The second annual Cascadia Poetry Festival was announced last night. The festival will take place during the first four days of May on the Seattle University campus and will feature discussions on regionalism, a book fair, competitive "beer slams," open mics, and a talk by David McCloskey of the Cascadia Institute on what Cascadia means. I'm excited about the closing reading, which features Heather McHugh, Maged Zaher, Frances McCue, and Stephen Collis. You can get a pass to the whole festival for $25. Next year's festival will take place in Victoria, BC, so you should take advantage of the festival this year, while it's in your own back yard.

It's smart, I think, to lasso a poetry festival to a region. It provides a big enough umbrella that everyone can find some new authors and work to enjoy, but it also allows all the poets to find and celebrate a common theme in their work. And Cascadia offers a great range of topics and traditions, including the history and art of our native peoples, influences from the Pacific Rim, and the natural landscape, which I think tends to flavor our poetry more overtly than in other regions. I'm all for Cascadia pride.

The full press release, with ticketing information, is after the jump.


Event Includes Workshops, Readings, and Panels, a Beer Slam and More

Seattle, WA, January 20, 2013—The Cascadia Poetry Festival seeks to examine the culture of this region by gathering poets from California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia, the Alaska panhandle and Western Montana to learn, share ideas and techniques, begin to discover the qualities of this bioregion and the possibilities for deeper connection between the inhabitants from all parts of the region. On May 1-4, 2013, renowned and emerging poets from the region will present talks on Cascadian culture and illustrate how that is presented in the best poetry of the region..

Featured artists from Canada and the US include Joanne Kyger, Heather McHugh, Emily Kendal Frey, George Bowering, Maged Zaher, Kaia Sand, George Stanley, Daphne Marlatt, dan raphael and many more.

The festival opens on Thursday, May 1 with the Force Field reading, featuring poets from the first all women anthology of British Columbia poets in 34 years. Judith Roche will emcee, 7:30pm at Spring Street Center, 1101 15th Avenue in Seattle. A workshop with Daphne Marlatt will be held from 9am-1pm on Friday, May 2, followed by full days of workshops, panels, a small press fair, and more through Sunday, May 4th at Spring Street Center and on the campus of nearby Seattle University.

On Friday, May 2 at 7:30p in Piggott Auditorium at Seattle University, a Keynote Reading features George Bowering (Vancouver), Joanne Kyger (Bolinas), George Stanley (Vancouver), Kaia Sand (Portland) and Emily Kendal Frey (Portland). Afterwards, at 10PM at Spring Street Center, we will hold a Beer Slam featuring local breweries, and 8 Cascadia poets competing for the right to be crowned Cascadia Beer Slam Champ, among them: Kim Goldberg (Nanaimo, BC), Heidi Greco (White Rock, BC), Robert Lashley (Tacoma and Bellingham, WA), dan raphael (Portland, OR), and Anastacia Tolbert (Mukilteo, WA).

A closing reading will be held Sunday, May 4 at Piggott Auditorium featuring Heather McHugh (Seattle), Frances McCue (Seattle), Stephan Collis (Vancouver) and Maged Zaher (Seattle). For a full schedule of festival events, panels, and readings, see

All times, locations, and participants are subject to change. Please watch the SPLAB web site for up-to-the- minute scheduling changes. Fees: All Access Gold Passes are available for $25 and get festival attendees into all weekend events, excluding the Daphne Marlatt workshop, which is $75 per person. Passes may be purchased in advance through the SPLAB web site, or by contacting SPLAB at 206-422-5002. All readings are a suggested donation of $5.

This event is co-sponsored by Seattle U, SICA, the Subud International Cultural Association, Spring Street Center, Naked City Brewery, 4Culture, The Sightline Institute, Mother Tongue Publishing and Casadia Now. SPLAB is an intergenerational writing, performance, resource and outreach center. For more SPLAB event information, visit