The Planet Earth Poetry reading series is a launching pad for the energies of writers and poets established and not. It is a place where words are most important. A venue in which all manner of poets and writers are welcome; a place for excellence, innovation, collaboration, diverse projects and experiments. The evening begins at 7:30 with an open mic, followed by a featured reader(s). Planet Earth Poetry is located at Hillside Coffee and Tea, 1633 Hillside Ave (across from Bolen Books). Between 7 and 7:15, put your name in the hat to read at open mic.

WT PEP Prequel banner V2.jpg

friday, February 2, 2018, is a prequel for WordsThaw 2018.

Join us as we partner with The Malahat Review to welcome Lisa Bird-Wilson and Christine Lowther. See you at Hillside!

february 2018

Christine Lowther’s  Born Out of This

Christine Lowther’s Born Out of This

FRIDAY, february 2, 2018

wordsthaw prequel with lisa bird-wilson & christine lowther

Christine Lowther is the author of three poetry collections: New Power (Broken Jaw Press), My Nature (Leaf Press), and Half-Blood Poems (Zossima Press). She is co-editor and co-author of two anthologies of nonfiction; her memoir, Born Out of This, was published by Caitlin Press in 2014 and shortlisted for a BC Book Prize. Christine has had poems in Refugium: Poems for the Pacific, Force Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia, subTerrain, Poetry is Dead, Lake, Quills, Other Voices, The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead and The Malahat Review. She won the creative non-fiction category of the Federation of British Columbia Writers 2016 contest, Literary Writes, and the inaugural Rainy Coast Arts Award for Significant Accomplishment in 2014. Co-editor of two nonfiction anthologies, she happily contributes to other editors’ projects now!

Chris lives in a floating cabin in Clayoquot Sound.

Lisa Bird-Wilson’s  The Red Files

Lisa Bird-Wilson’s The Red Files

Lisa Bird-Wilson is a Saskatchewan Métis and nêhiyaw writer whose fiction book, Just Pretending (Coteau Books 2013), was a finalist for the national Danuta Gleed Literary Award and won four Saskatchewan Book Awards, including 2014 Book of the Year. Bird-Wilson’s debut poetry collection, The Red Files (Nightwood Editions 2016), is inspired by family and archival sources and reflects on the legacy of the residential school system and the fragmentation of families and histories. Bird-Wilson lives in Saskatoon with her family of seven children, one spouse. She works at the Gabriel Dumont Institute.

FRIDAY, february 9, 2018

arleen paré &
laura apol

A master of the mixed-genre book, Arleen Paré is both a novelist and a poet. Her first book, Paper Trail, won the Victoria Butler Book Prize. Leaving Now, her second, was listed as an All Lit Up top ten book. Her third, a collection of poetry entitled Lake of Two Mountains, tells the story of a lake and the many relationships built up around it. The book won both a Governor General’s Literary Award and a CBC Bookie Prize. He Leaves His Face in the Funeral Car, 2015, was a finalist for the Victoria Butler Book Prize. Pare's most recent poetry collection, The Girls with Stone Faces, describes the lives and art of two well-known twentieth-century sculptors, Florence Wyle and Frances Loring. Paré, who lives and writes in Victoria, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from the University of Victoria.

Laura Apol

Laura Apol

Laura Apol teaches creative writing and literature at Michigan State University. For more than twenty years, she has led workshops for writers of all skill levels in local, national and international contexts.  Her poetry has appeared in a number of literary journals and anthologies, and she is the author of several award-winning collections: Falling into Grace; Crossing the Ladder of Sun; Requiem, Rwanda (drawn from her work using writing to facilitate healing among survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, and translated into Kinyarwanda under the title Even the Rain Remembers); and Celestial Bodies (published here in BC by Leaf Press).  Her newest collections, With a Gift for Burning, and Nothing but the Blood, will be coming out in 2018.  She is currently working on a book with the working title Fierce, based on the loss of her daughter, Hanna, who died in April 2017. Laura considers Michigan to be part of Southern Canada, which makes her Canadian in spirit if not in citizenship.


Richard Harrison's collection

Richard Harrison's collection

FRIDAY, february 16, 2018

richard harrison & jude neale

Richard Harrison has eight titles to his name, among them Hero of the Play, poems in the language of hockey, and Secret Identity Reader, Essays on Sex, Death, and the Superhero. He teaches Comics and Graphic Novels as well as English and Creative Writing at Calgary’s Mount Royal University.

Richard Harrison’s latest is a book of elegies and witness; of poetry about poetry, and poetry about luck and love. Here, Richard recalls his father and father-in-law. Poems become characters; the Alberta Flood shapes the book as it did the landscape. And the book celebrates love’s power to unite the living with each other and reunite us with the dead. On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood won the 2017 Stephan G. Stephansson and Governor-General’s Awards for Poetry.

Jude Neale is a Canadian poet, vocalist, spoken word performer and mentor. She publishes frequently in journals, anthologies, and e-zines. She was shortlisted, highly commended and finalist for many international competitions including: The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize (Ireland), The International Poetic Republic Poetry Prize (U.K), The Mary Chalmers Smith Poetry Prize (UK), The Wenlock International Poetry Competition (UK) and the Carers International Poetry Prize (UK).

Jude has written six books. Her forthcoming book, A Blooming, will be published in London the summer of 2018.

Her book, A Quiet Coming of Light, A Poetic Memoir (leaf press), was a finalist for the 2015 Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Five of its poems were shortlisted for The Magpie Award, judged by George McWhirter, Vancouver's first Poet Laureate and three of its poems were nominated for the coveted Pushcart Prize (US) by three different publishers.

One of Jude’s poems from her recent book, Splendid in its Silence, was chosen by Britain's Poet Laureate to ride with other winners around the Channel Islands on public transit for a year. Jude was a featured reader at the Guernsey International Literary festival.


Renée Saklikar

Renée Saklikar

FRIDAY, february 23, 2018

renée saklikar & Garry Gottfriedson

Renée Sarojini Saklikar is Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey, BC. Trained as a lawyer at the University of British Columbia, with a degree in English Literature, Renée is an award-winning poet, currently teaching creative writing for Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Community College. Renée’s first book, children of air india, (Nightwood Editions, 2013) won the 2014 Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry and her second book, with Wayde Compton, The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them (Anvil Press/SFU Public Square, 2015) was a finalist for a 2016 City of Vancouver Book Award. Fascinated by artistic collaboration, Renée’s work has been made into opera and song cycles (air india [redacted], Turning Point Ensemble, 2015) and visual art (Chris Turnbull, see thecanadaproject on wordpress featuring Renée’s poetry).

Renée collects poems about bees which will appear in spring 2018 from Nightwood Editions. She is also working on an epic sci-fi journey poem, THOT-J-BAP.

Garry Gottfriedson’s  Skin Like Mine

Garry Gottfriedson’s Skin Like Mine

Garry Gottfriedson is from Kamloops, BC. He was born into a rodeo/ranching family. He is an avid horseman, and is strongly rooted in his Secwepemc (Shuswap) cultural teachings. He holds a Masters of Arts Education Degree from Simon Fraser University. In 1987, the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado awarded a Creative Writing Scholarship to Gottfriedson.  There, he studied under Allen Ginsberg, Marianne Faithful and others.  Gottfriedson has 10 published books. He has read from his work across Canada, United States, Europe, and Asia. His work has been anthologized and published nationally and internationally.

Skin Like Mine presents a suite of poems that peel away the skin of contemporary First Nations society to reveal an inside view of individual experience.  Gottfriedson speaks of “minds full of anticipation” yet with “tongues pointing arrowheads.” He finds that both individuals and bands end in “tangles” that they write nonsense words in the sand” or exploit images painted on rocks, those “the postmodern Indian calls/visual poetic expression.” As the collection continues, however, his love the land emerges.