Its Arrived! My article in Pacific Fishing! Admittedly, it was a bit weird writing an article about an event that I was a part of, but hopefully, I pulled it off OK. You be the judge!
This past summer saw fisher poets emerge in gatherings form Kenai to Olympia. We've got photos from most of them, with this in-depth report from Kenai by Jen Pickett
A summer of fishy verse
Kenai residents schooled up to hear poetry about and by those who make a living on the sea. Pat Dixon, Rich King, Meezie Hermansen, Steve Schoonmaker, and myself all trolled up rhymes and rhetoric. Toby Sullivan was on the bill but was stuck in Kodiak due to bad weather.
Pat emceed the event and also had an exhibition of his fisherman photography on display. He stared us off with a poem entitiled 1980 Marine Radio Opepator, taking us all back to those days of listening in to one-sided conversations with beeps. He says Fisher Poets "is a taste of the tapestry that we weave."
Steve busted out his guitar and sang about his reverence for the fish that fills his holds, his pockets, and his belly: "S.A.L.M.O.N...thanks again."
He started writing about what bothered him regarding the interactions between humans and nature until it evolved into writing about fishing. One year, a friend encouraged him to go to Fisher Poets in Astoria. Steve thought "Astoria? That's the big rodeo" -but then figured, "What the hey? I'll give it my eight seconds."
Rich started writing songs and poems to entertain the kids while fishing. "We just happen to have all this fodder, and Lord know plenty of funny things happen on a boat." He now hears stories and says,"When it comes from an old fisherman you love and admire, you're pert near under pressure to write about it."
Meezie, who hasn't missed a summer of fishing since she could walk, says the tradition of fisher poets is "authentic becuase it's our lifestyle." She writes because "you get slapped with enough salt water, it has to drip out."
Here's a sample from Meezie:
Whether angry or nice,
like a horrible vice,
the sea calls to those who hear,
For the ocean's roll
is part of soul
of those with a nautical ear.
Me? I like it because of the comaraderie. Fisher Poets is like coming home. Everyone is so encouraging and supportive, even when my voice cracks on stage while reciting a poem I wrote about that one time almost dying crossing the Kokenhenik Bar on the Copper River Flats.
And I thnk we all agree it's a lot like fishing, like I say in the Halibut Diaries: "I don't do it for the money, I do it, just for the halibut."
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Until next time, eat fish!
Until next time, eat fish!