Words and verse, emotion and intensity, this Friday afternoon the public will get a chance to hear and see the finalists chosen for the Comox Valley Poet Laureate Search.
The CV Community Arts Council event, being hosted by the Courtenay Library, will lead off with a reading by noted author Linda Rogers, a former Victoria poet laureate and a member of the jury selecting the local poet.
Rogers says she found the range of local poetry submissions striking.
“I am excited to see the diversity in poetry that represents the Courtenay area,” she says. “From street to formal, stage to page, their voices form a choir. I’m thinking of your first poet laureate as a conductor and hope everyone will join in the celebration and lamentation, whatever is needed.”
A total of 15 poets have submitted their work to the contest, which carries an honorarium of $1,000 and the chance to open for Shane Koyzcan at his sold-out show at the Sid Williams Theatre on Tuesday.
“All the candidates have very strong applications,” says Josie Patterson, a young songwriter and spoken word artist who has joined Rogers, rapper Eric Ettinger and North Island College English Department chair Anne Cumming on the jury.
“I’m excited to see what the finalists are like in performance.”
Patterson said she believes “poetry outreach in the community, especially as far as youth are concerned, is essential.”
She said that in addition to quality of writing and performance, she is looking for the candidate who has the best “motivation and ideas towards poetry in youth, and giving them a voice.”
She called the contest “such an amazing opportunity” for writers of verse. “I am so grateful to be a part of this.”
The Linda Rogers reading begins at 4 p.m. Friday, followed by the finalists beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The winner of the Comox Valley Poet Laureate Search will be announced at the Koyczan show Tuesday evening.