Shouldna done that! Glad I did!

Dec 10, 2023 | 0 comments

Yesterday afternoon I bit the weather bullet (and my night-blind vision bullet) and attended a gathering of poets at Time Enough Books. They were there to celebrate the publication of Cascadian Zen and to read some of their poems included in this stunning new anthology by Watershed Press.  As the name of the book implies, it celebrates, laments, and reflects upon (but oh so subtly) the vast region called Cascadia.

Cascadia is sometimes described as another term for the Pacific Northwest but it is that and more.  The name is usually used to refer to this area as an environmentally significant bioregion. It is defined by the watersheds of the Fraser, Snake and Columbia rivers, and encompasses all or portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, British Columbia, and Alberta.  It’s where I live and, if you are lucky, where you live, too.

The poems look as every aspect of this magical place — reverently, irreverently, with humor and with pathos.  Like most other regions on the planet, Cascadia has some serious troubles and a gazillion solutions on offer.  The poems, subtly (and Zen-like?) lead listener or reader to take another look, a different view, or perhaps suggest another path to follow.  Each of us who cares about this magical region should read the poems — again and again.  And maybe write a few of our own!

This afternoon I am going across the street to the Oysterville Church to enjoy Joel Underwood’s concert “That Ribbon of Highway” — a show he will be touring the State with in 2024 under the auspices of Humanities Washington.  It celebrates the 30 days that folk-singer and activist Woody Guthrie travelled the highway along the Oregon side of the Columbia River touring the Grand Coulee Dam Project in 1941.  I love the songs that came out of that 28-day tour… Yet, the irony of singing along to “Roll on Columbia” the day after listening to the poets of Cascadian Zen is not lost on me.  And I don’t think I am alone.  No wonder we are all a little schizophrenic — though I was hoping that it was just the usual holiday frenzy in our Cascadian air!


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