Friday, February 15, 2013

16th Annual Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon

Next weekend, February 22-24, 2013 is the 16th Annual Fisher Poets Gathering!  The gathering is an annual event where men and women tied to the commercial fishing industry get together and share tales, song, stories, and poems in celebration of making a living on the sea.  The event takes place every year, the last weekend in February in the coastal town of Astoria, Oregon which is a fishing town rich in maritime history.

Astoria's water front photo by Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian

Fisher Poets Gathering was founded by fisherman and poet Jon Broderick in 1998 and began with a few folks meeting in a pub sharing stories and sea shanties.  Sixteen years later, FPs are still meeting in a pub, or more accurately, pubs but has expanded to about 70 poets from 11 different states coast to coast, including one token cowboy from Arkansas.  Slinging songs and spouting poetry happens at the Wet Dog, Voodoo Room, Clemente's, Baked Alaska, KALA Gallery, Fort George Brewery and the Astoria Event Center.  KMUN, the local radio station covers FPs from 6:00-10:00 pm (Pacific Time) both Friday and Saturday night.  Tune in to 91.9 FM or stream on the web at:  

Jon Broderick photo by Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian

During the day you can choose from having coffee with fisher poet Dave Densmore on board his boat, to workshops on creative writing, photography, to political discussions on ocean acidification or the threat of Pebble Mine, to listening to stories of the one that got away. You can even buy FPs memorabilia or your favorite poet's book or CDs at the gearshack.  More information along with this year's schedule can be found at the Fisher Poets website: Fisher Poets.

Dave Densmore photo by Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian

Fisher poet and photographer Pat Dixon has done a whiz bang job over the years capturing us FPs with his camera.  His collection is called In the Tote.  Just click the link to see snap shots of us on stage along with some of our writings.

2012 Fisher Poets photo by Pat Dixon

There are some great reads out now covering the event. Check back, I'll post more as the come in this weekend.  Last year a few of us were interviewed for  Oregon Art Watch Astoria Fisher Poets Festival The NY Times did a piece a few years ago : For a Weekend, Fishermen Measure Haul in Verse.  The most recent is a wonderful photo essay from last year's FPs that came out last week on line at Portland's own The Oregonian:  And here is the follow up stories along with those photos: Salty Poets of the Sea.

Jen Pickett photo by Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian

As some of you may know, this will be my 3rd year performing at Fisher Poets and I can't wait!  Its such a special time for me to hear some great stories and to see all my fishing buddies again.  I'm all abuzz polishing up my Xtra-Tufs, rehearsing my lines and practicing my stories without any curse words, which is hard for a fisherman like myself.  Speaking of, I'd better get back to it!

My cleanest fishing boots photo by Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian

See you in Astoria!

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