Sweet February, such a Napoleon complex! So short, yet so pack with holidays and celebrations! Its actually endearing. And in the weekend finale of the month, I’ll be packing my bags for the 20th Annual FisherPoet’s Gathering (FPG) in Astoria, Oregon. During this four day spoken word festival, fishermen/women of all ages, creeds and heritage have a platform to share their poetry and story about the life and work of a commercial fisher.
Four years ago, I had the honor of collaborating with Patrick Dixon (fisher poet and editor) and Jon Broderick (founder of the FPG) to create an anthology of fisher poetry. Â By May of 2013, I had enough of the project together to crawl myself out of Pacific Northwest College of Art with an MFA in Collaborative Design. But it wasn’t until January 2015 that the project was fully completed, resulting in seven different books differentiated by seven common themes of fisher poetry. All seven books fit neatly in a fish-like case to complete the anthology we proudly called: Anchored in Deep Water. My role in this collaboration was interviewer, cover illustrator (of which there were seven), and layout and package designer. You can find all seven cover illustrations below, with some images of the books and book case. Art prints and books are for sale at my online store.
Perhaps the most frequent tale is that of terror – the tragic loss of friends at sea, the fear of one’s own life, and how quickly ones sense of control can be turned upside down when dealing with the sea.Â
| Family and Heritage|
Many stories and poems are written about working with family, while others write about longing for family while they’re away.Â
So many commercial fishers write about their love for the work, the sea, and the fish. Despite so many reasons to pack up and quit, its always their love for fishing that brings them back, even when they hate it.Â
Today more and more women are finding their way onto boats – or outright owning their own boats – and they write of their experience often with wit and humor. About half of the poets at the gathering are, in fact, women.Â
Commercial fishing is frequently vilified in mainstream media. But many fisher poets write about being stewards of the oceans and natural resources, like their livelihoods depend on it. Because indeed it does.Â
Perhaps the best perk of the job is building among life-long friendships. Listening to poems about the camaraderie among crew will make you want to quit your job and take to the sea with – or in search of – your best friend.
Commercial fishing is rich in history, from old practices to industrial changes that have marred the industry with the very efficiency that has contributed to overfishing. These are stories and poems of the way things used to be, for better or for worse.Â
Enter Mardi Gras! Unfortunately, because I’ll be in Astoria this weekend, I’ll be missing THIS Mardi Gras inspired event in Portland, hosted by local sweethearts, Serenade. If you’re in Portland February 25th, be sure to treat yourself to a night of food and boot stompin’ music, NOLA style.Â Serenade switches up its food and music pairings each bi-monthly event, so this is your one chance to put down your fork and knife and dig your hands into a cajun crawfish boil! Â Serenade truly harnesses the art of collaboration, and I had a blast designing the place cards and menu for this month’s event.Â
Menu tastefully craftedÂ by the chefs atÂ Tournant.
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