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Crawdad Nelson

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Crawdad Nelson was born in 1958, and raised in Fort Bragg, California. In high school he worked on the staff of the Timberwolf Howl as well as anchoring a cable news program and working on the air at a local radio station as part of a high school media class. This early interest in journalism led him down a twisted path which would include poetry and fiction as well as the non-fiction essays and articles which still appear from time to time in underground publications like New Settler Interview and America's last newspaper, the Anderson Valley Advertiser.

At the age of 18 he officially entered the working class as a sawmill laborer, and implicitly understood that any relationship he would have to the mainstream literary world would be as some sort of antagonist. With this understanding, he began to publish poetry and prose in 1986, after several years of work and study. He was quickly labeled a Working Class Poet by middle class poetry folks, then began to be identified as a Nature Poet upon moving to Arcata, Callifornia, in 1989. He never felt comfortable with either label and stubbornly clung to the label Writer.

His chief literary influences were at first the luminaries of Mendocino County at that time, namely Leonard Cirino, Sharon Doubiago and Bill Bradd. Following up on the work of these mentors, he discovered postmodernism and other trendy movements. He found inspiration in the works and ideas of writers like Kenneth Patchen, and Kurt Vonnegut. He found reading mainstream poets a chore, and still does. In 1991, he was involved in the launch of a working class cultural and literary review known as The Steelhead Special along with a business partner. The magazine grew slowly between 1991 and 1996, reaching out to workers, environmentalists and activists as well as working poets and journalists with Nelson as Editor. The journal quickly became a favored venue for such established poets as Jack Hirschman, Cirino, Freeman House, Robin Rule and Doubiago, and working class poets such as Kenn Mitchell.

He quit the enterprise in 1996 when it became clear that he would starve otherwise. He worked as a baker and gourmet mushroom purveyor throughout the next few years, while continuing to write and publish sporadically. In 1998, he went on the literary offensive, writing a series of articles for the Arcata Eye which attracted the attention of the community and became known as the Poetry Wars. Nelson won the wars, but took no prisoners. However, he swore off poetry, favoring the example of Laura Riding Jackson, shortly afterward, and spent the next several years avoiding poetry but reading comprehensively while working as a menial laborer in Arcata. This led nowhere, but eventually he began to write and publish again, despite losing or leaving behind virtually all files, paper copies and published works in a series of moves culminating in a bicycle trip down the Coast Range.

In June 2003, he set up residence in Sacramento, California. He currently works as a writing tutor at Sacramento City College. He continues to work as a poet and journalist. His works can be found online and in print. http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/10017/crawdad_nelson.html http://www.redfez.net/poetry/1565 http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/crawdad-nelson/author http://theava.com/archives/author/crawdad-nelson

Publication history (partial) The American Voice, The Sun, Poetic Space, Rhododendron, Mockingbird, Tule Review, Liberty Hill Poetry Review, Rain City Review, Context South, Mendocino Commentary, New Settler Interview, Anderson Valley Advertiser, Sacramento News & Review, Arcata Free Press, Star Route Journal, The Country Activist, River and Range, The Arcata Eye, Z Miscellaneous, Green Fuse, Tight, hand.tooth.nail, Poetry Flash, Palo Alto Review, Kerf, Susurrus, White Pelican Review, Brevities, Poetry Now, Primal Urge, Trespass, Editor's Choice, Best of The US Small Press, The Sacramento Bee, etc.

Books: Big Drink, poems, 24th Street Irregular Press, 2009; Bigfoot Lives, poems, Flyway Press, 2005; 100 Poems Against The War, 24th Street Irregular Press, 2005; Poems-For-All, several titles 2003-; The Bull of the Woods, poems and stories, Gorda Plate Press, 1997; Truth Rides to Work, poems, Poetic Space Book, 1993; Fresh Water, poems, Pygmy Forest Press, 1989 T

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