Friday, November 20, 2015

Haiku and Haibun & Small Book Making March 30

WordStorm November 24th at TheFirst Unitarian Fellowship Hall

Come on out to hear the words of Susan McCaslin and Pam Galloway and listen to the music of Mary Flaherty.

Music startes at 6:30.
Open Mic at 7:00
See Posters Attached

Two Great Workshops in February and March
Sign-up Early Before the Holidays
February: Jane Munro, 2015 Griffin Prize Winner
March: Terry Ann Carter, Haiku and Haibun and Bookmaking

February 24 Workshop with Jane Munro

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

George Elliott Clarke reading at VIU October 22

Celebrated "Africadian" poet George Elliott Clarke reads at Vancouver Island University on October 22

George Elliott Clarke
Toronto Poet Laureate, playwright, and literary critic George Elliott Clarke, VIU’s 2015 Gustafson Distinguished Poet, will deliver a free public lecture, "On Entering the Echo Chamber of Epic: My 'Canticles' Vs Pound's Cantos," at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 22, in Building 355 on the Nanaimo campus. Clarke will introduce his epic poem, Canticles, in response to Ezra Pound’s contentious Cantos, a twentieth-century post/modern epic both vilified for its integration of fascist propaganda and heralded for its haunting lyricism. Pound, a classicist, nodded to T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Stephen Vincent Benet’s John Brown's Body, both of which skirted racist material yet refused to be contained, or restrained, by formalism.       
Dr. Clarke will recite excerpts from his work-in-progress,Canticles, which echoes slave and imperialist debates from Cleopatra to Celan. He will also invoke contemporary poets Derek Walcott and NourbeSe Philip, who invite harmonious, multiple, and multicultural voices in their revisions of Pound’s controversial masterpiece. Clarke champions writers of African descent and coined the term “Africadian” to identify the black culture of Atlantic Canada, a term he says is both, “...literal and liberal—I canonize songs and sonnets, histories and homilies.”
Clarke traces his own inspiration to “poet-politicos: jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, troubadour-bard Bob Dylan, libertine lyricist Irving Layton, guerrilla leader and poet Mao Zedong, reactionary modernist Ezra Pound, Black Power orator Malcolm X, and the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau.” Dr. Clarke finds their "blunt talk, suave styles, acerbic independence, raunchy macho, feisty lyricism, singing heroic, and scarf-and-beret chivalry quite, well, liberating.”
Clarke’s colleague and VIU English Professor Paul Watkins says, “For George, poetry is not only a printed form, but also an oral art. His boisterous readings present the listener with a gumbo-concoction of jazz rhythms, blues-infused gospel vernacular, and plenty of play upon the standards of the larger literary tradition. This is poetry presented with the ‘lightning of prophecy’.”
Dr. Clarke has published a dozen works of poetry including Whylah Falls (2002 Canada Reads contender),Execution Poems (winner of the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry), and his latest, Red; four plays, screenplays, and libretti (One Heart Broken Into Song, Beatrice Chancy, Quebecite, and Trudeau); the novelGeorge and Rue; and four anthologies of African-Canadian writing, including Directions Home: Approaches to African-Canadian Literature.
For the last twelve years he has been the E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto; and he holds honourary doctorates from Dalhousie, New Brunswick, Alberta, Waterloo, Windsor and Saint Mary’s Universities. He has received the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellows Prize, and the Order of Canada.
A catered reception, cash bar, and book signing will follow in VIU's Royal Arbutus Room (in Building 300). Several of George Elliott Clarke's books will be available for purchase at the VIU Bookstore. Courtesy parking will be available in Lot N, in front of Building 355. Clarke will also perform with musician James Darling at the Corner Lounge on Wednesday, October 21, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. These events are sponsored by VIU’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Writers on Campus, and the Canada Council for the Arts.
The Gustafson Distinguished Poetry Chair was established in 1998 from the estate of the late, preeminent Canadian poet Ralph Gustafson and his wife, Betty. The Chair has been held by celebrated poets Kathleen Vermette, Michael Crummey, Dennis Lee, Jan Zwicky, Don McKay, Carol Ann Duffy, Daphne Marlatt, Tom Wayman, Dionne Brand, Don Domanski, Liz Lochhead, Robert Bringhurst, Patrick Lane, Gary Geddes, Susan Musgrave, and Patricia Young, some of whom have had their lectures published as chapbooks. The Gustafson Distinguished Poets Series is sponsored by VIU's Faculty of Arts and Humanities, with support from the Vancouver Writers Fest.
An interview with George Elliott Clarke will appear in Portal 2016, VIU’s full-colour literary magazine.
For more information contact Toni Smith, Chair of the Gustafson Committee by email
To buy a chapbook, visit the Chapbooks Series page.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fat Oyster Reading Series

Calling all poets.

The Nanaimo Daily News is running a monthly column featuring a poem of the month to promote local poets and to encourage people to write poetry themed on Nanaimo.

A pair of anonymous poet judges will look through the submissions and choose one poem each month and it will be printed in the Daily News. City of Nanaimo inaugural poet laureate Naomi Beth Wakan will comment on the chosen poem so you can see why we liked it, and also to encourage you to write poetry.

The rules are simple:
1. You should be a resident of the Greater Nanaimo area;
2. The poem should be solely written by you (If your poem is selected you will be asked to sign a declaration that the poem is your work alone and that you have the rights to it. Submissions from people under 18 will require a parent’s signature)
3. The poem must be about Nanaimo (places and events – its past, present, future, places you like visiting, the cultural aspects, sports… whatever inspires you) and should be no more than 30 lines (200 words)
4. The poems can be touching, funny, insightful, bitingly witty or angry, but will not be considered if they contain obscenities or promote hatred or prejudice
5. E-mail two copies of your poem as a pdf attachment (in Times New Roman, 12 point). One copy should have your name, address, e-mail, and phone # written above the poem; the other should contain only the poem
6. Send them to with the words “poetry submission” in the subject line
7. There is no deadline, so just keep those Nanaimo poems coming in whenever creativity strikes.

We thank all poets in advance for their submissions, but only those poets whose poems have been selected will be contacted. Keep a copy of your submission as it will not be returned to you. All poems submitted will be kept for consideration for inclusion in a possible anthology to be printed next year.

So calling all poets – Let’s celebrate poetry. Let’s hear your voices. Get creative about Nanaimo and send us your results.

call: Poems for Homeless Veterans

Dear Poet Friend,

Doug Johnson of Cave Moon Press has invited me to edit a book that will benefit homeless veterans. The call is below and a pdf attached so you can spread the news far and wide. This is a worthwhile project which will have some big name poets involved and Alfredo Arreguin’s wonderful cover art. (pdf of call here). ę­„Footsteps Poems for Homeless Veterans Edited by Paul Nelson and Doug Johnson April 2015-September 2015 Send Submission to: by September 30, 2015.
Cave Moon Press is requesting original poems centered around the theme of footsteps. Take license in interpreting whose footsteps you honor. Translations welcome. We will also be checking with past contributors to the blog about reprinting their pieces. This book is to honor the people instead of the causes. Cars wage war on the environment. Politics change like the newspaper wrapping fish. The invisible still wander. Write to honor the ignored.

​Please feel free to put the call out to poets you know. The deadline is in 8 days.

Thanks for considering sending work.


Paul Nelson​