Van Isle Poetry Collective Winter 2022

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VAN ISLE POETRY COLLECTIVE Vo l um e 3 Wi nt er Edi ti o n

Edi te d by A pr i l Hi l l a n d & D er ek R. S w al lo w

C o py ri g h t © 20 22 A p r il Hill a n d A l l po et s , p ho to gr a ph ers, art i st s, r et ai n t h e ri gh ts to t h ei r wo rk s i n t hi s p ubli c atio n . A l l ri gh ts res er ve d

www .v a ni sl e po e tr yco l l ec ti v e. co m

C ON T EN T S A W ORD F RO M T H E ED IT OR S F EA T U RED P O ET S Barry Hunt Bill Engleson D Ross Fisher Diane Massam Donna L Bennett Edeana Malcolm Greg Blee Heather Hendry Ian Cognitō Janis La Couvée Jennifer Moes Justice Schanfarber Katarina Meglic Ken Blackburn Lisa ‘Altogetherlisa’ Webster Lorna McGinnis Lynda Pitt-Brooke Mara G. Szyp Michael Hammond Micki Findlay Paige Quinn Ron Clayton Rosalie Jones Knogler Sarah Platenius Shirley Martin Sonia Nicholson Trish Malcomess P O ET B IO GRA P H IE S P A GE 37 A RT IS T /P H OTO GRA P HE R A C K N O WL ED GME N T S P A GE 4 5


A W ORD F RO M O U R ED IT OR S E di to r A p ril Hill a n d: I've lived in a few geographic areas of British Columbia in my 42 years on Earth, and each region has a distinct way of weathering our winter months. Vancouver Island winters, however, offer a variety of experiences. One day you'll be walking on the beach soaking up the sun in 12-degree weather, and the next, a snowstorm brings entire towns to a standstill or hiking to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain you're caught in a downpour. The poems in this issue reveal our shared experiences in this beautiful and moody ecosystem. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did. April Hilland is a published children’s author and poet, as well as a teacher-librarian. C o - ed i to r D e rek R. Swa llo w : In the frequently quoted words of Robert Frost, "Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words." As a poet myself, I recognize how difficult the journey is from emotion to thought to words. In my view, the intellectual gymnastics involved make poetry arguably the most challenging and rewarding of any form of writing. It's exciting to offer you the reader this volume of twentyeight works by twenty-seven talented West Coast poets written in a wide variety of styles with themes of gladness and sadness, wit, and wisdom, which I expect you'll enjoy as much as I. Derek R. Swallow is a published poet and fictionist, as well as a photographer and ESL instructor.


T H ER E I S W ON D E R I N E VER Y P R EC IO U S M O M E N T If I could pinch this moment between my thumb and forefinger, this precious moment when the sun holds the sea in golden splendour, I would put this treasure in a locket to rest upon your heart. This world is such a busy place. We never seem to have a precious moment when we can hold each other in golden splendour and in our most tender voice whisper what the sun and the sea whisper in that precious moment. BAR R Y H UN T


S TR EE T SC E N E S On quiet country mornings, I stare at the ceiling, at the wall, allow memories, time’s recall, to slowly drift in from the sky. For in the blue is where they lie, marshalled in the clouds, a small treat from the past, litter from the street, discarded moments, scallywags of sleep, life’s awkward little snags, soured some, though once remembered sweet. BIL L EN GL E SO N


T SA K WA L UTE N In the day, rocky beach, frothing water, grand maples, tall firs. Stones that hold secrets, an ocean that rips, and leaves that glow in the fall. Strings of murres, wing in lines, changing lanes over surf. Seals bob, lions snort, whales spout. But at dusk there is more, as if you need more. Because of this land, and its history, natural history, recent history, and always the shadow of ancients. Because twilight air thickens and the past comes to life, flown from a shelf in the museum. Is that a whistle for Tsonoqua, hiding in the woods for the children, or stone spirits, released with the tide? Morning’s ebb allows investigation as an eagle cries from its perch and woodpeckers chisel the forest. A creek forms a canyon, by the lawn on a cliff that once housed the people


that dwelled here. Where it spills to the sea there are canoe runs and granite mammals with spines that release spirits of fortune, for paddlers in search of sea’s bounty, blessed by the Shaman and his carvers. Using my fingers, I trace smooth lines of faces, rock of ages, oblongs grooved into stone, survivors of the pounding of centuries, to speak of the realm by the lighthouse, that grows older but won’t fade away. D RO SS F I S HER


T H E L O N G -D EA D The long-dead are so very gone, but in the Fall, they return, but only sometimes, and only as tendrils, only in the rain, only when the complicated oaks reach down with unbearable grace to sail their leaves in darkly pooled water, only when dry lichens soften into green and bitter creosote rides the salt wind from the harbour. The dead arrive on hints of smoke, they come to rest in wool sweaters, they nestle our necks, coax meridian responses. But only in the Fall, and only sometimes. Fall for the young is busy, there are pencils to buy, pumpkins too, but for the old, it is when loneliness rises from the puddled earth to kindle its own fire, finding strange fuel in wet graveyards where crows blacken stone and bloated worms yield up to tugging robins. Walking home at dusk, high gables turn inward, curtaining me out, I push through air made syrup with damp, I am again a little girl, bored with the mourning of dead soldiers, longing for her sister to come home. D IA N E M A S SA M


A L I MI NAL P L A C E she wanders through the mutter of Mallards begging for seed then enters the gloom of a wood cabin refuge and chooses to sit, wrapped in scarf, boots, gloved hands, hunched winter jacket, a small grey-haired woman near the crackle of stove on a bench beside strangers. the two of us, her husband and daughter, ask again but, no, she wants to stay while we squelch off in the mist along mud margins of marsh through bare phalanx of poplar and alder and elm, wade through ochre and umber: the muck slide of a sodden winter decay and listen for the call of late autumn’s arrivals. she wants to stay there without us while we cross through the dark drip of hemlock and cedar and fir, over hummocks of salt grass and shivers of slough while we eye through the cattails delicate steps of the heron a parting of waters with the quick thrust of beak: infinity etched on the skin of the pond. we leave her there, and go out on the trails but we carry the weight of her absence as we follow the bracken-edged slopes watch the round-shouldered Bittern blend into the reeds, hear the lone call of an eagle, a river caught snag, find a glimmer of sun in the Golden Crowned Kinglet.


we wade boot deep through the brackish brown stands where the tide doesn’t reach and clamber through sedges bent low with the damp but a part of us remains on the bench beside strangers, so we return to her, mid migration search, share our sightings of those never far from this place, express hope we will see the ones from away. does she want to come with us now, we ask. no, she responds, she doesn’t belong here in this liminal place crowded with mountains, a water-lapped margin of ocean and river. she belongs on the vast open plains: the place of her birth where she could see the curve of horizon with no interruptions, no way to get lost. back there was space: you could always know where you were going and where you had come from by your tracks in the snow. we stand open-mouthed for a minute as she looses a litany of abandonment, a lost sense of belonging, and tell ourselves that dementia has peeled back the layers, exposed the rawness of long-ago wounds, but our words, offered in comfort, vanish like snowflakes as they fall from our mouths. finally, excursion abandoned, we drive back toward the old wooden swing bridge that crosses the breach.


It is only then that we first hear and then see great drifts of Snow Geese beginning to land in thousands and thousands, wings buffeting the air transforming the drab south coast landscape of farm, field and slough into an undulating blanket of cold winter white. a smile crosses her face when she sees them just like winter back home, she whispers, I want to go home. D ON N A L B EN N ET T


W H EN I W A S [After reading “When I was the forest” by Meister Eckhart”] When I was still the field and every hoof and foot walked upon me and the wind blew my long grasses and scattered my seed everywhere, then I was. When I was still, the field held me in its arms like a loving mother and the sky showered its milk of stars over me. When I was. “Till the field,” my father told me and I dipped my blade in the earth and turned it-long dark furrows waiting for my seed. When I was ‘til the field was gutted, excavated, filled with concrete and my feet were far from earth and a cave was there below me, waiting for the stone to roll away, for the everyday sodomy of a car to enter. When. I was still. The field. ED EA NA M A L C OL M


T H E F ER R YB OA T QU I N SA M We pant for her, we randy Gabes in Arms — 3/4/5 times a week, we crave that quivering Quinsam quim, our common quintessential concubine — crave her diesel heat, her liberating wetness … O Quinsam, throbbing four-propeller nymph, paid-for mistress of our adventures! Float us to freedom on your capacious bed, across the salt-stung Salish Sea! O Quinsam, in your prime, just 39, thinly veiled in tantalizing rust — lusty island tramp, our perfect seductress, always worth the wait for your thousand paramours! We pack your waterbed like lovers nestled close, and it’s good … it’s so damn good to rest in your tremulous embrace, gasping on a metaphoric cigarette. This is our love life now, we ardent commuter suitors — This is how we ferry l’amour: in to Nanaimo, out to Gabriola … in, out … in-out-in-out, carried full away by our fickle, demanding, common, regal, choosy, catholic, foul-mouthed, diesel-drunk, working class working girl, steady on her stroll, the queenly Quinsam. GRE G B L EE


P AP ER B OA T S marshmallow white sharp creases fold to float on water six captains follow their admiral down to the shore salt water passages carved into sand six boats launched by small hands maiden voyages see-saw with the wind scatter out of formation sunken soggy paper stuffed into raincoat pockets HEA TH ER HE N D RY


F O UR R A VEN S , O N E raven flies by in a quintet (the leader and a chorus of players) its shadow cast four times against the tiered branches of these standing Fir shadows refracted in the depth and fall of sloping branches in jagged permutations that fleetingly capture the raven’s imprint projected against a background of colour in images as black as he and as adept… in flight silhouette times four plus, their prototype— the un-silent one at the top tier taking the lead in 3-D IAN C OG NIT Ō


M Y M OT HE R BEL I EV ED I N TH E P OW ER OF W IN D My mother believed in the power of wind, waves and salt spray to heal At the slightest sign of a lingering cough or sniffles we were off bundled in layers of wool and rubber feet encased in black gumboots following overgrown trails to the beach slipping and sliding, grabbing branches to stop falls bum-scooting down cliffs The best days were after a ferocious storm, rain gone, but gale-storm gusts remaining Shrieking like banshees we’d run full tilt at the breakers unfurling on the shore teasing and taunting King Neptune, until inevitable, water would slop in chagrined and sodden, we’d retreat hurl ourselves down the beach, becoming human kites the smallest bowled over by powerful blasts Exhilaration and dread coursed, in equal measure, through our veins Danger lurked in forces uncontrollable, rogue logs tumbling and crashing in the surf sleeper waves that could easily envelop Battling to stand upright, snot streaming our faces radiant with wide grins We exalted warriors of time and tide JAN IS L A C OU V ÉE


R OOT S Mist slithers lazily as if Enchanted Step through the ethereal forest veil my feet begin to take root like stately pillars of ancient, wizened firs that Shape the lazy path of this supernatural creation Tapestry of greens spinning webs of iridescent hues beauty almost oppressive as if I were its muse Fingers gently caress delicious velvety ferns that drape beneath rocky ledges Musty perfume pervades my conscious hollow life-giving timber, moss covered stumps intricate delicate designs artistry wearable Whispered humbled reverence aware of the forest’s mystical aura Whimsical, wonderous, wild its haunting melody calls me back to my roots JEN N IF ER MOE S


L EA D W IT H TH E WO UN D Lead with the wound, with a confession Here is the stone that makes these ripples Its name is this and I knew it when Lead with the darkened eyes and Stormy mouth, dripping honey and whatever else Unbutton yourself and spill out Even as the coarse rattling shakes and gains upon you Listen for the voice in the ground The one beneath the one that claims "There Is Only This" ..... Forgetting is too much to ask, an impossible Task that would lead you nowhere anyway


Blink your eyes and see again how little Has changed, how the vicious reasoning Of schoolchildren and of the still beating Hearts of yesterday catch and release and Catch and release all those things That someone put inside you JU ST IC E S C HA N F A R B E R


E AR T H WO RM S IN W IN T ER I swerved like a drunkard to avoid the earthworms crossing the street, desperate and achingly slow Sarah taught me that lesson in softness At fifteen When she rescued them one by one from a puddle Because, like everything, they wanted to live She didn’t have to be that kind (she just was) About 25 years after that A man I loved caught me rescuing a waylaid pill bug Collecting it from the floor of my office Bringing it outside He told me that I was kind, too. I pretended not to hear him. KATAR IN A M EGL IC


W OR D S D I E A L L T H E TI M E Leaving your lips, the words fall like faltering birds in the space between us the migration too far. I noticed yesterday a small meadow growing in the room, a terrain of tiny wildflowers blossoming with song. A music emerging from the decay of fallen words. A delight in their death. K EN BL A C K B UR N


I S AB EL L A D A N C I N G Isabella, is it your fault if you told me your secrets? No harm intended. Tales of incest and abuse that wrote their own stories in the lines of your face, punctuated your arms, and that did not need to come from your lips, …but did. Large bubbles of chatter that floated out of your cheek onto a Bacardi breeze and blew into my ears… hot angry storms, cold painful winds. Afraid those gales would drown your dreams you wanted an emergency response team caregivers, lovers, family, friends instead, you found only a reluctant storm chaser to hear your hush-hush. Isabella, is it your fault if you told me your secrets? No harm intended. There is burden to this information you give so freely and ask me not to tell. Like yoked milk maids walk carrying pails so full they will spill their guts with only the slightest bump and grind, I cannot strip your secrets, nor divulge them from my ever-thinking mind.


Your words, small white worms grow larval and fat as they spin cocoons that capture your fears, my anxiety, anchor them silently inside my mute mouth safe protected from release. You, me and what I know dance a long, slow step that will only end when no one is left to listen to the stories that I won’t tell. L IS A ‘AL T OG ETH ERL I S A ’ W EB ST ER


C R ON E TR EE Rain beads cling to her skeleton of burls and spindly bones stripped of autumn fire of spring’s gaudy-green leaves that nattered in the wind her arthritic fingers knot in pallid-tressed damp that warps bark into liver spotted skin, shadow frost-pricked ground that grows dominion in these delicate roots, dark arteries, woody marrow steeped in silk mist, a dawn brew for her rain buds – polyps of clear light under moon-pale sun L OR N A M C G IN N I S


T H E C A TH ED R A L . TH E F ORE ST . The white choir of stars sings in the black cathedral. A white swallow lifts the ribbons from the bride’s hair and blades of rain carve the dark pavement. When all is lost what trail do you take? Are the mountains still on fire? Because here in the canyon, there’s fog as dense as longing now. Your feet fail the trail and nowhere does the valley open. It is only when you slice apart the dense day that the light cracks like thunder and you might find yourself in soft conversations with waterfalls, and with shifting mists. and stones especially with the interference of rain, the loud confessions of storms. And what do you have to say? Do you ever weep beneath the dark choir of stars, or at the poetry of the mallard’s jeweled head? Do the green dreams of the bear tremble in your heart?


For what is grace? What is belonging? What is listening? What is speaking and seeking and surrender within this valley’s lowest darkest folds? L YND A P IT T -BR OOK E


G OL D EN ST OR M Absorbed inside my own thoughts I walked alone for hours. Behind me I left sunny afternoons, Behind you, you left snowy winter mornings. I got lost in your immensity. Honey gleam covering you. Soft under my feet, they’re sinking in you. The silence makes space to a lower deep roar, my body trembles numbing my senses. The sky above suddenly is at war. Mystified by its magnificence; The flickering of thunder mixed with subdued rhythmic steps. I stand still along your edges, It dances within you, and it moves her. Above the clash of light and darkness awakens, but it’s with a golden sword that defies you. Conquering it all, ending the calm. Under your waters raging, a performance unmatched! Nature itself is in awe. When the golden storm takes the stage dancing within your shores, seducing the sand and rocks. The moon and the sun, spectators Sunset of rain turns gold And everything else falls short by comparison. MAR A G. SZ YP


T H E A WA KEN IN G At first the young bud sways on its stem vulnerable to elemental forces, beyond its control. Only parental contact and strength to sustain, nourish and protect it. Fresh and gleaming with the morning dew. No hint of what is yet to come. Then the slow growth and transformation into something new, the final form still evolving. Quietly, and almost unseen, the protective cover splits, suggesting a trace of colour, a hint of what will be. In the embrace and warmth of the spring sun and soft shower's caresses the petals open. Hesitantly at first, still shyly and fearfully clinging to each other, their full glory yet to unfold. Then, in the full strength of the sun, throwing all caution aside, opening wide for all to see. Confident and serene in its beauty created by simple care, and love. And in the fullness of time the petals fade, leaving behind treasured memories of scent and sight, and the unforgettable past. MIC HAE L H A M M ON D


T AKE M E T O T H E OC EA N BL UE Take me to the ocean blue And leave me there to be renewed Let salt spray cool my weary face And slow my mind to coastal pace My heart shall guide my ship to steer Where life's concerns become so clear Then melt like dross and fall away As eventide draws in to play Take me to the ocean blue And leave me there to be renewed Release all cares upon the shore And vow to pick them up no more M IC K I F IN D L A Y


T R E E P L A N T IN G And then that was everything they ever knew the smiles the eyes the empty hands the dirt under nails and the aching backs the quiet wave of a lone pine stand in the wind as they drank water and stared into the sun dust coating their throats they cough good morning and evening to the others surrounding their daily movements like the arm of a metronome swinging their limbs tent to trailer to truck quiet now except the raven and the sound of the hot wind the lonely aspen hearing voices across the fire too far away to take part they stand up straight, finally, before hitting the ground each night rocks to ribs, sticks to stomach P A IG E Q U IN N


I WA S BO RN IN P ORT A L B ERN I In the town i was born in my memories still hold Many days over the year it does rain, it’s a west coast town But looking up at mount Arrow Smith make bad times fade Don’t need much in this town, the river and lakes supply a lot This town has left me with legacies and visions To get here on Vancouver Island you drive past Cameron Lake And then through the big forest of HR Macmillan’s Cathedral Grove The giant trees stand all alongside the highway The city courthouse i have used for paying speeding fines The old high school now has been replaced And Woodward’s store is now a manufacturing building The old APD sawmill has also been rebuilt where my dad worked A big Pulp and Paper mill was built along side the mouth Of the Somass river and the Alberni canal There is fish to be caught in the canal where the breezes blow up the canal from the Pacific Ocean The breezes continue through the tall grasses of the graveyards It seems that Port Alberni was bombed out and shattered, but never was Everyone came here to start work along with having a family When i was young, it was 2 towns, Alberni and Port Alberni But, they amalgamated and both became one The weather stays the same, sun shining. its warm, when raining, its wet I served a term in the Navy and the came back to Port Alberni It had few changes in physical terms and attitudes stayed the same To get out of town you drive over the hump and stare at mount Arrow Smith Now-a-days i walk alongside Kitsuksis creek pathways, both sides In the fall you see salmon going up to lay their eggs And sometimes i stop my walk to talk and laugh with some old friends RON C L AYT ON


S P R IN G I close my eyes, raise my face to the shining sun, And the world takes on a warm rosy golden glow. Birds sing sweetly from the treetops as they build their nests. Slowly I open my eyes and see the world anew. The fat tulip blossoms are ready to burst. The daffodils sway in the soft breeze. Raindrops sparkle like diamonds on the Slender blades of grass, a brand-new green. R OS A L I E J ON E S K N O G L ER


O N T HE C L O TH E SL I N E The socks were knitted by the Cowichan nation and like their namesake, land warmed by the sun, ensured heat. They were a gift for my mother-in-law, Inez, mailed at Christmas. In the Spring, when the sap began to run, my husband and I and two kids went for a visit. When we arrived at Craig Road the socks were on her feet. And they stayed on her feet, day and night. She had made up her mind: the socks kept her feet warm. They were cozy. She would wear them. Wear them until they had holes and then darn them and wear them again. One evening when I was giving her a foot massage, I removed the socks from her swelling ankles and tender skin. She was between pain and sleep when she revealed, with the same determination that she had decided to wear the socks, that it was time. On that Saturday afternoon, she turned, opened one eye and looked directly at me. With a surge of strength, she said very clearly, I have to go. The first time she said it with practical determination: the woman who sized up the situation, recognized that her body had had enough, made a list and this dying thing would be checked off. Then she said it again, I have to go. This time those simple words filled with goodbye and oh how much I will miss everyone: the woman who moved towards life no matter how challenging, no matter how wonderfully full of wonder. She never wore the socks again. They went into the laundry, and the stubborn wool things just wouldn’t dry.


John, her son, my husband, placed the socks above the old kitchen wood stove, then Peter, her husband, lovingly hung them outdoors in the wind. A star twinkled on them in the night, and when the sky lightened in the morning the socks were there. As they hung on the clothesline, looking so normal and cheerful in the bright morning air, Inez took her last, big, bold breath. She knew she had to go. SAR A H P L A T EN I U S


L O G HO U S E When southeasters gust diagonally off the harbour I shudder with the house; solid cedar logs interlocked ─ not a giant Jenga game ─ it shudders. We bought this house in July sunshine; then it rained. Dogged winds drove horizontal rain through knotholes. We mopped the floor. On drier days we sanded rain/tear stains from amber-hued logs, encased the house in kindred-cedar board and batten, left breathing space for every log. Log house full of memories: when the roof sprung a leak, toddler daughter said we mustn’t move her bed – she liked the inside-rain, the plink plink in the saucepan by her pillow. Years later, younger daughter, exultant teenager, broke an unvoiced rule − leapt off the repaired roof with shrieking friends to tumble, laughing, down the clover lawn. I place my palm where logs connect, our lifelines touching; contemplate tree’s history etched in sections of a former circle. Height marks of growing girls are pencilled on a door jamb. In the hallway, coloured chalk on logs records daughters’ story-bits – initials, coded messages and X marks the spot – a graffiti treasure trove. When Covid retreats, grandkids will giggle again to see these hieroglyphics.


I lie in stillness. Log house − heated with drift logs salvaged from our beach, sawed, split, becoming chunks and kindling coaxed to flame; log house − flanked by protective trees, imperilled during gale-force winds by those same trees; log house, I await, quilt-cocooned, to hear your voice. When dark effaces day, at bat time, owl hours, when woodstove fuel has burned to embers, then to ash, the temperature falls: walls speak − red cedar logs contracting, creak and groan. Outside the wind stirs, soughs, keens through limbs of spruce, hemlocks and the giant red cedar tree. SH IRL EY M A R TIN


OL D G R O WT H EN D URE S The parking lot is empty, but passing traffic clamours. Chest tight jaw clenched I hurry to the trail entrance. Gravel path leads to a boardwalk. I falter on slippery slats, step into silence. Sunlight peers through lichen drapery. Droplet’s glisten, slip from spruce fingertips onto brown/green forest floor. Deer ferns, unfurled, gleam with moisture, A stream’s susurration tickles silence, diverse fungi feast on fallen trees. Wind-sheared branches crisscross tangled understorey. Swamp lanterns exude acrid odour. Red squirrel chatters, scampers across spruce stump into salal, russet wire-brush tail waving. Millipedes devour rotting detritus. Hemlock, clutching cedar nurse-log, stretches towards the canopy. Magnificent old growth endures. Below, a severed cedar retains life-lines – history engraved in rings. Branch-settled raven calls, sharp-beaked, raspy – challenging my presence? I inhale deeply. Jaw softens, shoulders drop calm whispers through my core, heartbeat slows. I breathe – SH IRL EY M A R TIN


T R E ES OF RE ME MB RA N C E Roots run deep on this street of memories. Seedlings planted in the name of the lost A century ago Watch silently, ever mourning Long after the mourners have gone They remember, the broad leaves whose Colours have counted the seasons of A hundred years, Branches constant and enduring in A neighbourhood changed Through time The sentinels listen, incline shoots to hear, Record the stories above the noise Growing steady To give voice to the voiceless and Hope for generations In their silence they speak, lined up along The boulevard of unfinished dreams as A living cenotaph Dreaming, gentle giants holding then and now Through earth, across sky They stand SON IA N IC HOL SO N


F RE ED OM Morning dew calls me to Ride. While. Touching you I reach out from the inside. Of your Deep embrace within Rushing solitude. Of salt laden kisses. My face dives with gratitude. Into time spent as one in the rhythm of your Soul. TRI SH M A L C OM ES S


P O ET ’ S BI OG RA P HI E S D ON N A L B EN N ET T Chemainus, BC Donna has been reading and writing for as long as she has had the ability to do so although it is only within the last year or so of retirement that the real estate in her brain which was occupied by the art of teaching now has enough open space that she can allow who she is to percolate and erupt in the writing. When she is not writing, she creates wearable fibre art in her studio looking out over the aptly named Hermit Forest on the unceded territory of the Stz’uminus First Nation and the Hul'qumi'num people. Facebook: Website: KEN BL A C K B UR N Campbell River, BC Ken holds an MFA, majoring in Sculpture. He is currently the Program Manager for the Museum at Campbell River and the Executive Director of the Campbell River Arts Council. Website: GRE G B L EE Gabriola Island, BC Greg moved to Gabriola two years ago, and trips back and forth on the ferry became a frequent occurrence. An observer of zeitgeist micro-climates, he is tentatively returning to a writing habit (poetry and prose) after a long break. Twitter: @greg_blee … blog:


RON C L AYT ON Port Alberni, BC Ron was born is Port Alberni, spent a term (3 1/2 years) as a radioman in the RCN on HMCS Skeena, and has an original life saver by his fireplace. He worked 33 years in Alpulp, mostly in the warehouse as a driver. He owned Taylors Flowers and Gifts for approximately 14 years, now retired, had open heart surgery, a 5 ½ hour operation which resulted in a stroke. He keeps writing to keep his memory. IAN C OG NIT Ō Yellowpoint, BC Ian is the author of 5 collections of poetry including Animusings and Much Adieu about Nothing (the latter, co-authored with Pat Smekal). Recently, he published Interchange, a poetry/prose exchange with Ontario writer, Anne Marie Carson. Ian is the founder of “15 Minutes of Infamy,” a word-craft cabaret based in Nanaimo and is the director of Repartee Press, an independent publisher of poetry. Website: BIL L EN GL E SO N Denman Island, BC Bill is a retired Child Protection Social Worker and currently chairs the Hornby & Denman Community Health Care Society. He self-published his first novel, Like a Child to Home, in 2013. Silver Bow Publishing released his second book, a collection of humorous literary essays titled Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul, in 2016. In addition to playing tons of Pickleball, he writes flash fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, reviews, occasional letters to the editor, and works casually on several larger projects including a prequel to his first novel entitled Drawn Towards the Sun. Website /blog: Twitter: @billmelaterplea


M IC K I F IN D L AY Errington, BC Micki is a Vancouver Island author who likes to refer to herself as an 'artrepeneur', as she loves dipping her toes into a sea of creative ventures. Writing is both her passion and her lifeline. She is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jazz House Publications, and EyesOnBC. She is currently a freelance columnist for Oasis Life Magazine, where she writes feature articles about artists making a difference in their communities. Website: Facebook: Instagram: @mickifindlay Twitter: @MickiFindlay MIC HAE L H A M M ON D Lake Cowichan, BC Michael is English born and raised, moved to Canada in 1966 and spent most of his working life as a Medical Diagnostics Sales Engineer. His poetry started in 1997 when standard letters to a loved one gradually changed to blank verse and developed from there. HEA TH ER HE N D RY Tofino, BC Heather is an elementary school teacher and new poet. She lives in Tofino, BC, on the unceded traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. She shares her passion for writing through her creative writing club at Wickaninnish Community School and is a member of the Clayoquot Writers Group. Instagram: @heatherhendry


BAR R Y H UNT Nanaimo, BC Barry is a poet, workshop facilitator and coach passionate about connecting with the rhythms of the natural world. He lives in the Cedar area of Nanaimo. Website: Facebook: ROS AL I E J ONE S K N O G L ER Saanich, BC Rosalie's hobbies include traveling, quilting, writing, hiking, reading, singing and boating. She has two children’s books published, My Little Owl and Robins and Friends. Currently she is working on two books of historical fiction and a novel. Email: JA N IS L A C OU V ÉE ƛamatax̌ʷ Campbell River, BC Janis is a poet with a love of wild green places who has been featured and published, digitally and in print, by Pocket Lint, as well as the WordStorm Society of the Arts “Synchronous Choices contest,” Humana Obscura, Van Isle Poetry Collective, the New York Writers’ Collective Journal and Camosun College’s “ArtPoem-Art Experiment.” Twitter: @lacouvee Facebook: JanisLaCouveeOnline Website:


ED EA NA M A L C OL M Victoria, BC Edeana usually writes historical novels. When the spirit stirs, she may sometimes indulge in the pleasure of wordplay in poetry. Website: TR I SH M A L C OM ES S Comox, BC Trish was raised in Africa, lives and works in The Land of Plenty. She is Intuitive Creative and a Writer of Things You Only Feel When You Slow Down. Website: SH IRL EY M A R TIN Ucluelet, BC Shirley lives harbourside in Ucluelet, where the rugged surroundings inspire her writing. She has published five children’s books as well as magazine and newspaper articles, and her poetry can be found in several anthologies. Shirley’s favourite pastimes include beachcombing, kayaking and researching local history. Website: D IAN E M A S SA M Victoria, BC Diane has recently returned to her hometown, Victoria, after many years away. A retired professor of linguistics, she is currently completing a certificate in creative writing at the School for Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto. She was the 2021 winner of the “BC Federation of Writers Poetry Contest” and a winner of the “2020 Janice Colbert Poetry Award.”


L OR N A MC G IN N I S Qualicum Beach, BC Lorna is an MFA graduate of the University of British Columbia with publications in Understorey, Gone Lawn, and Kaleidoscope. Previously, she worked in animal welfare, writing grants and wrangling kittens. You’re welcome to look at her blog at: Website: K A TAR IN A M EGL IC Denman Island, BC Katarina is a curious person with an overactive imagination, who is fascinated by human stories. She tries to put these qualities to good use in poetry, prose, and paint. Website: JEN N IF ER MOE S Nanaimo, BC Jennifer is an island girl to the core finding solace and inspiration for her life in the elements of the West Coast. She always sees the joy and beauty in all that surrounds her. SON IA N IC HOL SO N Saanich, BC Sonia’s work has appeared in the online magazine Mosaic Times, the literary poetry journal Time of Singing, and most recently in the Living Hyphen podcast; her writing explores themes of identity, family, and place. A first generation Canadian who grew up in a Portuguese immigrant household, she was born and raised in Osoyoos, British Columbia. Sonia holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (with Distinction) in French and Spanish from the University of Victoria and continues to call the Victoria area home. Website: | Twitter: @nicholsonsonia_ | Facebook: | Instagram: @nicholson.sonia


L YN D A P IT T -BR OOK E Ladysmith, BC Lynda has her BFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Her poetry can be found in the chapbook TU. The Beloved, her limited-edition book, produced by book artist Kathy Nash, was sold in galleries in Victoria and in Vancouver. She was also selected as a Gutenberg Poet for “Vancouver’s literary festival Word on the Street” and has her work published in a variety of journals. She is inspired to give voice to and to be sustained by the indelible beauty of where we live. SAR A H P L A T EN I U S Tofino, BC Sarah’s writing has most recently appeared in California Quarterly, Wilderness House Literary Review, and The Sound Range Pilot Project. Her art has most recently appeared in The Hopper, Camas Magazine, Sage Magazine, and Scoundrel Times. Sarah lives on the west coast of Vancouver Island with her husband, son and daughter. Instagram: @sarahplatenius Website: P AIG E Q U IN N Victoria, BC Paige is a tree planter, contemporary artist and occasional poet who lives and works in Victoria, BC. Instagram: @paigefitzquinn Website:


D RO SS F I S HER Campbell River, BC Ross is active in the arts spectrum: fiction, photography, poetry, painting. He had a short story included in Escape Anthology (Peregrin Press) and was first runner up in “Cedric awards” as well as a poetry award in “BC Spirit 150 competition.” He also has many published photos including in National Geographic and others. JU ST IC E S C HA N F A R B E R Campbell River, BC At some point in the past two decades Justice decided that probably the best thing to aim for is to live life like art. He is an artist, poet, and couples therapist. Website: Website: Instagram: @justiceschanfarberart MAR A G. SZ YP Sooke, BC Mara is an established international Argentinean-Canadian painter, illustrator & poet. She is a double cancer survivor, who loves working with oils and acrylics on West Coast Seascapes & Abstracts. Website: Instagram: L IS A ‘AL T OG ETH ERL I S A ’ W EB ST ER Gabriola Island, BC / Snunyemuxw Territory Altogetherlisa is a Mohawk / Deleware woman who uses her voice to explore identity, the world around her, and when to stop and pick strawberries. She has lived, with her son and partner, in Snuneymuxw Territory on Gabriola Island since 2006 where she has found herself rooted on and within five acres of tree and rock paradise. Instagram: @altogether.lisa


P HOT OG RA P HER / A RTI S T AC KN O WL ED GEM EN TS M IC K I F IN D L A Y Cover photo: “Winter-Lane,” top left “Tofino-Sunset,” top right “Island-Life,” bottom left TR I SH M A L C OM ES S Cover painting: Little Tribune Bay, bottom right JUD IT H L L OYD Photo of Derek R. Swallow IN SP IR ED SP IR IT S P H OTOG RA P Y Photo of April Hilland


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