Nearly a dozen hopefuls vying for title of Comox Valley poet laureate

They have a thing or two to say.

The 11 poets vying to become the third Comox Valley Poet Laureate will have a chance to show their poetry performance chops at the first round of the CVPL search beginning at 7 p.m., Easter Monday, at Michael’s Off Main restaurant.

“Anyone who loves good writing, passion, thinking and being moved should come out to this,” said Jamie Bowman, a CVPL committee member who got the poet position started in 2015.

At that event, four or five entrants will be selected for the finals, which go in the same venue a week later, April 29, when the winner will be chosen.

Joining the judging panel is Jordan Scott, winner of the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize in 2018, who is a North Island College English instructor and a former Simon Fraser University poet-in-residence.

Scott’s first book of poetry, Silt, was published in 2005 and was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 2006. He followed up in 2008 with Blert, then in 2013 with Decomp. In 2015 he was granted access to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and published the multimedia work Clearance Process in 2016 to document his visit there.

He joins outgoing CV Poet Laureate Natalie Nickerson, singer-songwriter Josie Patterson (aka COZY) and rap artist Eric Ettinger on the jury.

The panelists are reviewing submitted works of entrants Amos Mercier, Michael Datura, Jessica Dawson, Catriona De La Torre, Pamela Dewolf, Spencer Sheehan-Kalina, Apryl Fawn, Lawrence Cooper, Kerry Hale, Darsi Kamay and Taryn Goodwin.

The competition is open to page poets, songwriters, spoken word and rap/hip hop artists.

The winner will collect a $2,000 honorarium over the two-year term and will be expected to create works, while reflecting the mood of the community, fostering poetry and literacy, and organizing poetry events.

The Word Up Poet Laureate Search is a project of Comox Valley Arts, your regional Arts Council, with sponsorships from the Comox District Teachers Association, School District 71, Vancouver Island Regional Library, 97.3 The Eagle, North Island College, City of Courtenay, the Island Word, and Sure Copy.

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