In searching the ocean for lost loved ones, there is a strange fortitude that holds us up, keeps us going even as knees buckle at the thought of what we might find. I originally wrote this poem during the search for survivors of the Leviathan II, but  it has been running through my head in the last few days.

At the time of the Leviathan there was a full moon. This time, there has been a perfect sickle moon sinking into the horizon at day’s end as if to remind us, over and over, that beginnings and endings are natural, even when the agony of loss seems to contradict that.


Call for Submissions: Hearing Range


“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


Your poetry is sought for a Clayoquot Sound project, in which poets evoke nuances of 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 changing acoustic ecology of Clayoquot Sound and 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.

Poems as long as 40 lines, as well as fragments and/or short poetic statements will be considered. Contributions will be assembled to form a pastiche, representative of the area. While this project has a documentary interest, a poetic approach is of foremost importance.

  • 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.


  • Deadline: October 1st, 2018

Selections will be made within 6 weeks of the deadline. All submissions will be considered a vital contribution, and may be included on the Tofino Poet Laureate website, even if they are not selected for the final product, which is intended to be a video-poem. Contributors may be invited to present their work during a December poetry evening. Given the constraints of a video-poem, not all submissions can be guaranteed to be used in their entirety, although any partial selection of material would be made with the agreement of the author.

Please send your submission as a word file to:



Information and inspiration:








Please include the specific impacts sounds have.

Impeccable word choices help to describe sound, as in this excerpt from “A Star Here and a Star There” by Alice Oswald:

“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
and smell the various Danks of Dusk”





Meet the Inaugural Tofino Poet Laureate

Meet the Inaugural Tofino Poet Laureate

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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