Sending postcards to strangers—a lost art, even quaint—has become the main gateway to the activities of a 27-year-old, literary arts-oriented, nonprofit organization. The Poetry Postcard Fest, inaugurated in 2007 by SPLAB (now the Cascadia Poetics LAB), has become a way for poets to take their first step in aligning their cosmology and poetics. The mail art movement is said to have started with Ray Johnson in 1943, so the tradition is not exactly ancient, despite how out-of-date it feels in the age of instant communication. Jonathan Williams’ Jargon Society, Fluxus, Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser, Ted Berrigan, and others have experimented with postcards as art. Building on their insights, the Poetry Postcard Fest rests on a straightforward premise: practicing spontaneous composition on postcards allows one to attune to the moment. Poets write more, edit less, and begin to experience the depths of open form, including seriality, in the great tradition of the poets published in Black Mountain Review, including some who did not visit Black Mountain College, such as Denise Levertov and Michael McClure, and some who were influenced by projective verse, such as Paul Blackburn. READ MORE.
Throughout the year, we organize events designed to foster a community of like-minded people centered around organic, open-form poetry, and an ecological philosophy that emphasizes a connection to our bioregion, its history and the indigenous people that lived here long, long before colonization. We aim to expose our supporters to ideas about art as an art-of-living practice, inspired by the spiritual practice of understanding the bioregion surrounding us: soil, air, water, flora, fauna, and weather. In 2023, we hosted a successful Poetry Postcard Fest and the 7th Cascadia Poetry Festival, along with launching Watershed Press and publishing our anthology Cascadian Zen Vol. I. This is all thanks to donations from people like you!