchen table discussion this morning with Ted and fellow Ootischenia poet, Kathryn Soloveoff-Robbie, I'm not going to use "busy" as an adjective to describe my life anymore, "full" being so much less pejorative). I still haven't put away all the suitcase stuff, but I've been reading, reading, reading, and this, in part, is why:

But let me back up a bit, to the morning after I arrived. I was staying a a very nice B&B situated about twenty blocks from where most of the festival was happening, namely the Spring Street Center and the nearby Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University. This meant that when the weather was good, I walked. I've taken to wearing a Fitbit pedometer and on the first, hot day I was there I managed over 22,000 steps! (Sadly, this is not anywhere near the case today as I've been trying to sort out pictures for this post!)
"Homecoming" by Tom Jay, 1999.
This was what I saw when I first left the house. There's a little park right beside it. I have a (so far) failed poem that talks about welcoming back the anadromous salmon to the Columbia. Seeing this was the perfect way to start the festival.

I walked to the Spring Street Center where
Paul E. Nelson was cooking breakfast for any takers.

Meanwhile, in the living room, Kim Goldberg took advantage of the lull before the storm to fold poems into lovely little booklets.

After breakfast Kim, David Fraser and I walked
downtown and took in the Underground Tour,
then went to Pike Place Market for lunch.

Chief Seattle

A totem pole
At Pike Place Market with David Fraser 
(photo © Kim Goldberg)
All righty, then!
It was a seafood lover's dream there.
One by one, poets began to appear. L-R: Paul Nelson, Kim Goldberg, Warren Dean Fulton, Joanne Arnott, David Fraser, and Gordon May.
I was delighted when Lowell Murphree dropped in.
We met virtually via the Modern and Contemporary
American Poetry MOOC (affectionately known as
ModPo) a couple of years ago, and he participates in
the August postcard exchange, too.
Audience, Thursday night Force Field and friends' reading (Jo Lilley and me being the friends). My pictures from that reading are in the previous post.(Photo © Kim Goldberg)

Friday morning there was a workshop led by three poets:
Joanne Kyger, George Bowering (both in the picture above),
and George Stanley.
George Stanley
Jean Baird talking about one of George Bowering's books 
Portland poet, Kaia Sand at Spring Street Center

Joanne Kyger, Paul Nelson, George Bowering, and Whitehorse poet, Joanna Lilley
Workshop participants. The ladies
are Meena Rose and Linda Russo.
The dynamic duo of Meredith and Paul Nelson with George. 
Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon from three till
five the Living Readings happened. We sat in a circle and
went around, reading an original poem (or filling the very important role of being enthusiastic audience). People loved it.
Nadine Maestas, Amalio Madueno, and Meena Rose
More of the Living Room reading

Lennee Reid laying it down at a Living Room session

Paul Nelson, Lyn Coffin, Gordon May, Ursula
Vaira, Yvonne Blomer and George Stanley

With Christian Fink-Jensen after the Living Room reading.
(Photo © Danika Dinsmore)

A little relaxation time at Spring Street Center
Gordon May, Lyn Coffin, Me, David 
Fraser, at Spring Street Center
(Photo © Kim Goldberg)
Paul and Ella, easily the youngest
participant and arguably the cutest!

Poets crowded around the Small Press Fair 
before the evening readings 

Portland poet, Emily Kendal Frey at the Friday keynote reading
Kaia Sand

Joanne Kyger 
George Stanley
George Bowering, reading from Teeth,
published by Mansfield Press

Gail Tremblay, from Olympia, Washington,
kicked off the Saturday night Force Field/Feminists (Allergic to Cats) readings 
MCs for the evening were Jocelyn MacDonald and Nadine Maestas, both of Seattle
Seattle poet, Shae Savoy
Kim Goldberg, who's from Nanaimo
Linda Russo, of Pullman, Washington
Alyse Knorr was here from Alaska, which is a
little outside of Cascadia, but we're good with that. 
Seattle poet, Jane Wong
Victoria poet, Yvonne Blomer, read from As If A Raven, just out from Palimpsest Press
It was an honour to read Yvonne's poem,
The Roll Call to the Ark, with her. 
(Photo © Christian Fink-Jensen)
Jeanne Heuving, from Seattle
Joanne Arnott sang to us! She's from Richmond, B.C.
Heidi Greco, from White Rock, B.C.
Emily Mundy, Seattle
Seattle poet, Sharon Cumberland, who was instrumental in getting the University of Seattle to be the venue for panels, major readings, and the Small Press Fair.
Marilyn Stablein, poet and book artist from Portland, Oregon
Danika Dinsmore, formerly of Seattle, and Christian Fink-Jensen, both from Vancouver, B.C. It was so good to meet Danika as she was one of the instigators of the 3:15 Experiment in poetry which looks at states of consciousness (or lack thereof; hence 3:15, as in 3:15a.m.!) in the writing of same. I've been doing August 3:15 poems since 2005.
Clearly, Paul didn't have enough to do this weekend. Here he 
is, collecting empty plates while Ella looks on approvingly. 
Saturday morning David McCloskey, founder of the
Cascadia Institute, aka "the father of Cascadia" gave
a talk about the geography and ecology of the region 

and unveiled a new map of the area.
There was also a slide show with some pretty cool pictures, like this one. The net that fish is in is bigger than the man holding it!
Cascadia is the green area 
Map of the bio-region.
Next, the panel Cascadian Poetics: Innovations from Here, with Stephen Collis, Jeanne Heuving, George Stanley
and Joanne Kyger.
Joanne Kyger
George Stanley
George and Joanne go way back, to San Francisco in the 
late 50s and the Magic Workshop days of Jack Spicer 
and Robert Duncan.
Jeanne Heuving
Stephen Collis
At the panel
Paul Nelson reading USAmerica.
You can hear him reading it here!
Danika Dinsmore at one of the after party readings. I only made
it to this one. Pleading exhaustion (plus that long walk home!)
Dennis E. Bolen
Judith Roche

Raanan, who was everywhere with that camera
Sarah Brickman
Larry Crist
Not these two again!
Sunday morning's first panel was Discussion on Landscapes/Actions/Embodiments, moderated by
Linda Russo, with Joanne Arnott, Joanna Lilley,
Eleni Stecopoulos (from Berkeley, CA) and Marilyn Stablein.
Marilyn presented a video of a performance piece called "Intrusions in Ice: Building the Ice Wheel" that included a dancer and herself arranging blocks of ice into a 3-D wheel that she produced for Bumbershoot in 1990.
After the panel Marilyn slipped out and reclaimed her table
at the Small Press Fair. Her books are beautiful.
Thomas Walton and able assistant at the Small Press Fair.
His Pageboy litmag is just gorgeous
Meredith and Paul. Go, team!
Maged Zaher, Seattle
Stephen Collis, Vancouver, B.C.
Heather McHugh coming up to read
Frances McCue
Heather McHugh and Frances McCue, both of Seattle and both amazing!
No poetry festival is complete without an after party.
This one included some very delicious saki!
Cathy Visser, her husband Joe Chiveney, and Nadine Maestas.
Joe and Cathy were largely responsible for the delicious meals that kept appearing. There was this pumpkin soup...
Poets mid-mingle
Suzy Wong Scollon, with Joanne Arnott 
and Gordon May.
Kim Goldberg deep in conversation with Larry Crist

Paul, Joanne, Joanna and Stephen
Paul enjoying a chat and a well-deserved glass of saki. 

For some other takes on the Festival, check out these reports:

Paul E. Nelson, whose poetic vision has allowed both Cascadia I and II to happen, blogs about this year's fest here

Kim Goldberg's take on it is here

Heidi Greco's is here.

Joanne Arnott's is here, and as an added bonus, she very kindly blogged about my Rodeo Nights chapbook here!

As I mentioned up there somewhere, I didn't make it to all the really late events, including the Beer Slam which I understand was great. Robert Lashley won that. 

I'll come back and add more as I find them. Meanwhile, you should  know that Cascadia III will be held in Nanaimo next year, April 30 – May 3, 2015. It's on my calendar already. How about you?


1 comment:

Kim Goldberg said...

Fantastic photos Linda! Thanks for sharing them with the world. :)