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.


june and july 2017


FRIDAY, june 9, 2017

wendy donawa &
genevieve lehr

Wendy Donawa, formerly a museum curator and academic in Barbados, now lives on the West Coast and participates in Victoria’s vibrant poetry scene. Her poems have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and online publications across Canada. She was a finalist in The Malahat Review’s 2013 Open Season Competition, and in 2015 she was runner-up in the inaugural Cedric Literary Awards. She has published three chapbooks, Sliding Towards Equinox (Rubicon Press, 2009), Those Astonishments of Sorrow, of Joy (Leaf Press, 2012) and The Gorge: A Cartography of Sorrows (Jack Pine Press, 2016). Thin Air of the Knowable is her first collection.

In Thin Air of the Knowable, the physical landscapes of Wendy Donawa’s life—West Coast, Caribbean, prairies—ground many of her poems and often reflect the inner geography of her preoccupations. A road-trip poem moves from prairie winter, “an icy scatter of gravel / the moving centre of this unpeopled world,” past a cattle liner on its way to the slaughter house, but it also passes beneath the sky’s “blazing scroll of light,” and magpies “flashing black and teal in the sun.” Landscape also functions metaphorically to suggest how historical settings play out in the exigencies of individual lives.

Born in Newfoundland, Genevieve Lehr has lived and worked as an ESL teacher coast to coast in Canada. She lives in Halifax. Her poetry has been published in many literary journals, both in Canada and abroad. She is the editor of Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook (University of Toronto Press, 1985, reprinted 2003). Lehr is the author of the chapbook The Design of Wings (Running the Goat Press, St. John’s NL, 2004), and her debut collection was The Sorrowing House (Brick Books, 2004). Stomata is her second poetry collection.

As a grief book, Stomata is remarkable for its energy and range. While it honours and remembers the lost, it is always charged with a sense of a mystic power deriving from them. “In a conversation between Homer and Hermes, loss was found to be a gift,” writes Lehr. The result is the poetic experience of a vitalistic universe in which “Metamorphosis is everywhere”: a grief-enhanced rather than a grief-stricken vision.

FRIDAY, june 16, 2017

hilary clark and steven ross smith

Clark and Smith will read from and talk about their award-winning experimental collaboration Pliny’s Knickers, created with visual artist Betsy Rosenwald and published by JackPine Press — an independent press focusing on literary and visual art collaboration.

Pliny’s Knickers enacts language as arrival and manifestation, composed as it was in the go-between, the back and forth, of an email exchange between Hilary Clark and Steven Ross Smith. In this poetic poly-logue, the authors exercise their common interest in a poetics of constraint, of resistance, of inventiveness, and in the process of homolinguistic translation. In Pliny’s Knickers they stretch poetic norms; the pull toward convention, meaning, and syntactic regularity; into inventive, surprising, and sometimes humorous configurations.


FRIDAY, june 23, 2017

catherine owen & heather spears

Catherine Owen is the author of ten collections of poetry and three of prose, including her compilation of interviews on writing called The Other 23 & a Half Hours: Or Everything You Wanted to Know that Your MFA Didn’t Teach You (Wolsak & Wynn, 2015) and her short story collection, The Day of the Dead (Caitlin Press, 2016). Her work has been nominated for awards, toured Canada eight times and appeared in anthologies, as well as translations. She has been employed by both the Locations and the Props department in TV land, plays metal bass and has two cats: Solstice and Equinox.

In Dear Ghost, Owen returns to the kooky imagery and humorous style she last visited with her award-winning collection Frenzy. These poems plumb the depths of the psyche’s surrealities, entering a dreamlike realm where meaning is found in the nonsensical, the utterly human and the everyday. Owen gathers her subjects from her daily life – touching on work, sex, acquaintances and art – and imbues them with the extraordinary quirks and uncertainties that only language can create. The effects are dizzying.

Heather Spears, Vancouver-born writer and artist, has lived in Denmark since 1962. Her books: 14 collections of poetry, five novels, and 4 books of drawings. Major awards: Governor-General’s Award andCBC Literary Award, 3x Pat LowtherAward. she received a Canada Council grant this year to complete a new collection of poetry. She has published 14 books of poetry, 5 novels, 3 books of drawings and a book about drawing. As a visual artist she instructs drawing, writes about drawing and the brain. She specializes in drawing premature infants, draws in theatres, concert halls, courtrooms, hospitals and war zones. She has held over 80 solo exhibitions in Europe and America. 

She is teaching at Metchosin this summer at MISSA, working on a collection of letters, and launchng her SF trilogy Moonfall as ebooks. Her novel The Flourish (Ekstasis) is being procduced in Scotland as a play in 2018.

friDAY, july 21, 2017

andrea mckenzie raine & suzannah showler

Andrea McKenzie Raine was born in Smithers, BC and grew up in Victoria, BC where she still resides. She has attended Planet Earth Poetry (formerly known as Mocambopo) since 1997. In 2005, she published her first book of poetry, titled A Mother’s String, through Ekstasis Editions. Her poetry has also appeared in Mocambo Nights, Canadian Literature, Quills, Borderlines (Ascent Aspirations magazine), Tempus (Rubicon Press), Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press), Tongues of Fire and several chapbooks edited by Patrick Lane (Leaf Press). Raine has also published two novels through Inkwater Press: Turnstiles is her debut novel and her second novel, A Crowded Heart, is a prequel to Turnstiles. She lives with her husband and two young sons.

A Year of Mornings is a collection of ghazals that are quiet meditations on the early moments of each day, enveloped by themes exploring relationships, seasons, daily life, writing, as well as projections of hopeful dreams. These ghazals are reflected in accompanying illustrations to enrich the experience of these thoughts and happenings.

Suzannah Showler is the author of the poetry collections Thing Is (McClelland & Stewart, 2017) and Failure to Thrive (ECW, 2014). Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared places like Slate, Buzzfeed, The Walrus, and Hazlitt. Most Dramatic Ever, a book of cultural criticism about The Bachelor, is forthcoming spring 2018. A 2017–2018 Presidential Fellow at The Ohio State University, she is currently living in British Columbia.