Make It True: Poetry from Cascadia, published by Leaf Press, will be launched at VIU Friday, May 1st, at 7:30pm. This anthology is a collection of 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. It will be 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 tenor of the poetry will arise from the comments made by George Stanley at the 2014 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. (Some notes on his talk are here.) He said that what we have in large part in contemporary poetry is irony, a tone which has permeated everything in our culture from sitcoms to 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, spontaneity, collage and other composition methods. Work that exudes, as Robin Blaser put it, “a spiritual chase.” We believe the times we live in call for a deeper response to issues like economic inequality, climate chaos and out-of-control capitalism which on a separate panel at CPF2 Stephen Collis likened to a “doomsday device.”