A new anthology featuring poets and activists paying homage to trees and expressing their love of forests was celebrated at a launch event in Tofino this weekend.
Worth More Standing was edited and curated by Tofino’s Poet Laureate Christine Lowther and published by Caitlin Press & Dagger Editions.
A second anthology titled Worth More Growing featuring young writers from Kindergarten to Grade 12 is expected to be released this fall.
Lowther told the Westerly News that the COVID-19 pandemic had her looking for a big project she could do at home and the completed work took about two years to assemble.
Lowther said she put out a call for submissions and was “overjoyed and surprised” at the whopping response she received.
“I was literally going through hundreds, upon hundreds, upon hundreds,” she said.
She added that the book’s cover was designed by Tofino artist Mark Hobson.
“It’s so beautiful,” she beamed. “It’s just gorgeous.”
Lowther divided the submissions into four sections: connection, ecology, grief, and protection, though she adamantly expressed that more needs to be done to put the latter at the forefront.
“The fact of the matter is, the smallest section was protection…I didn’t choose the sections, I formulated them from what came in. In a really awesome world, the biggest section would have ended up being protection, but unfortunately it was the smallest,” she said.
“There’s still tons of trees falling on the West Coast…That’s why I did this. I’ve loved trees ever since I could walk and I’m still fighting for them.”
Lowther became Tofino’s second-ever Poet Laureate in 2020 and she noted her tenure was marred by the coronavirus pandemic, which limited public engagement opportunities, but she enjoyed the experience immensely and “felt very supported.”
“It’s important to keep the arts alive, especially in hard times like this because we need something positive and wonderful to keep us full of hope,” she said. “Imagine life without the arts…What if you had no books to read, no art to enjoy, no music to listen to, no movies to watch, that would be life without the arts. All the towns that have Poet Laureates, I think, have some hope and some health and some beauty.”