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Cascadia Poetry Festival 8

Tetsuzen Jason Wirth on SPLAB Ahimsa

January 22, 2021
Splabman
How are two of SPLAB’s key programs (the August POetry POstcard Fest and the Cascadia Poetry Fest related?) See Tetsuezn Jason Wirth elaborate on a SPLAB Zoom call:

Jason on Ahimsa, January 20, 2021

And just bringing a few of the strands together, I’m sympathetic with much of what I’ve heard. That James did not see the POPO and the Cascadia Poetry Festival as connected, indicates to me that we need to be very explicit about what that connection is, and really drive that as part of our mission, and even part of our fundraising. I would put that connection like this: It’s in a sense what Paul said, but I’ll put it into my own idiom. When you’re writing poetry of course, part of poetry is the craft of poetry. Those are rules I want to understand in a variety of contexts. It’s not just craft. That’s a necessary but not sufficient condition. You’re also going into your mind and experiencing your mind, at a very deep level. And that mind as you experience it more deeply, is not in a vacuum.

It’s not anywhere. It’s now and here. It’s rooted in the socio-economic and ecological conditions that make it possible. It’s rooted in those conditions now and here. And so participating in, I would say, the spiritual exercise of these postcards, is already entering into something that is, if you think it all the way through, a deep bioregional awakening and conversion. In a way we’re trying for something like a spiritual revolution, and that poetry is not just an interesting thing that you can do, if you like. It’s a fundamental exercise of being here in a less harmful way.

And we’ve seen plenty of harm in the last four years. And it’s a deep ahimsa, a deep practice of non-harming and cultivation. And so, it’s all connected. And it’s connected to everything else beyond SPLAB. But I think not being afraid of what our ambition is, and in a way, we’re trying to have a mind that would be capable, of being in this place in a better way. I think that’s something that we could incentivize people to say, “oh yeah how could the stakes be higher?” We’re going to live or die, by how we come down on these issues going forward.

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