Deep in Cascadia Poetics Retreat

The Cascadia Poetics LAB, in partnership with SPLAB, is staging a retreat in Cumberland, BC, September 6-9, 2018, to gather, share strategies, discuss our role as poets and bioregionalists at this time of ecological crisis and end-stage empire, and to support one another in our efforts to create the deepest gestures in response to this situation and how that relates to Cascadia. The weekend is the same weekend that the first Cascadia Poetry Festival — Cumberland happened in 2017, and this is a vision to have an off-year gathering to prepare participants for the next fest and to deepen our experience as poets here at this time.

We intend to gather, have break-out sessions, daily living room critique circles, free time for writing and public readings. Meals will be prepared cooperatively and vegan and gluten free/vegan options will be made available. The venue will be the Riding Fool Hostel, with other venues for readings and break-out sessions if necessary.

Cost per participant is $128 and includes lodging at the hostel, while room is available. Dinners will be catered, kitchen facilities are available and there are many restaurants within a short walk. Please let us know your food allergies and sensitivities so we can plan accordingly. Invites will go out to fill any unfilled spaces until we reach capacity of 30 participants.

Confirmed guests include George Stanley, Barry McKinnon and Dominick DellaSala, who will present a lecture/slide show on Cascadia in the Anthropocene and how poets can respond to what is to come. More on DellaSala here:

This event is by invitation only. If you are interested in signing up, please contact Paul Nelson splabman (at) gmail (dot) com or at (two oh six) four two two, five oh oh two.


Arrive Thursday afternoon.

Thursday dinner 6-7:30.

Opening Circle: Introductions and check-ins. What are you dealing with in the context of your own work and what do you hope to get from the weekend. Also, if you want to conduct a break out session, describe it. When the circle ends, we’ll vote on which ones we want to attend and the organizers will schedule them and announce after breakfast Friday.

Friday breakfast 8-9am.

Breakout Session I (Break into three groups based on activities offered by/voted on by participants), or be alone & write. 10-12N.

Lunch 12N-2pm.

Living Room Critique Circles (break up into three groups: Adelia – Group 1, Danika – Group 2, Paul – Group 3), 3-5pm.

We gather and each bring original work for one of three things:
1) People can listen and offer no comments.
2) People can listen and say what they liked.
3) People can listen and offer a critique.
#3 usually has the poem being read twice, the second time by someone else, and the poet who wrote it letting everyone else have their say and resist the temptation to “defend” it.

Dinner 5:30-6:30.

7:30pm Public Reading I – Cumberland, BC, Masonic Hall

Saturday breakfast 8-9am.

Breakout Session II (Break into three groups based on activities offered by/voted on by participants), or be alone & write. 10-12N.

Lunch 12N-2pm.

DellaSala Lecture and discussion, 2-5pm.

DellaSala Lecture: The Seven Words to Use for Global Warming and Alternatives to Alternative Facts and discussion, 2-5pm. Masonic Hall.

Donald Trump’s seven words recently banned at the Center for Disease Control are: “science or evidence-based; diversity; transgender; fetus; vulnerable; and entitlement.” During an east-coast snowstorm in December, he tweeted “perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old global warming.” I will use his seven words to describe evidence-based effects of how climate change is impacting the bio-diverse Cascadia region and why we need to stand up against Trump’s attack on science. Cascadia is already experiencing dramatic climate impacts (e.g., increasing forest fires, decreasing snow pack), and we need to prepare now for these lest future fetuses will be especially vulnerable to the changes we are causing today that forgo their entitlement to a living planet.

Dinner 5:30-6:30.

7:30pm Public Reading II – Cumberland, BC.

Sunday breakfast 8-9am.

Checkout 9-10am.

Walk through Cumberland bike trails 10-12N.

Lunch at a local restaurant 12:30pm.

Closing Circle 2:00-3:30pm. Hostel.