Naomi Beth Wakan

Naomi Beth Wakan

Nanaimo poet laureate gives last public reading at Nanaimo North Library

NANAIMO - Nanaimo's inaugural poet laureate attends her last public reading on Saturday (Oct. 15) at Nanaimo North Library.

Poet Naomi Beth Wakan is stepping out of the spotlight as Nanaimo’s inaugural poet laureate at the end of the year.

She is attending her last public reading as poet laureate on Saturday (Oct. 15) at Nanaimo North Library, located at 6250 Hammond Bay Rd, at 2 p.m.

She’ll read excerpts from her two newest books, Bent Arm for a Pillow – New and Selected Poems and On the Arts, a collection of personal essays.

Wakan’s poetry book title Bent Arm for a Pillow comes from a quote by Confucius.

“It’s celebrating the simple life on Gabriola,” said Wakan.

On the Arts is a collection of essays that Wakan wrote on different artistic aspects she is interested in.

There are essays on subjects such as calligraphy, flamenco dancing and ikebana, Japanese flower arranging.

The second essay in the book examines creativity.

“What is creativity? We have no idea where anything comes from,” said Wakan.

Wakan said she views herself as a domestic poet. When she took the post of poet laureate three years ago, Wakan said she made a commitment to give it her all.

“I decided when I said yes that I would fully commit myself and just go for it,” said Wakan. “I tried to touch bases with a large number of people in the community.”

Projects Wakan has worked on during her term include a school program, the Poetry in Transit program for city buses and the Nanaimo Poetry Map.

Without the help of many community members Wakan said she couldn’t have done as much as she did.

Wakan said after her term is over she is looking forward to getting back to island life.

“I’ll just sink back into Gabriola life,” she said.

One outcome Wakan said she didn’t expect was how much work she created during her term.

“It stirred me to produce a lot of stuff during the three years,” she said.

For more information about Wakan please go to