Tofino’s New Poet Laureate 2020-2022

It is with great pleasure that we introduce to you Tofino’s new poet laureate – Christine Lowther!

Tofino’s New Poet Laureate 2020-2022; Christine Lowther

Christine Lowther is an accomplished writer who has lived in the Tofino area for about 28 years. In her application she shared that “[she] came here specifically to join the logging blockades, … [and] was swiftly introduced to some of this place’s most controversial issues and values.” She “saw right away that Tofino was not only one community. It was and is made up of locals/ old timers, settlers’ descendants, loggers, fish farmers, oyster farmers, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, visitors, surfers, and three or four Indigenous Nations.”

Christine has contributed to numerous local publications such as The Sound and Tofino Time, and anthologies such as Salt in Our Blood and Crowlogue. Most of her written work centers around life on the west coast, with a strong focus on the natural world. Born Out of This was shortlisted for a BC Book Prize, but My Nature “is [her] happiest book”. In her application she says “I wrote it for nature and after having lived here fifteen years. I love being in that rare-for-me state of mind where poems keep coming, several per day.”

Please join us in congratulating Christine on her new appointment.

Sound Range Website Goes Live!!

I’m thrilled to announce that the Sound Range Pilot Project is now live at:
https://soundrange.ca/

The Sound Range Pilot Project is a community conversation about the changing acoustic landscape of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve region. As this unique area becomes increasingly busy, the noise associated with that busyness spills out into the surrounding area. Soundscapes—which researchers have found be markers of community health—affect daily life, artistic inspiration, wilderness experience and wildlife.
This project draws on many branches of our community to reflect changing local soundscapes, create better anticipation, understanding and resolution of issues and draw attention to the loss of traditional acoustic ecologies.
This pilot project is the first step in a platform for community representation through the joining of art, science and Indigenous knowledge—a platform that can continue to be built upon in future years.

Currently, the project is limited to two study areas: Lemmens Inlet and Tofino Harbour. As the project expands, more study areas will be added, including the pristine Sydney Valley, where the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust has been monitoring soundscapes for some time.

I would like to acknowledge my gratitude for the assistance of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, the District of Tofino and the Tofino Arts Council, as well as the members of the Tofino Poet Laureate working group. I would also like to thank the many community volunteers who donated their time or knowledge:

Levi Martin, Tla-o-qui-aht Language specialist and knowledge holder
Gisele Martin, Tla-o-qui-aht recorder of place names
Clare Watson, artist, map maker
Natalie Christensen, website designer
Kim Hoag, Tofino Arts Council and Poet Laureate Working Group
Cindy Hutchinson and April Froment, District of Tofino
Ian Cruickshank, biologist, sound recording, spectrographs
Dr Jim Darling, marine biologist, Remote Listening Project
Poets: Christine Lowther, Sherry Marr, Sarah Platenius and Jeanette Martinolich
Photographers: Wayne Barnes, Tim Webb, Ian Cruickshank, Christine Lowther, Alistair Horne

THANK YOU!

WANTED: Your Poems!

April is National Poetry Month!
This year’s theme: ”A World of Poetry.”

Given the situation interpret the theme however is necessary to share your very real observations, fears, hopes, wishes…

Send for the website: poems, poetic fragments, short creative prose.
(For website purposes multi-page poems are harder to represent visually, so maybe keep work under 20 lines. But let me know if you have something that just can’t work in that length..)

Share this post with anyone you think may be encouraged to write about the current situation.

Photo: J Streetly, detail of the stunning painting “Takes Back Twice” by Paul Pletka, taken at the Arizona Museum of Art.

Poem for our Times

Living in times of pandemic is a stress of no small proportions. As I read, listen, discuss, and otherwise navigate the constantly-changing situation, I’m in awe of Tofino people and the way they exemplify the best. This poem sings to our fear, our potential for grace and strength, and to the unknown.

Inauguration Flashmob

When Citizen Dan Law became Councillor Dan Law without having being read The Inauguration Poem, I was aghast! This error would have to be fixed ASAP. With a gang of concerned Inauguration Poem People and a town crier (in the form of Janice Lore, wielding a real Swiss cow bell,) we knocked on unsuspecting citizen Dan Law’s door and made sure his inauguration was officially completed.

L—R Tofino Poet Laureate Joanna Streetly, Councillor-in-the-final-stages-of-inauguration Dan Law, Ava Law, Annalea Law, Molly Law. Present but not in photo: Photographer Helen Mavoa, Videographer Jan Brubacher & Vanya Law
Hear ye! Hear ye! Town crier Janice Lore reads proclamation to the unsuspecting citizen Dan Law. Joanna Streetly looks on. Photograph by Helen Mavoa.
Councillor Dan Law receives his copy of The Inauguration Poem

National Poetry Day in Tofino

Celebrate Tofino on National Poetry Day! Ask for these books at your local book store, or the library.

New Power, by Christine Lowther, has been described
as a lost childhood in poetry. If you don’t already have a copy,
you are missing out!
(Broken Jaw Press)
Christine Lowther’s poems “come from the edges of polite society,
of the ocean storm, where unexpected things happen,
where changes occur; with a foot planted on each side
she has become a keen observer, a wise voice.”
Leaf Press
Janice Lore’s writing has appeared in various anthologies
and literary magazines, and on CBC radio.
Her poetry chapbook, Ipsissima Verba (Latin meaning “the very words”),
is a “found” poem about math, philosophy, definitions
and a middle-aged woman’s life. It has also been
scripted and performed.
Leaf Press.
Sherry Blue Sky chose the name Stardreaming
“because of a lifetime love affair with the daytime and night-time skies . . .
so much beauty and mystery, so much that is unknown,
and bigger than we can begin to grasp.”
This Dark by Joanna Streetly is a collection of coastal haiku
paired with original linocuts by Marion Syme.
Postelsia Press

Sound Range—the poetry of a soundscape

Your poetry is sought for a Clayoquot Sound project, in which poets evoke nuances of location-specific natural and/or artificial sound, together with an understanding of how these sounds affect the ecosystem and/or the writer.

The aim is to document—through the lens of poetry—the acoustic landscape of Clayoquot Sound and also to consider the far-reaching impacts of sounds that are not historically natural. While it is important to consider obvious issues, the most humble sounds and their value are important.

 

“When noise covers up natural sounds, the entire natural ecosystem
shows the effects. Places of deep quiet are most vulnerable.
Human noise sources stress this system, which creates a
domino chain of effects for both animals and humans.”
—National Park Service website

 

Poems as long as 40 lines will be considered.
While this project has a documentary interest,
a poetic and thoughtful approach is of foremost importance.

“the first whisper of stars is a faint thing
a candle sound, too far away to read by

“it’s like blowing on a ring of cinders
the crackle of not quite stars that you can hear
when you walk outside leaving the door ajar…”
—”A Star Here, a Star There” Alice Oswald

• Each submission must include the location, date, and general time of day or night.
Contributors do not have to be from Clayoquot Sound, but material must draw from observations made while IN Clayoquot Sound, (see map). For the sake of accuracy, please note your observations in the field and send to:
info@tofinopoetlaureate.ca

• Deadline: October 1st, 2019

Selections will be made within 6 weeks of the deadline. All submissions are considered a vital contribution, even if they are not selected for the final product, which is intended to be an interactive multi-layered map-based website. The Tofino Poet Laureate program is currently awaiting adjudication of a BC Arts Council grant, the results of which will be known in October and will determine the final scope of the website.

Information and inspiration:

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/sound/effects_wilderness.htm
http://earthisland.org/journal/index.php/magazine/entry/the_loss_of_natural_soundscapes/https:/theconversation.com/how-noise-pollution-is-cha
https://theconversation.com/how-noise-pollution-is-changing-animal-behaviour-52339
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2018/01/09/some-birds-are-so-stressed-by-noise-pollution-it-looks-like-they-have-ptsd/?utm_term=.f51f7dcfd7e6

“The Great Animal Orchestra” by Bernie Krause

“Gust of Wind” Street Entertainment Pilot Project

“The District of Tofino is piloting a street animation/entertainment series this year as part of the implementation of the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Action Plan.  The first event will be co-hosted by the Clayoquot Writers Group and will feature New Zealand poets Liz Breslin and Laura Williamson, as well as local speakers and performers.

The pilot project isn’t to be confused with busking and will allow for performance and visual artists to showcase their talents in some of Tofino’s favourite outdoor public spaces.  The series will be free and family friendly.  
The pilot series will run: July 22*, 31, August 7, 15, 21 and 28th and feature a diverse range of local talent from approximately 5-8pm on the Village Green. The full list of artists and times will be confirmed by Friday, July 19th and posted on the main community boards.

The program’s name is inspired by the former Gust of Wind community space that once stood behind the District of Tofino Municipal Office. The Gust of Wind was Tofino’s arts and culture hub, showcasing the Tofino’s diversity of talent. 

If you are interested in learning more about the pilot project or are curious about being involved please reach out to events@tofino.ca for more information.  Funding for the pilot series comes from Tofino’s participation in the Resort Municipality Initiative program.”