100 Innovative Cascadia Poets – the Anthology

Leaf Press LogoThrough Leaf Press in Lantzville, BC, target date May 2015, we will publish an anthology of 100 innovative and influential poets of Cascadia, the bioregion which stretches from Cape Mendocino in the South to Mt. St. Elias, Alaska, to the North and to the Rocky Mountains in the East. A survey of the bioregional poetry scene, beginning with an introduction by the co-editors, Paul Nelson, Nadine Maestas, Barry McKinnon and George Stanley. The book will be about 400 pages and will include 50 USAmerican poets, 50 Canadians, introductory biographies explaining the rationale for the inclusion of each poet; what makes them influential and/or innovative.

For promotion, there will be an evening at the 3rd Cascadia Poetry Festival, slated to happen in Nanaimo, BC, Apr 30-May 3, 2015, dedicated to the book as well as a panel the following day. In addition, we envision a series of readings throughout the bioregion in the major centers of Cascadia: Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Nelson, Prince George, Nanaimo and Eureka/Arcata.

The tenor of the poetry will take off from the comments made by George Stanley at the 2nd Cascadia Poetry Festival on the Innovations From Here panel. On that occasion he discussed how Modernism was a revolt in part from the excesses of Romantic poetry and Post-Modernism was a revolt in part from the academic and formalist influence on poetry in North America. He said what we have in large part today in poetry is irony, a tone which has permeated everything in our culture all the way to sitcoms and advertising. A revolt from that would be poetry that is realistic, or sincere, without giving up the use of speech, as Charles Olson said, that is “least careless and least logical” and techniques such as experimental lyric, spontaneous, collage and other composition methods. Work that exudes, as Robin Blaser put it, “a spiritual chase.”

We seek to raise $10,000 for this effort, $5,000 going to the participating poets, the rest to printing and marketing. Much of these costs will be recouped through the sale of 400 copies of the title. This will be the first anthology ever focused on the innovators from this bioregion, a group which in all art forms stands at the vanguard of cultural change. We believe the times we live in call for a deeper response to issues like economic inequality, rampant climate chaos and out-of- control capitalism which on a separate panel at CPF 2 Stephen Collis likened to a “doomsday device.” Thanks for your consideration.


Paul Nelson

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