‘150x39: 39 Vancouver Island poets reflect on Canada’s 150th birthday

‘150×39: 39 Vancouver Island poets reflect on Canada’s 150th birthday

Nanaimo poet laureate Tina Biello launches new poetry anthology

Nanaimo poet laureate Tina Biello has wrangled together 39 poets from all over Vancouver Island for a new collection of work reflecting upon Canada’s sesquicentennial.

The book, 150×39: A Poetry Anthology, was done in collaboration with the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library with the sum of poets meant to represent each branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library system.

“For any writer it’s amazing to see your poem or your work in print, I know it was for me when I first was published, so I thought it would be a great opportunity for poets, too,” Biello said of the project.

“We had a lot of submissions … we had to really sit down and choose. It was hard. It was really hard. It speaks to how people are really engaged in poetry, which I was so excited about.”

Librarian Jonathon Bigelow said he and Biello received more than 120 poems after the plan for the anthology was first announced in the summer. The pieces were judged on content, form, punctuation and formatting. Biello said “people really responded” to the concept.

“People had a lot to say about Canada 150 and their feelings and thoughts about it,” she said.

“It was everything from immigration stories, people first coming to Canada, to what this area means to them. All sorts of different ways of expressing that, which was very cool.”

The anthology, which was created using the library’s bookbinding machine, was unveiled at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library on Dec. 2. The launch drew a crowd of about 60 people who listened as some of the poets featured in the anthology read their work aloud. Biello said she didn’t know what to expect but was pleased by the turnout.

The writers ranged in age from children to seniors and Biello said the Island’s geography was well represented. The open submission process resulted in writers of various levels of experience submitting their work, which is just what Biello wanted.

“It was a callout for anyone who has a love and interest in poetry. You don’t have to be published or a prolific writer as long as you’re writing poetry,” she said.

Biello’s three-year term as poet laureate of Nanaimo began in January and this year she has participated in readings and events and last month she was one of six poet laureates from across Canada invited to attend the Governor General’s Literary Awards in Ottawa.

This month she started a poetry reading series at the Harbourfront Library, which will see local poets share their work every two months. The first reading was on Dec. 16 and the next one is scheduled for Feb. 17 and will feature Linda Thompson and Ursula Vaira.

“I really love it,” Biello said of her role as poet laureate.

“It’s been really a lot of fun.”

The library is currently in the process of adding copies of the anthology to its shelves.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Conservation officers transported the bear to a wildlife veterinarian in Nanaimo for examination

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

RCMP outside the Nanaimo Ice Centre investigating a report of a suspicious person. The incident resulted in hold-and-secures at two nearby schools, but those emergency procedures have now been lifted. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: Police response a result of man walking around Nanaimo marsh with airsoft rifle

Two schools had gone into hold-and-secure procedures Thursday morning, May 13

Pixabay
Island Health announces two doctors, new clinic space for Port McNeill

Island Health has leased space to use as an immediate clinic location to avert health crisis

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Saanich police and a coroner investigated a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal Greater Victoria crash

Driver who died veered across centre line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Island Health’s new Wellness and Recovery Centre at 5878 York Rd. is now planned to be open in the fall. (File photo)
Controversial Cowichan Wellness and Recovery Centre will now open in the fall

Three community dialogues scheduled for May and an advisory committee coming

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Most Read