It is with great pleasure that we introduce to you Tofino’s second poet laureate – 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.
I’m thrilled to announce that the Sound Range Pilot Project is now live at:
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
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.
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.
The Before The Road album is now in print and on sale at Mermaid Tales bookstore in Tofino and Blackberry Cove books in Ucluelet. This unique slice of local history is available for a $20 donation to the Tofino poet Laureate program. Get ’em while they’re hot!
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.
Share food, wine and inspiration at this annual community event. Bring your favourite piece of writing and put your name in the hat for the open mic slate.