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FisherPoets Gather for Poems, Stories and Songs

MORE at: clatsopcc.edu/community/fisherpoets-gathering.  Includes FPG “At A Glance.”

FisherPoets Gathering 2012 the 15th annual Gathering in Astoria OR, is expecting about 80 commercial fishing and maritime industry people from several states and British Columbia to bring their original poems, stories, songs and insights to Astoria.  Along with several local musicians who also have strong fishing-industry ties, they will present their readings and music at the weekend program, February 24 to 26.

The FisherPoets Gathering has been an annual event in Astoria in the last weekend of February since 1998.

“Fisher Poetry” comes from experiences living and working in the industry, and ranges in writing style from fast-moving rhyming couplets to crafted free verse or literary prose, and includes poems, songs, short stories, personal memoirs and essays, and art.  The mood can be funny, emotive, matter-of-fact or any combination.   The weekend also includes films and talks on fishing issues and culture.

Six downtown Astoria venues donate space for the Friday and Saturday evening programs of readings and music, along with a seventh hosting a later-evening open mike, so a good number of fans can comfortably join the lively ambiance of the event as audience, said Florence Sage of Astoria, a long-term FPG producer.   Audience comes from the local area, the northwest region, and points around the country to hear these original writings and oral accounts based on the hard-working vocation of commercial fishing and making a living at sea. Also, KMUN-FM broadcasts locally from Astoria Event Center at 91.9-FM, 6 to 10 p.m. both evenings, and streams live on the web at coastradio.org.

“Every venue will have a really program going on,” Sage said, “so you can move from place to place, or just take your pick and stay for the evening.  “We’re expecting more than 1,000 over the weekend, as usual, but we have lots of room.  People can get a weekend button ($15) from 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Gear Shack and at all doors to enjoy all events and all venues, or a $5 single-entry cover at doors to stay at any one event.

Reading and music venues Friday and Saturday evenings are: the Baked Alaska restaurant (foot of 12th Street), Astoria Event Center (9th & Commercial), Clemente’s (12th and Commercial), the VooDoo Room at the Columbian Theater (11th & Marine Dr.), the Wet Dog Cafe (foot of 11th St.) and the Fort George Brewery & Public House showroom 14th & Duane).

Clemente’s has a special program about Bristol Bay on Saturday evening, and hosts an early-arrivers’ Readers Mike Thursday Feb. 23 from 8 p.m., no button required.  A seventh venue hosts the popular Fishermen’s Open Mike for poems, stories and songs, with priority to commercial fishing people and to related topics.  This special mike is at KALA, the intimate performance room of fishing-friendly HIPFiSHmonthly at 1017 Marine Drive.  The VooDoo Room at Columbian Theater hosts late-night music.

Evening venues all have food and drink service.  Minors are permitted in Baked Alaska and KALA all evening, not in VooDoo Room, and other venues until 9 or 10 p.m., as noted on the FPG website.
Event headquarters is the FPG store, “the Gear Shack,” at the 14th Street Pilot station, foot of 14th St. The Gear Shack stocks FPG buttons, performers’ books, CDs, DVDs, and FPG gear for sale, acts as an information center, and also houses the Silent Auction.  Gear Shack hours are 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday.  Auction viewing is from 1 p.m. Saturday, bidding hours Saturday 4 to 8 p.m.

Documentary films “Coming Home Was Easy” and “Red Gold” run both afternoons at the Columbian Theater, 4 to 5:30 p.m.  Four Saturday morning workshops on commercial fishing issues and history are at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, foot of 17th Street.  Two creative workshops are at Baked Alaska restaurant.  Workshops run 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. They include a first-hand report on effects of Japan’s 2011 tidal wave on the Japanese fishing industry, photos and recollections from the sailboat days of the Bristol Bay fishery, a workshop on polishing stage performance, and three others.

The Gathering has been given substantial and sustaining support every year by Clatsop Community College, along with contributions of services, goods and panel members from local and regional organizations and businesses, as noted in the annual program and on the website.  Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce assists with national and regional media contact.  Fisherpoets come to the Gathering as volunteers.

More information is at: clatsopcc.edu/community/fisherpoets-gathering, or by calling Marti Wajc at 503-738-8256.

Please direct inquiries to: Florence Sage, 503-325-4972, fsage@clatsopcc.edu.

Clatsop Community College is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution.

One Response

  1. Jerry Flavel

    what a colossal bore

    May 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm