island poetry

September 5, 2018

Nanaimo, BC

Nanaimo, BC, Poet Laureate, Tina Biello, has announced the lineup for year two of the Poet Laureate Reading Series. Held on Saturday afternoons at the Harbourfront Branch of the Nanaimo Library, this round of readings features:

  • September 15, 2018 – Leanne McIntosh and Daniel Scott
  • November 17, 2018 – Pat Smekal and Cornelia Hoogland
  • February 16, 2019 – Kim Clark and Sonnet L’Abbe
  • April 20, 2019 – The “Island Five” [ed note: sometimes called the “Bellingham Five” for their launch at SpeakEasy]: Susan Alexander, Terry Ann Carter, Linda Thompson, Barbara Pelman, and Richard Osler
  • June 15, 2019 – Kevin Paul and Kayla Czaga

coming up in Cumberland

August 30, 2017

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Cascadia Poetry Festival. It has a dynamic presence, if no permanent home, and has been enjoyed in Seattle and Nanaimo (BC), and will be coming up in October in Tacoma. But before then, there’s one more Cascadia Poetry Festival — in Cumberland, BC, on Vancouver Island.

It opens on Friday, September 8, 2017, with a reception, poetry reading, and party. On Saturday, there will be a panel, small press fair, open reading event, poetry reading, and another party. On Sunday, the festival will close with a morning workshop. Your $20 Gold Pass gets you into all events except the Sunday workshop.

Spend the weekend on Vancouver Island and enjoy the words and the scenery. Details at Cascadia Poetics Lab.

looking ahead to summer…

December 19, 2015

Ellen Bass Nanoose June2016

Dorianne Laux & Joseph Millar

Soon — very soon! — the days will start getting longer, and while there’s plenty of winter ahead, it’s not too soon to dream of summer escapes. The summer of 2016 will bring two dazzling poetry workshop/retreats to Annie’s Acre in Nanoose Bay, on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island.

June 3-5, Ellen Bass will offer “The World Split Open” and August 5-7, Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar will offer “The Hidden Architecture of the Poem.” Enrollment is limited. For details on the workshops and accommodations, contact Tina Biello:

Ellen Bass by Irene YoungThis is an early notice of an opportunity that will not last. In June 2016, the poet Ellen Bass will be the instructor for a weekend poetry retreat, “The World Split Open,” in Nanoose Bay (Vancouver Island), BC, Canada.

In 1968 the poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”

“This weekend in June all of us — men and women — will journey into that world of truth-telling. But it isn’t so easy to tell the truth. Not only do we need courage, but we need craft. As another great writer, Willa Cather, said, ‘Only the artist . . . knows how difficult it is.’ And so we will study the craft together, reading model poems by contemporary poets and discussing central topics, such as the concept of discovery, image and metaphor, sentiment and sentimentality, and the power of sensory detail. We will engage our greatest resources — attention, precision, imagination — to bring our own new poems into being. We’ll strive for language that is accurate, fresh, and alive and we’ll learn strategies to help us write poems whose form, music, rhythm, diction, and meaning work together as an powerful whole.

“With the inspiration of this gathering, expect to surprise yourself in making poems that are more vivid, more true, more beautiful and complex than you’ve ever written before. Both experienced and beginning poets are welcome, as are teachers of poetry.”

The workshop will be held June 3-5, 2016 and is limited to 20 participants. There is camping onsite and other accommodations nearby. Cost: $550 CDN includes tuition and meals. Register with Tina at

(In a related note, Ellen Bass will offer a WordWorks talk on Controlled Chaos on September 23, 2015, and a master class the following day, both at Hugo House in Seattle. September 25-27 she will be the featured poet at LiTFUSE 2015.)
. . . . .
photo of Ellen Bass by Irene Young

think of it as dessert

April 16, 2015

Cascadia Poetry Festival 2015

If you’ve been dining on National Poetry Month’s prompts and readings and many other daily options, the Cascadia Poetry Festival may be just the delicious dessert you need. Held in Nanaimo, BC, on Vancouver Island, the Festival begins the afternoon of Thursday, April 30, 2015, and continues through Sunday, May 3, with a tasty selection of panels, readings, a small press fair and social events. The lineup of poets is impressive. A $25 (!!) Gold Pass gets you in to everything except workshops.

Vancouver Island is beautiful at this time of year, so don’t miss dessert. Visit the Cascadia Poetry Festival website and see more Cascadia Poetry Festival on Facebook.

Master class: Manuscripts

August 16, 2014

Warland flyer

Get away to Vancouver Island and take your manuscript with you. Author, teacher and manuscript consultant Betsy Warland will offer a three-day workshop in Nanoose Bay, Listening to Your Manuscript, for poets, creative nonfiction writers, memoirists and mixed genre writers who have a substantial body of work, a full draft, a chapbook or a book and are at work on their next manuscript. For information, contact Tina Biello: tbiello AT