On April 30th, Joanna Streetly was appointed the inaugural Tofino Poet Laureate. This has coincided with the launch of her memoir, Wild Fierce Life: Dangerous Moments on the Outer Coast, (Caitlin Press), making 2018 a busy year.
Joanna plans to draw local poets out of the woodwork with a performance poetry workshop, and encourage poetry submissions to “Hearing Range” a project that will look at the creeping intrusion of artificial sound into the Clayoquot area.
Once students return to school in the fall, Joanna will embark on the history-based venture, “Before The Road.” Local elders and historians—First Nations, settlers, Japanese—will share stories of early life in Tofino, from which the students will build a variety of short poems and poetic statements in time for the Pacific Rim Art Society’s Cultural Heritage festival in May 2019.
Joanna is already booked for several public presentations and plans to hold a poetry night in conjunction with the Tofino Winterlights festival in December 2018. She is expected to write and present a minimum of three poems per year that give voice to community events, issues and values. Recommendations for topics are welcome, although the final choice of topic rests with the poet laureate.
The inaugural position is a one-year trial, which will be evaluated with an eye to continuing for a second year.
Joanna has lived in Tofino for almost 30 years. She is the author of four books: two of non-fiction, (Wild Fierce Life: Dangerous Moments on the Outer Coast, Caitlin Press, and Paddling Through Time, Raincoast Books), one of fiction (Silent Inlet, Oolichan) and one volume of poetry (This Dark, Postelsia Press)
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