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.


october 2016       

FRIDAY, october 7, 2016

naomi beth wakan & karen shlanka

Karen Shklanka is a poet, family physician and an Argentine Tango dancer. Her first book of poetry, Sumac’s Red Arms, published by Coteau Books in 2009, was nominated for a ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year award. Her poetry has been included in the Planet Earth Poetry Anthology and the 2004 chapbook anthology, Letters We Never Sent, edited by Patrick Lane. She has been published in numerous other literary periodicals, most recently in CV2 and Room.

From her real-life experience as a doctor trying her best to heal patients, to wartime Japan and the devastation of Hiroshima, Shklanka’s poems beg us to witness and explore our own humanity: how we interact with one another, carry on in everyday life, love, grieve.

Bent Arm for a Pillow contains new and selected poetry by Naomi Beth Wakan. The selected include some of her most reproduced poems, the new poems include a few written in her position as inaugural Poet Laureate of Nanaimo. Of this book, George Swede wrote—“Wakan’s poems, whether long or short, are personal, accessible and immediate. Someone who normally doesn’t read poetry will be drawn in and someone who does will appreciate the hidden complexity of her style. Both kinds of readers will recall her singular voice long after.”

Naomi Beth Wakan is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Nanaimo and the inaugural Honorary Ambassador for the BC Federation of Writers. She has written over fifty books of poetry and personal essays.


sue sinclair & dean steadman

Dean Steadman’s work has been published in Canadian journals and e-zines, as well as in the anthology Pith & Wry: Canadian Poetry, edited by Susan McMaster (Scrivener Press, 2010). He is the author of two chapbooks: Portrait w/tulips (Leaf Editions, 2013), and Worm's Saving Day (AngelHousePress, 2015). He was a finalist in the 2011 Ottawa Book Awards for his poetry collection, their blue drowning (Frog Hollow Press, 2010). His second poetry collection, Après Satie—For Two and Four Hands, was published by Brick Books in the spring of 2016.

Sue Sinclair’s most recent collection.

Sue Sinclair’s most recent collection.

Heaven’s Thieves is a collection engaged with the big questions—What are bodies for? What does it mean to be alive? What is beauty and why does it have such power over us? What is the point of art?—and the urgent ones—how to live in a shattered ecology, what to do about grief, illness, betrayal. Sinclair turns her attention to these questions with fearless curiosity, economy, and an originality born of her willingness to pursue her own line of inquiry to its limit. 

Sue’s latest collection of poems is Heaven’s Thieves from Brick Brook (2016). Her previous collections have been nominated for a variety of national and regional awards. Sue has a PhD in philosophy and teaches creative writing at the University of New Brunswick.


richard osler & susan mcaslin

The poems of Hyaena Season share the intimacies of the killing grounds of Italy in World War II, Rwanda and DR Congo, to more domestic Canadian settings. But regardless of the poetic themes , the book’s focus is intensely personal as the poems grapple with the tensions between the darker undercurrents and tender epiphanies that make up human experience. As Anne Simpson says about the book: This is what a book should do: turn us around inside our own skin.

Richard Osler, 65, publishes his poetry in the US and Canada and works as a poetry therapist at an addiction recovery center near Duncan, BC. Visit his website at

Susan McCaslin has published fourteen volumes of poetry. Her most recent is Painter, Poet, Mountain: After Cézanne (Quattro Books in Oct. 2016). Previous volumes include The Disarmed Heart (The St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2014) and Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2011).  The latter was short-listed for the BC Book Prize (Dorothy Livesay Award) and the first-place winner of the Alberta Book Publishing Award (Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award) in 2012. Susan has also published a memoir, Into the Mystic: My Years with Olga (Inanna Publications, 2014). She currently lives between Victoria and Fort Langley, BC, where she initiated the Han Shan Poetry Project as part of a successful campaign to protect an endangered rainforest along the Fraser River. 


allan briesmaster & clara blackwood

Allan Briesmaster is a poet, publisher and freelance editor. His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, and he has given readings and talks

and led workshops in venues across Canada. His most recent books are Against the Flight of Spring (2013) and River Neither (2015).


Clara Blackwood is a poet and visual artist from Toronto. Her first book of poetry, Subway Medusa (2007), was the inaugural book in Guernica Editions' First Poets Series. Her second book, Forecast, was published by Guernica in 2014. Her work has appeared in Canadian and International journals. She is currently at work on a third collection of poems.