2019 Cascadia Poetry Festival 6 – Anacortes Recap

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Cascadia Poetry Festival-Anacortes May 9-12, 2019:

A Tribute to Sam Hamill

Video of the fest is online now thanks to Leopoldo Seguel.

The festival was a huge success and we are in the very early stages of planning a retreat rather than a festival as this work of merging poetics and bioregionalism continues. CPF-2019 featured the launch of two new anthologies: Make It True meets Medusario and the Samthology: A Tribute to Sam Hamill.

Theresa Whitehill. Photo, Jendi Coursey, 2021

Steve Kuusisto, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel and Cate the Wonder Dog


The Cascadia Poetry Festival is absolutely unique, offering both attention to local conditions (both social and geograpical/ecological), and to general matters of aesthetics (what poetry is up to right now–what matters to poets, and how are they responding to what matters). I know of few communities like this in the world – the other I am familiar with is in the UK: open, focused, exploratory, welcoming, democratic and engaged to its very core. The Cascadia Poetry Festival is a vital necessity.

– Stephen Collis


The Cascadia Poetry Festival, held in Anacortes, WA from May 9-12, was a wonderfully fulfilling experience for both participants and invited guests. The festival programs consisted of readings and discussion panels by well-known, accomplished poets and writers who were colleagues, collaborators and friends of the late poet Sam Hamill. The connection with Sam was in fact the theme of the festival, but the festival discourse, especially the panels, took on a life of its own and developed into a series of heartfelt discussions about Zen, the strength and frailties of the human spirit and the nature of ones relationship with those whom we admire.

As someone who attended as both invited guest and workshop participant, I especially enjoyed the afternoon readings by the other festival participants. The attendees of the readings consisted of local poets, writers and students. Some of these folk were published, some not. Some of them read from memory and some from notes or the printed page. Some were experienced readers, others were not. But what connected them all was a heartfelt desire to translate their experience of the world into the medium of words to share with others.

And this got right to the heart of the matter.

– Christopher Yohmei Blasdel

– Shakuhachi performer, writer Adjunct Lecturer, The University of Hawaii, Manoa