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:

• 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:

“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 for more information.  Funding for the pilot series comes from Tofino’s participation in the Resort Municipality Initiative program.”

National Poetry Month, Final Poem

It’s hard to believe that April has come to an end! Thank you to the many poets whose words touched so many readers. And thank you to Sherry Marr for helping with the comments on the website. Given that Day One’s poem was by the late Pat Lowther, it seems only fitting that the series should close with this poem by Kate Braid, dedicated to none other than Christine Lowther, Pat’s daughter.

This time last year Kate and I shared readings in Victoria and on Galiano Island. At the time Kate was launching her latest volume of poetry, Elemental, published by Caitlin Press. This poem is from Elemental. It is a rich reflection of the 2019 theme, Nature.

Photo © Joanna Streetly

Kate Braid has written, co-written, edited and co-edited 14 books of non-fiction and prize-winning poetry, most recently Elemental, from which these poems are taken.  For 15 years she worked as a construction carpenter and the elements she worked with – water, fire, earth, air and of course, wood – are the chapters of this book.

National Poetry Month Day 29

Helen Mavoa is the newest member of the Clayoquot Writers Group, hailing from New Zealand, where she lived and worked as an anthropologist. Nuu-cha-nulth people had stewarded this coast for at least four thousand years before Helen “discovered” it, and she found many parallels with Aotearoa (New Zealand)—vestiges of primaeval forest, a coast that had been inhabited for thousands of years. Helen’s interest in photography has expanded to include words and she’s recently begun setting words to her images, as she’s done with this one.

Helen’s interest in photography began at the age of 12 when her parents gave her a box Brownie camera. Her pursuit of photographic images that evoke questions about relationships has expanded in the last few years when she has spent increasing time in Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC. While most of Helen’s images are crafted with and through Nature, some explore the form and function of the built environment, and others capture moments with people she meets.

National Poetry Month, Day 26

It’s impossible to catch all Nature’s happenings. But as Janis McDougall observes, even if you didn’t quite see what happened, it’s fun to guess, deduce, dream, interpret. . . .

Janis McDougall is a member of the Clayoquot Writers Group, a talented jeweller and craftswoman, a longtime part of the Wickaninnish Elementary School staff and citizen of Tofino.

National Poetry Month, Day 25

Before the weather warms up completely and the feel of winter’s chill vanishes from your sensory lexicon, follow Janice Lore on her flight into northern Clayoquot Sound, “a long way from anywhere.”

Photo © Joanna Streetly

Janice Lore is a member of the Clayoquot Writers Group and enjoys the challenge of performance poetry. She makes books to showcase her poetry and is interested in collaborating with other artists. All of this is coming together in an exhibition of her handmade books later this year.

Janice’s partner is a pilot and when she first moved to Tofino, she was sometimes invited to tag along with him as he flew around Clayoquot Sound.
“It was a spectacular introduction to the west coast,” Janice writes, “and when I close my eyes I still visualize the sound and the wild coastline from a bird’s eye view. One Christmas in those early years, we were assigned the awesome task of fetching the oysters for the airline Christmas party. Christmas Oysters is about that memorable trip to Pretty Girl Cove.”

National Poetry Month Day 24

Few people have ever seen a nesting hummingbird, but if you’re one of them, this poem will transport you to that moment with precise and perfect description—and even a lilt of rhyme to lead you along. Mother & Moon was originally published in the Mojave Heart Review.

Photograph © Joanna Streetly

Tara K. Shepersky is a taxonomist, poet, essayist, and photographer. She makes her present home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, with her main literary credential: a tuxedo cat named d’Artagnan. You can read recent and upcoming work in Whitefish Review, Shark Reef, and High Desert Journal, or connect with her at

National Poetry Month Day 23

Next windy day read this poem aloud and cosy up to a tree; “listen as it sings in a long wild key.” This lovely poem was originally published in Kate Braid’s 2018 collection, “Elemental” (Caitlin Press).

Kate Braid has written, co-written, edited and co-edited 14 books of non-fiction and prize-winning poetry, most recently Elemental, from which these poems are taken.  For 15 years she worked as a construction carpenter and the elements she worked with – water, fire, earth, air and of course, wood – are the chapters of this book.