Chris Lowther is Tofino’s new Poet Laureate. (Photo courtesy of Chris Lowther)

Chris Lowther is Tofino’s new Poet Laureate. (Photo courtesy of Chris Lowther)

Chris Lowther becomes Tofino’s second Poet Laureate

“It’s very encouraging and it’s motivating and that’s the greatest gift any writer can receive.”

Tofino’s arts community is celebrating a changing of the guard as the town has appointed a new Poet Laureate.

Revered local scribe Joanna Streetly became the town’s first-ever Poet Laureate in 2018 after Tofino’s municipal council established the position at the behest of the Clayoquot Writers Group and, with her two-year term at an end, she has handed the reins over to Christine Lowther.

“It is hard to believe that two years is already over, but here we are,” said mayor Josie Osborne during council’s May 12 regular meeting where Lowther’s appointment was unanimously approved.

READ MORE: Joanna Streetly named Tofino’s first Poet Laureate

Osborne said the district would pen a letter to Streetly to express “our sincere appreciation for everything that she did” as the town’s first Poet Laureate.

“Life would be a very dull shade of grey if we didn’t have the kinds of contributions that we have from the writers and the authors and the people in this community who contribute so much to the way our community is so full of culture and so vibrant,” Osborne said. “I think that the establishment of the Tofino Poet Laureate program really is a singular accomplishment of a tiny little town like Tofino and it’s something we should be incredibly proud of.”

The district supports the Poet Laureate program by covering 50 per cent of the costs, offering up to $2,500 of matching funds to supplement money fundraised within the community.

READ MORE: Tofino urged to renew poet laureate program

Osborne said Streetly’s tenure covered a wide range of issues and brought “a lens to community life” in a way that council meetings and public open houses never could.

“Her poetry is a form of expression, I think, that really helps us reflect a little bit differently,” she said.

She added she is excited to see how Lowther makes her mark on the program.

“One of the best things I think I’ve read in a description about Christine, is that her poems come from the edges of polite society. So, I really look forward to seeing what Christine brings in her term,” she said.

Lowther was the unanimous choice of the Tofino Poet Laureate Working Group to succeed Streetly and her term will run from May 2020 to April 2022.

“It’s very encouraging and it’s motivating and that’s the greatest gift any writer can receive,” Lowther said.

She noted she has worked at Tofino’s public library since 2005 and has had a first row seat to a concerning lack of local poetry consumption that she hopes to reverse.

“Mostly, what I’m really hoping for is to increase the number of poetry readers in Tofino. I would like it if more people read poetry and, building on that, I would like people to read more Canadian poetry and, building on that, I would like people to read more Indigenous Canadian poetry,” she said.

“You can read a poem and have your head blown off, in a good way. And, isn’t that what we want? Don’t we want to live as many peak experiences as we can and really feel alive?”

She arrived in Tofino in 1992 to participate in the Clayoquot Sound logging blockades and found a community of not only beautiful trees to protect, but passionate people to fight alongside.

“I didn’t come here to live here. I came here to get arrested on the blockades, which I did…What keeps me here is the forest. There is extremely little undisturbed ancient temperate rainforest left anywhere.” Lowther said.

“If you stand in Tofino on the dock and you look out over the harbour and at the mountains, that view is still so rare because there’s hardly any clearcuts to be seen…If it wasn’t for the blockades, our view would be like everywhere else; greened-over clearcut and second growth.”

READ MORE: Pipeline protests spur memories of Clayoquot protests for Tofino and Ucluelet locals

She expressed gratitude for all the creative minds that helped launch the Tofino Poet Laureate program and keep it going.

“Every place should have one. Poetry should be way more a part of the fabric of this country,” she said.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

author

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on film production on central and north Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island North Film Commission. Pictured here, production of TV series Resident Alien in Ladysmith earlier this year. (Black Press file)
Film commissioner says COVID-19 cost central Island $6 million in economic activity

Jurassic World: Dominion, Chesapeake Shores among productions halted due to pandemic, says INFilm

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Vancouver Island actress finds success in a virtual world

Black Creek’s Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Stephen Laidlaw, prepator with Nanaimo Art Gallery, hangs a photograph of Anna Wong, a B.C. print maker whose works are on display at the gallery. The exhibit opens Friday, Dec. 4, and runs until Feb. 7. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores life work of overlooked B.C. printmaker

‘Anna Wong: Traveller on Two Roads’ features more than 70 art works and personal belongings

Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus released their first joint album, <em>The Invasion</em>. (Photo courtesy Raymond Knight)
Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus release first joint album

Duo plan elaborate live-streamed CD release for ‘The Invasion’

Next month Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases his solo debut album, ‘Wildlife.’ (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases solo debut album

New record ‘Wildlife’ about taking chances and going through changes

Dover Bay Secondary School student Victoria Hathfield’s poem <em>Dear Santa</em> appears in<em> Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas is in the Air</em>. (Photo courtesy Darren Lee)
Nanaimo high schooler has first poem published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

Victoria Hathfield’s ‘Dear Santa’ appears in new Christmas-themed edition of anthology series

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

Most Read