reasons to go to… Vilnius

December 5, 2020

The next time you’re in Lithuania, be sure to stroll down Literatų gatvė (Literature Street) in Vilnius Old Town. The walls of the narrow walking street are decorated with plaques commemorating local writers and works of literature.

Find out more on Atlas Obscura.

. . . . .
Thanks to poet Yvonne Blomer, who mentioned in a Facebook posting that she visited Literature Lane in 2012 and proposed something similar as a legacy project following her stint as poet laureate of Victoria, BC.

Thursday in Vancouver, BC

October 13, 2017

Edited by Poet Laureate for the City of Victoria, BC, Yvonne Blomer, Refugium (Caitlin Press) invites poets to “explore our connection to the Pacific, what we know and don’t know, how we’ve already changed the shore and the sea and what we fear losing.”

There will be a book launch and reading on Thursday, October 19, 2017, 6:00pm, at the Nə́c̓aʔmat ct Public Library and YWCA Cause We Care House, Woo Soon Mary Lee Chan Room, at 730 East Hastings, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Authors reading at the event are Ann Hopkinson, Jo Lilley, Jeremy Pataky, Heidi Greco, Rob Taylor, Lee Beavington, Anne Simpson, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Miranda Pearson, Luther Allen, Lorin Medley, Terri Brandmueller, Nancy Pagh, Betsy Warland, Kate Braid, Stephen Collis, David Pimm, Barbara Pelman, and Cornelia Hoogland.

Free admission. Books available for sale and signing.
See you there.

Caitlin Press

Here’s another call for poems that seems to have some regional (and seasonal) relevance: Caitlin Press (in Halfmoon Bay, BC, Canada) “is currently accepting submissions for an anthology of poems that explores the Pacific Ocean as a wilderness, a haven, and a part of our natural world that needs protecting.”

The submission deadline is September 15, 2016 and the volume will be edited by Yvonne Blomer, Victoria’s poet laureate.

See the call for submissions and consider the possibilities when you visit the beach this summer.

Yvonne Blomer - As if a Raven
This is a guest post by Yvonne Blomer*, who introduces Planet Earth Poetry by sharing a New York School-style poem she wrote as part of her poem-a-day commitment for National Poetry Month.

Living on Planet Earth Poetry/ a NY School poem in honour of Poetry Month
     for Wendy Morton

In 2009 I took over the running and organizing of a place called Planet Earth Poetry, informally PEP. PEP is a weekly reading series in Victoria, B.C., where people walk through the door and step onto the planet called Poetry.

It was 2009 darling, do you remember?
My baby was three and you coasting toward 70.
The Moka House was still The Black Stilt and
birds or bars were endangered everywhere — renovations,
relocations, The George and Dragon’s dingy darkness
eaten and regurgitated as The Fernwood Inn
all shiny and bright in its hope for the future.
Every Friday, sweetheart, just down the hill
corner of Scott and Hillside we spread arms
and flew (still do) with Daniel, Dvora, Judith,
the Wendies and Davids
Rhona or Rhonda or both. Their wild poems, wild hearts.
Folks had to park at Hillside Mall and dodge traffic,
then squeeze in the room the night Patrick Lane read,
the students cross-legged on the floor around him.
If the Fire Dept. had come you would have said, arm on
your hip,
“F*** man, it’s Poetry Night!” And I, the new impresario,
would have wagged my shoulders a little,
tossed my head. Then Brian Bartlett, Brian Brett
his ginormous voice and poems out for the moon.
Pamela Porter sang to us one night and the years just
kept spinning.
Macha became the rage, though Sheila steadied with her
and glass of red wine, the scarf or sweater getting long.
When Naomi read, her twin sat, a perfect replica of Atwood.
Imagine, my love, if Atwood read, what then?
May as well call it quits, and throw in the towel.
The years, and the years and now Lane no longer smokes
and more and more poets dying of old age than suicide
or overdose.
How many books have you launched from this stage,
though now
you’ve turned your eye to the young, their elders,
the plight of our nation’s first people while I send out
my third, all birds, in that time.
We built, and we build this place on a crowd and
a microphone,
the crowd steady, the poets’ voices clear even when
the mic falters.
Remember that night the lights and mic went out? You swore
“S**t” and rolled your eyes my way. But it all went fine
as poet after poet stood on chairs, hollered out their Yeats,
Eliot, Pound,
Bishop, Dickenson, Neruda, and Purdy,
I sold raffle tickets by the length of my arm for Medicine
sans Frontier,
then did that every year. It feels like forever ago,
and it feels like the same night, every Friday, but a new
song on the stereo.
Poetry rings the dinner bell, scratches the buttocks,
whispers in the ear,
dreams humanity in fedoras and rain coats walking
Hillside Ave.
stopping to peer in through the windows,
wait for a pause, and step off this earth.

*Yvonne Blomer is the Artistic Director of Planet Earth Poetry, a poetry-reading event that happens nearly every Friday night at Hillside Coffee and Tea (formerly The Moka House) in Victoria. [Ed. note: go!] Her most recent book is As if a Raven (Palimpsest Press, 2014). In 2013 she and Cynthia Woodman Kerkham co-edited Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press), an anthology out of the reading series. Read an interview with Yvonne in commatology, visit her website and come hear her read from As if a Raven on Sunday, May 4, 2014, at 4:00pm at Village Books. She will also be participating tonight, Thursday, May 1, and Saturday, May 3, in the reading of Force Field (Mother Tongue Publishing) at the Cascadia Poetry Festival.

of note…

April 30, 2014

April 30
Today is the last day of National Poetry Month and here are a few items of note.

  • If you’ve been intending all month to buy a poetry book (and what better way to support poets and encourage your local bookstore to stock more poetry?) hurry on down to Village Books, where all poetry books are 20% off through today only.
  • The Sue Boynton Poetry Contest judges, James Bertolino and Sheila Nickerson, have completed their labors: reading each of more than 300 submissions and selecting 10 Walk Award and 15 Merit Award winning poems. To see the names of the winning poets, click on Winners (toward the top of this page). Congratulations to the winners…and thanks to everyone who submitted to this year’s contest! The winning poems will be posted here over the coming months.
  • And meanwhile, mark your calendar for Thursday, May 15, 2014, 7:00pm, and please join local poetry lovers to honor the winners and hear the poets read their winning entries at the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony, at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Avenue, Bellingham. The event (and parking) are free. Kevin Murphy will emcee, the judges will present award certificates, chapbooks of the winning poems will be available for purchase and all poems submitted to this year’s contest will be on display.
  • It’s encouraging to learn that there’s a new library anywhere, and very good news that there’s one in Bellingham. We congratulate the South Whatcom Library (aka Sudden Valley Library) on their April 12, 2014, grand opening.
  • The second Cascadia Poetry Festival starts tomorrow and runs through the weekend: May 1-4, 2014, at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium and Spring Street Center.
  • If you’re tempted by the Chuckanut Writers Conference, June 27-28, but need a little more information, pop by Hugo House tomorrow evening, Thursday, May 1, when five members of the Conference faculty will be reading in an evening showcase.
  • And finally…you may have heard rumors of the inspiring weekly poetry reading series in Victoria, BC, Planet Earth Poetry (PEP). The series is managed and hosted by Yvonne Blomer, herself an accomplished poet with a newly-published book. You can read more about Yvonne and PEP in this space tomorrow, hear her read tomorrow evening at the Cascadia Poetry Festival and again on Sunday, May 4, at 4:00pm at Village Books. If it’s not already on your radar, Planet Earth Poetry (and Yvonne Blomer) should be!
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