Nanaimo will host the 2015 Cascadia Poetry Festival. The festival begins later this month.

Nanaimo will host the 2015 Cascadia Poetry Festival. The festival begins later this month.

Poets set to descend on Nanaimo

Cascadia Poetry Festival will feature readings by dozens of highly respected poets.

Beginning next week.

Poets will read and speak.

All throughout the Harbour City.

As part of a festival inspired by regional identity.

When the Cascadia Poetry Festival kicks off in Nanaimo on April 30, hundreds poets from the Pacific Northwest and beyond will be belting out all types of verses and rhymes.

“There are a lot of poetry festivals, but there are not a lot of festivals that are really dedicated to a more experimental side of poetry,” said festival organizer and founder, Paul Nelson.

In addition to various kinds of poetry readings, the four-day festival will feature plenty of workshops and after-hours events.

“In the evening there are headline readings with some of the most brilliant poets in the bio-region,” Nelson said.

Among the poets who will be at the festival include Naomi Beth Wakan, Barry McKinnon, George Stanley, Sharon Thesen, Christine Lowther, Christine Leclerc and Renée Sarojini Saklikar.

The Cascadia Poetry Festival, which was created in 2012, has been held twice before in Seattle.

This year’s festival marks the first time it has taken place outside of the United States.

“We wanted to do it in Canada,” Nelson said. “We just don’t want this to be a U.S. centric thing.”

Originally, Nelson considered having this year’s festival in Victoria, but was told Nanaimo would be an excellent choice.

“The Victoria people said no they don’t want to take this on, but said the people in Nanaimo would,” Nelson said.

Nelson, who has been to Nanaimo before, said that Nanaimo has a strong poetry community and is an ideal place to host the festival.

“Nanaimo has a lot of amenities and a good sense of community,” he said.

Nelson hopes that those who attend the festival return to the Harbour City.

“We want people to come back to this part of the world [Nanaimo] because of the festival.”

The Cascadia Poetry Festival was named and inspired by the Cascadia bio-regional independence and identification movement.

“We have such an amazing place where we live,” Nelson said. “The fact that it includes two countries is even more fascinating and leads to a lot more possibilities.”

The Cascadian boundaries encompass parts of Alaska, British Columbia, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Yukon and Wyoming as well as all of Washington.

Nelson said he created the festival as part of a personal pursuit to understand more about the Cascadia region.

“I created it out of my own desire to know more about the culture of this bio-region,” Nelson said.

Nelson added that the festival and the Cascadia movement is not about separating from Canada or the United States, but about understanding and culturally identifying with their geographical surroundings.

“We have the opportunity to shape the culture here,” he said. “Taking a cue from the indigenous people and doing it with honour and mixing it with people who wouldn’t be called indigenous.”

The Cascadia Poetry Festival runs from April 30 until May 3 and takes place at Vancouver Island University, building 355, as well as various locations throughout Nanaimo.

For more information, including a full schedule, ticket prices and list of performers, please visit www.cascadiapoetryfestival.org.

arts@nanaimobulletin.comFollow @npescod on Twitter

Just Posted

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

City of Nanaimo council has approved amendments for an animal control bylaw requested by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The bylaw includes language related to quail. (Wikipedia Commons photo)
Province asks for tweaks to Nanaimo’s animal responsibility bylaw

Ministry concerned bylaw wording could create municipal and provincial jurisdictional overlaps

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo hospital district seeks help from other districts for $1-billion project

Funding for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital patient tower discussed by committee

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Most Read