Between July 2020 and last week I have been working my ass off with the guidance of 501 Commons and specifically two of their representatives, Rebecca Garrity Putnam and James Morgese. They have been phenomenal and have provided the guidance I have been seeking for many years. I have resisted much of what passes for “organizational development” in the non-profit world because it has always been presented to me as a watering down of our content, which admittedly is niche, but also fills a need that I think is increasingly in demand in this culture. How to, paraphrasing longtime SPLAB friend Anne Waldman: “Be in the mind/perspective of a writer 24 hours a day.” How to lived the life of a poet as a spiritual calling? As a soul-building exercise? As the late longtime SPLAB friend Michael McClure would say, is poetry with “a hunger for liberation?”
The addition to the board of Matt Trease in December 2017, Cate Gable in September 2018, Jason Wirth in 2020 and Diana Elser in 2021 have changed the board culture and are ready to install some significant changes to SPLAB, including a re-branding as early as this summer. In them there is a degree of poetry knowledge, business world acumen, bioregional expertise and good old fashioned hard work that combined is prompting hugely positive developments. And former board members Joe Chiveney and Nadine Maestas are continuing their associations, which is a good sign.
We seek 400 SPLAB supporters at $100 each annually. We will have certain benefits for contributions at that level that we’re developing, and contributions made now will qualify the supporter for those additional benefits. I love how this is all coming together and more information is forthcoming. But let me say this:
The SPLAB year starts on July 4 with the release of the first lists in the Poetry Postcard Fest. A primer in spontaneous composition, this month one can get a taste of what Anne Waldman was referring to above. In the fall there is a Postcard Fest open mic to share postcard fest experiences and discuss work just created. Soon after are workshops, which give postcard participants and interested others a deeper look at the theory and practice of the spontaneous stance toward poem-making: Projective Verse (Charles Olson), Organic Form (Denise Levertov, Robert Duncan), The Practice of Outside (Robin Blaser, Jack Spicer), Experimental Lyric Poetry (Brenda Hillman), Serial Form (Daphne Marlatt, George Stanley, George Bowering) and Open, Exploratory Form (Nate Mackey.) A sense of the material covered in these workshops can be seen here:
and upcoming, here:
Workshop testimonials are humbling and accessed here:
We have survived the pandemic (so far) and have used this time to sharpen our focus and make our case for your support. Thanks for considering support during Give Big and stay tuned for developments as we evolve.
Paul E Nelson