3rd Cascadia Poetry Festival, Nanaimo, British Columbia, April 30 – May 3

3rd Cascadia Poetry Festival, Nanaimo, British Columbia, April 30 – May 3

by David Fraser

Nanaimo is filled with poetry! It’s the skin of our city, poet Kim Goldberg says. We have a poet laureate, Naomi Beth Wakan; a poem gallery (at the downtown branch of the library); monthly readings with an open mike run by the WordStorm Society at the Vault Café and many other readings and book launches in Nanaimo and vicinity. Now, for the first time, outside the U.S., the Cascadia Poetry Festival will be held in Nanaimo from April 30 to May 3, 2015.

For several months now the Cascadia Planning Committee has been gathering sponsors, inviting publishers to the small press fair, and publicizing the event.cascadia poetry festival

We hope you’re able to make it to at least part of the festival. The all-access Gold Pass is just $25 for all four days (excluding workshops which are $60 each). The price for students is $10.

If you would like to be a Cascadia Poetry Festival sponsor, let Mary Ann Moore know. (Email her at flyingmermaids@shaw.ca) There are various levels of sponsorship and to have your logo on the Cascadia website means a link to your website and people seeing your business for the several weeks leading up to the festival. You would also be included in the printed program. You can even have a table at the small press fair which is available to organizations or publishers. Display your wares, chat up your business and have conversations about Cascadia.

The goal of the festival is to gather writers, artists, scientists and activists to collaborate, discover and foster a deeper connection between all inhabitants and the place itself: Cascadia, a bioregion that stretches from California to Alaska including Vancouver Island. You can see a map on the Cascadia Poetry Festival website: http://cascadiapoetryfestival.org/?page_id=1395

Cascadia is described as “a life-place or bioregion, with its own distinctive character and context. Water is the voice of this place.” David McCloskey, Professor Emeritus of Ecological Studies at Seattle University and considered “the Father of Cascadia” for his extensive mapping of the bioregion, will give the opening lecture at Vancouver Island University on May 1st.

If you’re curious about hotels, there are special Cascadia rates at some Nanaimo hotels. Check out the Cascadia website or email Mary Ann Moore at flyingmermaids@shaw.ca or David Fraser at ascentaspirations@gmail.com.

All these poets!

More than forty poets from across the Cascadia bioregion will meet in Nanaimo to examine and explore the relationship between poetics, landscape, history, culture and ecology. As Paul Nelson, founder of the festival and of SPLAB, a Seattle-based non-profit organization, said at our last planning meeting, Robert Bringhurst and Sam Hamill will be together for the first time in twenty years.

We expect there to be more historical moments throughout the four days of the festival as we welcome the featured poets  Brenda Hillman, Susan Musgrave, Barry McKinnon, Sharon Thesen, Joanne Arnott, Stephen Collis, Christine LeClerc, Rita Wong, Garry Gottfriedson, Janet Marie Rogers and many others.

The first event of the festival is the Living Room on Thursday, April 30 from 3 to 5 p.m. hosted by Mary Ann Moore at the Nanaimo Museum.

The Living Room will be a daily opportunity for everyone (including students and members of the public) to read their own poetry to an audience in a democratic poetry reading circle. That’s downtown at the Nanaimo Museum daily, April 30 to May 3, from 3 – 5 p.m.

A  Sampling from the Schedule

You can find all of the events on the Cascadia website here:


Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning (May 1 – 3) will be filled with panel discussions at VIU in Bldg 355, Room 203. Evenings will include multi-poet poetry readings at the same location. A Small Press Fair will be running throughout in the lounge across from the lecture theatre.

The Marmot Spoken-Word Bout will be held on Friday, May 1 at 10 p.m. at the Globe Bar and Grill at 25 Front Street. Cascadia poets will compete for the right to be crowned the Cascadia Marmot Champ. Dan Raphael, Anastacia Tolbert, Amber Dawn, Missie Peters, Sara Brickman, Robert Lashley and Sebastien Wen will be performing at the Marmot Bout.

And there are workshops! Anastacia Tolbert and Missy Peters are offering a Spoken Word, Writing and Staging workshop on Friday, May 1 from 1 to 4 p.m.at VIU Bldg 355, Room 103. Another workshop with Brenda Hillman, Barry McKinnon and George Stanley takes place on Saturday, May 2 from 2:15 to 5:15 p.m. also in VIU Bldg 355, Room 103. Workshops are $60.

The 30 + poets reading at the After Party on Saturday, May 2 from 10 p.m. on at the Globe Bar & Grill at 25 Front Street in Nanaimo includes Mary Ann Moore, David Fraser, Christine Lowther, Kim Goldberg, Stephen Collis, Ann Graham Walker, Susan McCaslin, Leanne McIntosh, Kim Clark, Philip Gordon and Paul Nelson and many others.

One of the panels at VIU in Bldg 355, Room 203 is On the Margins. Mary Ann Moore will be hosting on Sunday, May 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It features Nadine Maestas, Joanne Arnott, Janet Marie Rogers, Susan Musgrave and Renee Sarojini Saklikar.

Checking out the schedule on the Cascadia Poetry Festival website will help you determine where you want to be.  We look forward to seeing you at the festival.

Best wishes,

Mary Ann Moore & David Fraser
Planning Committee, Cascadia Poetry Festival

Cascadia Poetry Festival III
in Nanaimo April 30, May 1-3, 2015
You can buy your Gold Passes now!
Be an early bird and help to spread the word.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.