Advisory Board

Here is the Cascadia Poetry Festival Advisory Board, announced November 16, 2012. The 3rd iteration of the Festival is happening in Nanaimo, BC, April 30 – May 3, 2015, in partnership with Vancouver Island University, Wordstorm, the Painted Turtle Hostel and other organizations. If you would like to serve on the Advisory Board, please send Paul Nelson an email, pen at splab dot org.

Cascadia (Map courtesy of David McCloskey, Cascadia Institute)

Cascadia Poetry Advisory Board

Gregory Ellsworth Bem, Seattle WA, grew up in the land of blueberries, lobster, moose, and Florida RVs, and then, when finished, traveled down to the Ocean State. He spent time working for the government studying intermodal transportation, and then moved to the City of Brotherly Love. He settled in Cascadia, with a painter friend and a musician friend into a South Seattle apartment. Since moving to the City of Emerald, Bem has found wisdom in many new things–from the geoduck to the Rainier Mountain, to the potential of a previously-sleeping poetry scene. His own poetics, which should be left undefined, tap into the grotesque, the latent, and the terrorizing. They are, as Bem described it, born from a Community of Fire. You can find him at

Yvonne Blomer, Victoria, BC, was born in Zimbabwe and came to Canada when she was two years old. With her husband she has lived in Japan, cycled through Southeast Asia and lived in the UK where she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at The University of East Anglia. Yvonne is the Artistic Director and Host of the Planet Earth Poetry reading series.  In the spring of 2012 Yvonne released her second full collection of poetry The Book of Places (Black Moss Press) and second chapbook Bicycle Brand Journey (JackPine Press). Her first book, a broken mirror, fallen leaf was shortlisted for The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and her poems have twice been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards. Anthologized and published in journals across Canada, in the USA and the UK her poems are forthcoming in 75 BC Women Poets (Mother Tongue Press) and appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry in English.   Yvonne recently co-edited the anthology Poems from Planet Earth and her third collection Caged is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press in 2014.  She has travelled and lived in Europe and Southeast Asia where she cycled for three months from Vietnam to Kuala Lumpur and resides in Victoria, BC with her husband and young son.

George Bowering, Vancouver, BC, OC, OBC (born December 1, 1935) is a prolific Canadian novelist, poet, historian, and biographer. He has served as Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate. He was born in Penticton, British Columbia, and raised in the nearby town of Oliver, where his father was a high-school chemistry teacher. Bowering is author of more than 100 books. Bowering is the best-known of a group of young poets including Frank Davey, Fred Wah, Jamie Reid, and David Dawson who studied together at the University of British Columbia in the 1950s. There they founded the journal TISH. Bowering lives in Vancouver, British Columbia and is Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University, where he worked for 30 years. In 2002, Bowering was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2004. When the Indian Hungryalist, also known as Hungry generation, poet Malay Roy Choudhury, was arrested at Kolkata, India, Bowering brought out a special issue of Imago for helping the Indian poet in his trial. Bowering was one of the judges for the 2008 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Kate Braid, Vancouver, BC, has muddled about in the intersection between loving trees and being responsible for cutting down whole forests full – as a carpenter and builder – for years.  She has written poetry and non-fiction about subjects from Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Glenn Gould, to mine workers and fishers.  In addition to co-editing with Sandy Shreve, In Fine Form, she has published five books of poetry. Her memoir of fifteen years as a carpenter, Journey Woman, is forthcoming in 2012.  Her work has won and been short-listed for a number of awards and is widely anthologized.    See

Joe Chiveney, Seattle, WA, is a mental health professional, an athlete (running, hiking, biking) with a healthy lifestyle emotionally and spiritually. Since 1986, he has worked therapeutically with youth, families and individuals from many cultures and backgrounds in educational, community and home based settings.

Christine Clarke, Seattle, WA, is originally from Wisconsin, and has lived in the Seattle area for the past 25 years, where she divides her time between poetry and biology.  Her poetry has received awards from the Seattle Public Library and Redmond Arts Council, and has appeared most recently in Clover and DMQ Review.  She was a biologist for the Center for Wildlife Conservation, where she specialized in the genetics of keystone species of the Cascadia Bioregion. She was also a columnist for the IBA Newsletter, where she explored the complex relationships between humans, wildlife and nature. Christine is interested in poetry as reflection of our place in the world and as a medium for social change.

Sharon Cumberland, Seattle, WA. Sharon Cumberland’s poetry collection, Peculiar Honors, is published by Black Heron Press. She has also published in many journals including Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, Verse and  Image, among others. She won Kalliope’s Sue Saniel Elkind Award, The Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association’s Zola Award for Poetry, and the Writers Haven Press Bright Side Award.  She was a Writer in Residence at the Jack Straw Foundation and the Poet in Residence for The Seasons Music Festival in Yakima, WA. Her chapbooks are The Arithmetic of Mourning from Green Rock Press, and Greatest  Hits 1985-2000, from Pudding House Press.  She is the Director of the Creative Writing Program at Seattle University.

Kathleen Flenniken, Seattle, WA, is the 2012 – 2014 Poet Laureate for the state of Washington.  She is the author of two books of poetry: Famous, named a Notable Book by the American Library Association and a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and Plume, selected by poet Linda Bierds for the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Artist Trust, and a Pushcart Prize. Flenniken teaches poetry in the schools through arts agencies like Writers in the Schools and Jack Straw Foundation, and serves as co-editor and president of Floating Bridge Press, dedicated to publishing Washington State poets.  She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Pacific Lutheran University, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Washington State University and University of Washington.

David Fraser, Nanoose Bay, on Vancouver Island, BC, is the founder and editor of Ascent Aspirations Magazine, since 1997. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry. He has published four collections of poetry, Going to the Well (2004), Running Down the Wind (2007), No Way Easy, 2010, and Caught in My Throat ,2011 and a collection of short fiction, Dark Side of the Billboard (2006). In addition David has co-authored with Naomi Beth Wakan, On Poetry an inspirational book on poetics and poetry. To keep out of trouble he helps develop Nanaimo’s spoken-word series, WordStorm. In October 2009 and 2010 he participated in Random Acts of Poetry, a national poetry program that brings poetry to the streets of Canada. David is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets and is available for performances and readings via funding with LCP.

Kim Goldberg, Nanaimo, BC, is an award-winning poet, journalist, and spoken word performer in Nanaimo, BC. She is the author of six books of poetry and nonfiction. Her Red Zone collection of poems about urban homelessness has been taught in university literature courses. Her previous collection, Ride Backwards on Dragon, was a finalist for Canada’s Gerald Lampert Award. She is a winner of the Rannu Poetry Prize for Speculative Literature, the Goodwin’s Award for Excellence in Alternative Journalism, and other distinctions. Her poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies in a dozen countries. In 2012, she organized and chaired the Eco-Poetry session for the inaugural Cascadia Poetry Festival. Visit

Heidi Greco, White Rock, BC. A resident of Cascadia since 1970, Heidi Greco lives just north of the Douglas border crossing. She and her partner share a house that’s surrounded by a tall stand of Western Red cedars. Besides writing and editing, she’s worked with her local arts council to establish two reading series. Zero to 360 provides open mic opportunities for writers in the community. Readings by the Salish Sea brings in professional authors of all genres from across Canada for evening events. She served as panel member in SPLAB’s inaugural Cascadia Poetry Festival. An offshoot of the panel’s discussion of eco-poetry was a chapbook, Igniting the Green Fuse: Four Canadian Women Poets. She looks forward to playing a role in the next Cascadia Festival. Greco’s books include Rattlesnake Plantain (named for a forest orchid in her bio-region), A: The Amelia Poems, a chapbook of poems about the enigmatic Amelia Earhart and a novella, Shrinking Violets. A longtime environmentalist, she has written and fought for the preservation of green space and trees. Even though those causes haven’t always been successful, she persists. She trusts that the power of words contributes to positive change. She keeps a sporadic blog at

Sam Hamill, Anacortes, WA, Sam Hamill is Founding Editor of Copper Canyon Press, where he edited and printed for 32 years while writing more than forty volumes of poetry, essays, and celebrated translations from ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Latin, and Estonian. In January 2003, declining an invitation to the Bush White House, he founded Poets Against The War, compiling the largest single-theme anthology in all of history—30,000 poems by 26,000 poets—now archived at Ohio State University. His most recent books include Border Songs (Sord Palce Press), Almost Paradise: Selected Poems and Translations (Shambhala Publications) and Measured by Stone (Curbstone Press). “Sam Hamill has reached the category of a National Treasure, though I doubt he’d like the idea.” —Jim Harrison “The shape of Sam Hamill’s mind is the shape of both a revolutionary and a monk at work. His sacred text is poetry.” —Terry Tempest Williams “No one—I mean no one ever—has done the momentous work of presenting poetry better than Sam Hamill… [his poetry] is no less than essential.” —Hayden Carruth

Jim Jones, Seattle, WA. During college, James T. Jones worked as a proofreader, reporter, and photographer for a daily newspaper. After that, he obtained his master’s degree in English from Eastern Illinois University and his Ph.D. in American Literature from Southern Illinois University. He taught journalism, literature and creative writing at Missouri State University until 2006. His scholarly activity commenced with two books about the New Critic and poet R. P. Blackmur, then turned to research and writing about the Beat Generation. He has published four books about the American novelist Jack Kerouac, as well as essays about Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and other Beat writers. In the 1990s his poetry press brought out eight collections of poetry. He was active in civic life, including serving as head of the American Civil Liberties Union in southwest Missouri for five years. Since retirement Jones has devoted himself to the study of Shakespeare and to learning the art of letterpress printing. His other interests include playing old-time music on the banjo and collecting books on books. Since 2012 he has been on the board of the Friends of the University of Washington Libraries.

Robert Lashley, Bellingham, WA, has been called “The Sweetest Scary Ass Brother You Will Ever Know”. A semi finalist for the PEN/Rosenthal fellowship, Robert often performs at Northwest spoken word venues and has helped Bellingham, where he lives, develop one of the nation’s finest open mic scenes. He has had poems published in such Journals as Feminete, No Regrets, and Your Hands, Your Mouth. He is not, however, a fire breathing dragon. His poetry was also featured in “Many Trails To The Summit”, an anthology of Northwest form and Lyric poetry. His full length book, Songs My City Taught Me, was published by Radical Lunchbox Press in 2009.

Jared Leising, Seattle WA, is the author of a chapbook of poems–The Widows and Orphans of Winesburg, Ohio–and in 2010, Jared curated the Jack Straw Writers Program.  He’s served as president of the Washington Community College Humanities Association and on the Board of Directors for 826 Seattle.  Before moving to Seattle, Jared received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Houston.  Currently, he’s teaching English at Cascadia Community College and coordinating 826 Seattle’s 2012 adult writing workshop series: “How to Write Like I Do.”

Joanna Lilley, Whitehorse, Yukon, doesn’t strictly speaking live in Cascadia but that doesn’t stop her feeling as if she does. She’s only just over the border after all. Joanna emigrated from Britain to Canada in 2006 and finds herself writing about place quite a lot, including in her first poetry collection, The Fleece Era, forthcoming from Brick Books in spring 2014. Joanna has a master’s degree in creative writing from the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde and in 2011 received an Advanced Artist Award from the Government of Yukon. Joanna helps organize the biennial Whitehorse Poetry Festival and is on the editorial board of Arctica.

Amalio Madueño, lives in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. Former president & co-producer of the Taos Poetry Circus, he has Twenty years of experience in the funding and development of poetry arts projects, programs, events and products. Amalio, in addition to running his own consulting firm, is a practicing poet with 18 chapbooks and two feature poetry volumes. He performs his work throughout the West. He has published widely in western journals including MalPais Review, Poetry (Chicago) Sin Fronteras, Border Senses, Exquisite Corpse, Askew, PageBoy, Café Review, Wandering Hermit, Between Sleeps, Saludos-Poets of New Mexico & Venus in the Badlands (Desert Shovel). Online his poetry is published most recently in the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum, The and His feature book Lost in the Chamiso was published by Wild Embers Press in 2006. His latest book, Spider Road, (2012) was published MouthFeel Press in El Paso, and his next feature length book if forthcoming in 2013. His latest CD, a recording of his Duende Poetry Series reading in Placitas, NM is by Vox Audio (NM). He founded the Border Poetics Consortium.

Nadine Maestas, Seattle, WA,  is a poet’s poet and believes that the empire of the sentence is an extremely oppressive totalitarian regime. She prefers the company of poems so much that she would rather read a bad poem than a good novel, but when she is not doing poetry, Nadine loves mountain biking in dangerous and remote places in the Northwest. She teaches at the University of Washington and North Seattle Community College. She has facilitated writing workshops at the University of Michigan, Youthspeaks and has helped to pioneer poetry workshops in several public schools in California and Michigan. Nadine holds an M.F.A. from University of Michigan where she was awarded the Faraar award for playwriting. Her hybrid poem play “Hellen on Wheels: a Play of Rhyme and Reason” was performed at California College of the Arts. She is the co-author with Karen Weiser of “Beneath the Bright Discus” (Potes & Poets Press, 2000), and is currently writing a dissertation on postmodern American anthropoetics.

Tod Marshall was born in Buffalo, NY.  He earned a PhD in American literature from the University of Kansas.  His first collection of poetry, Dare Say, was the 2002 winner of the University of Georgia’s Contemporary Poetry Series. He has also published a collection of his interviews with contemporary poets, Range of the Possible, and an accompanying anthology of the interviewed poets’ work, Range of Voices (2005).  In 2009, his second collection of poetry, The Tangled Line, was published by Canarium Books; his third collection is forthcoming from them in 2014.  He lives in Spokane, Washington, and teaches at Gonzaga University.

Catherine Owen, Vancouver BC, is the author of nine collections of poetry, the most recent being Trobairitz (Anvil Press 2012), Seeing Lessons (Wolsak & Wynn 2010) Frenzy (Anvil Press 2009), and the chapbook Steve Kulash & other Autopsies (Angelhousepress 2012). Her collection of memoirs and essays is called Catalysts: confrontations with the muse (W & W, 2012). Frenzy won the Alberta Book Prize and other collections have been nominated for the BC Book Prize, the Re-lit, the CBC Prize, & the George Ryga Award. In 2011-2012, she wrote five songs for the eco-musical Awakening the Green Man,collaborated with multi-media artist Sydney Lancaster on Nest, served as an art model for photographer Paul Saturley and started a blog at called The Relentless Adventures of OCD Crow. Owen edits, tutors, has cats, plays bass in Medea, lives with Warren Dean Fulton, with whom she runs Above&Beyond Productions, and walks daily by the Fraser River.  Her web home is

Bill Porter, Port Townsend, WA was born in Van Nuys, California on October 3, 1943 and grew up in Northern Idaho, where his parents moved in 1954.   Since his father was often away on business, he attended boarding schools in LA and the Bay Area, where he graduated from high school in 1961.  After a tour of duty in the US Army 1964-67, he attended UC Santa Barbara and majored in Anthropology.  In 1970, he entered graduate school at Columbia University and studied anthropology with a faculty that included Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict.  While he was living in New York, he became interested in Buddhism, and in 1972 he left America and moved to a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan.  After more than three years with the monks and nuns, he struck out on his own and supported himself by teaching English and later by working as a journalist at English-language radio stations in Taiwan and Hong Kong.  During this time, he married a Chinese woman, with whom he has two children, and he began working on translations of Chinese poetry and Buddhist texts.  In 1993, he returned to America so that his children could learn English, and he has lived ever since in Port Townsend, Washington.  His translations have been honored with a number of awards, including two NEA translation fellowships, a PEN translation award, the inaugural Asian Literature Award of the American Literary Translators Association, and more recently a Guggenheim Fellowship, which he received to fund a project entitled Mountains and Rivers of Chinese Poetry, which he calls the poetry version of his book Zen Baggage, which recounts a pilgrimage to sites in China associated with the beginning of Zen Buddhism.

Charles Potts, Walla Walla, WA. Recent books include The Portable Potts and Inside Idaho from West End Press; a reprint of Valga Krusa in two volumes, The Yellow Christ and Laffing Water from Green Panda Press; Kiot: Selected Early Poems 1963-1977, Lost River Mountain, & Slash and Burn with Robert McNealy from Blue Begonia Press; a reprint of Little Lord Shiva: The Berkeley Poems, 1968, from Glass Eye Books; Nature Lovers from Pleasure Boat Studio; and Across the North Pacific from Slough Press in College Station, Texas.
In addition to Potts’ work as a poet, he is a publisher of books by thirty other poets thru Tsunami Inc. and Litmus Inc., the editor/publisher of Litmus and The Temple magazines, and the founder of The Temple School of Poetry seeking “spiritual solutions to political problems by artistic means.”  His literary archive is in the Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. He produced or co-produced seven iterations of the Walla Walla Poetry Party from 1990-2005. He raises foundation Appaloosas horses in the foothills of the Blue Mountains east of Walla Walla.

Dan Raphael, Portland, OR, has been active on the Portland poetry scene for over 3 decades as poet, performer, editor and reading arranger (including a monthly series that ran 13 years downtown.)  The State I’m In is his 18th & newest book, while last September’s Impulse & Warp: The Selected 20th Century Poems, includes work from his first 13 collections. Children of the Blue Supermarket, a CD of performances with jazz saxophonist Rich Halley and drummer Carson Halley, was released in February. Current poems appear in Rattapallax, Otoliths, Raft, Heavy Bear and Caliban. He has performed at places like Bumbershoot, Wordstock, Powell’s Books, Red Sky Poetry Theatre, Eastern Oregon U and the Portland Jazz Festival.

Bob Redmond, Seattle, WA. Bob’s experience in Seattle’s cultural and civic landscape dates from the late 1980s. Early work included actions with Operation Homestead, helping organize the first Tent City in 1990, and editing Real Change newspaper from 1997-1999. Bob’s arts and curatorial credits include positions at KBCS 91.3 (as Music Director), Bumbershoot (curating Arts programs from 2004-2009), at Town Hall Seattle (Program Director in 2011-12), as as founder of the Seattle Poetry Festival. Most recently Bob founded the non-profit The Common Acre, which has produced “Bilocal: Seattle-New Orleans” and the “Art+Agriculture” series. He also runs Urban Bee Company, which maintains hives in community gardens and distributes honey by bicycle.

Jamie Reid, North Vancouver, BC, is a Canadian poet, writer, and arts organizer/activist. He was born in Timmins, Ontario and came of age on the west coast of Canada. Reid co-founded the influential poetry journal TISH in Vancouver in 1961 with George Bowering, Frank Davey and Fred Wah.[1] He published his first collection of poems, The Man Whose Path Was on Fire, in 1969. A short time later he joined the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)[2] and for a time, stopped writing poetry in favour of political work, “because [he] didn’t have a way of working the language of politics into the language of poetry.” Reid returned to poetry and cultural criticism in the late 1980s, with a special interest in jazz expressed in many of his works. There is a 25-year gap between his first book of poetry and his later books.[3] Married to painter Carol Reid since the 1960s, his home in North Vancouver continues to be a hub of literary activism and activity, from small press experiments like the local/international avant garde magazine DaDaBaBy to events and memoir writings in honour of a variety of literary figures who are, notably, human beings.

Judith Roche, Seattle, WA, is the author of three poetry collections, most recently, Wisdom of the Body, Black Heron Press and editor of First Fish, First People: Salmon Tales of the North Pacific Rim, both have been American Book Award recipients. She was Distinguished Northwest Writer at Seattle University  2007,  Literary Director Emeritus for One Reel, and a Fellow in the Black Earth Institute.  She has taught extensively in adult and juvenile prisons, and taught poetry workshops throughout the country.

Michael Schein, Carnation, WA, is the author of at least two novels and a slough of poems.  His confirmed novels are Bones Beneath Our Feet (2011), and Just Deceits (2008).  Bones Beneath Our Feet is a historical novel tracing the period of conflict between the Salish peoples and the “Boston” tribe from 1844-1858.  Despite slanderous innuendo to the contrary, Michael allegorically obfuscates authorship of The Killer Poet’s Guide to Immortality by “AB Bard” (2012).  Michael has taught poetry and fiction at a number of venues. He is Director of LiTFUSE Poets’ Workshop.  He also taught American Legal History at Seattle University Law School (formerly University of Puget Sound) from 1988-2003. Originally from Vermont, Michael fell in love with Cascadia when he attended Reed College back in the early 70’s.  Michael’s poetry is supported by a grant from 4Culture; it has been nominated for the Pushcart twice, and stuck to refrigerators by magnets.

Ursula Vaira, Lantzville, BC, grew up in northern BC; after studying Education at UBC, she taught school on the northern coast and in the Arctic, then moved to Vancouver Island in the early eighties. Ursula loves wilderness camping and kayaking, and has a passion for the west coast—in the summer of 2005, she kayaked with a group from Port Hardy to Zeballos, around Cape Scott and Cape Cook. In 1997 she paddled by Coast Salish canoe from Hazelton to Victoria as part of Roy Henry Vickers’s Vision Quest to raise addictions awareness and funds to build an all-nations recovery centre on Vancouver Island. Her poems have appeared in literary journals and chapbooks, and in anthologies published by Hawthorne Society, Outlaw Editions, Anvil Press, Quills, the B.C. Federation of Writers and Mother Tongue Publlshing. In 2011 Caitlin Press published her poetry collection And See What Happens. Ursula is the founder and publisher of Leaf Press (, publishing “poetry only” in print and online since 2001.

Bill Yake, Olympia, WA, is a poet, naturalist, and environmental scientist with degrees in Zoology, Environmental Science, and Environmental Engineering. For years he directed statewide investigations into the toxic contamination of water, fish, soil and sediment for the Washington State Department of Ecology. Since the late 1960s Bill has written  poetry – often focusing on the wild, the backcountry, critters and landscapes. He is author of two full-length collections of poetry; This Old Riddle: Cormorants and Rain (2003) and Unfurl, Kite, and Veer  (2010) both from Radiolarian Press, Astoria OR, as well as several chapbooks, most recently The Islands at the Edge of the World (2012, Scatter Creek Press). His poems have been published in magazines and anthologies serving the environmental and literary communities – from Wilderness Magazine to Anthropology and Humanism, from Open Spaces Quarterly to Fine Madness, from Rattle to ISLE – Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment. Two of his recent tree-inspired poems were featured in a Between Earth and Sky, a book by the instigator of forest canopy research, Nalini Nadkarni. Bill’s poetry has also won the Alligator Juniper Award (2003) and the James M. Snydal Prize (2004), and his poem “The Lowly, Exalted” was featured in an exhibition and poetry collection celebrating invertebrates in art. For over 20 years Bill has served, in various capacities, on the board of the Olympia Poetry Network. He has worked to promote poetry in the country at the far end of the Salish Sea where he lives with his wife, Jeannette, on the verge of a ravine carved by a small chum salmon creek.

Why Cascadia Why Poetry?

Leave a Reply