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2010 is 13th Annual Fisher Poets Gathering

Submitted Press Release

2010 is 13th Annual Fisher Poets Gathering
Media Release & Website Overview

The Fisher Poets Gathering
Feb. 26 to 28, 2010
Astoria OR

Media Contact: Florence Sage

Dated: February 7, 2010

Detailed program and updates are posted on the website during February as they become available: A developing list of 2010 FPG participants is available on the website under "Schedule."

The Fisher Poets Gathering (FPG) is expecting about 70 fishing and maritime industry people from several states and British Columbia, and even a guest from Japan, to bring their original poems, stories and songs to Astoria.  This year's event is on February 26, 27 and 28. Along with several local music groups who also have strong fishing-industry ties, they will present their readings and music at this 13th annual weekend program.

"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, along with art.

Four downtown Astoria venues offer reading space, room for lots of fans to join the lively ambiance of the event as audience, said Florence Sage of Astoria, a long-term FPG producer: “We programmed four venues for this event, because we had more readers than ever.” Audience comes from the local area, northwest region, and points around the country to hear these original writings and oral accounts based on the hard-working vocation of fishing and making a living at sea.

A new Readers Welcome Mike opens the event Thursday from 8 p.m. to closing at Clemente’s restaurant at 12th & Commercial, following a presenters’ no-host dinner at the Event Center.

Reading and music venues for the Friday and Saturday evening program beginning at 5:30 p.m. are: the Baked Alaska restaurant (foot of 12th Street), Astoria Event Center (9th and Commercial), the Wet Dog Cafe (foot of 11th St.), and the VooDoo Room at the Columbian Theater (11th and Marine Dr.). The popular "VooDoo Mike," a hosted open mike, is in the intimate VooDoo Room Friday and Saturday afternoons, 4 to 5 p.m. The VooDoo Room also hosts late-night music both nights. Documentaries of fishing-industry issues are planned at the Columbian Theater both days from 3:45 to 5 p.m.  Evening reading venues all have food and drink service. Minors are permitted in Astoria Event Center and Wet Dog Café until 9 p.m., and in Baked Alaska all evening. All venues are donated.

"We have even more than our usual abundance of talent," Sage said, “which we could only accommodate by expanding our programmed venues to four.”

Dozens of this year's fisher poets have appeared at the Gathering over all or most of its years, including local favorites, event founder Jon Broderick of Cannon Beach OR, Jay Speakman of Gearhart OR, Dave Densmore and Hobe Kytr of Astoria OR. Audience favorite Geno Leech of Chinook WA returns this year. This year readers and musicians gather again from cities and also remote towns in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Maryland, Rhode Island, Arkansas and Florida, with a guest from Japan. Some are retired from the industry, but most are active, either fishing their local waters or traveling seasonally to fishing areas in Alaska. They are joined at the Gathering by a few invited readers from other maritime and worker industries. All FPG presenters come as volunteers.

A new FPG weekend invitational art show at Pier 39’s Coffee Girl opens with a reception Friday from 3 to 5 p.m., and features three Fisher Poets’ work: Pat Dixon’s photos, Jon Campbell’s paintings and Cary Jones’ metal sculptures. RiverSea Gallery shows Chris Miller’s photos documenting 2008 and 2009 Bristol Bay fishing seasons, with a reception Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

A showing at the Columbian Theater of films on fishing-related issues is Friday from approximately 3:30 to 5 p.m., repeating Saturday at the same time. These include The Truth, a documentary on East Coast fishing regulation from the fishermen’s point of view; El Cerco (The Fence): Tuna fishing the rough old fashioned way in Spain, a short film shown at the International Film Festival in Seattle; also Salmon’s Kin, a short of underwater photography of salmon with poems by Joanna Reichhold of Arcata CA.

Saturday morning's workshops run from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Columbia River Maritime Museum (CRMM) at the foot of 17th St, and Baked Alaska restaurant at the foot of 12th St. Planned workshop choices include: at CRMM, Ocean Acidification; the Oregon Ballot Initiative on Columbia River Fishing; New Graphic Art from Ray Troll, and the hands-on Fundamentals of Knots and Lines; at Baked Alaska, song writing and poetry writing. Also on Saturday morning, "Dangerous Dave" Densmore's fishing boat, the Cold Stream, moored at Pier 39, foot of 39th St., is open for visits from 9 a.m. to noon, former cannery Pier 39 is open for a self-guided tour, and pre-workshop breakfasts are available at Pier 39's Coffee Girl cafe and at Baked Alaska restaurant.

The very popular afternoon Story Circle of adventures from the memories of "old hands" – fishermen and mariners – is at the Astoria Event Center Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. This features long-timers telling unwritten tales of their unforgettable moments at sea.

A brief live auction runs onsite between sets at two locations during the evening programs, featuring certificates for special area lodgings and restaurants, fishing trips and similar services.

The Onsite Poem Contest at the Event Center closes the Saturday evening readings. The year’s poem challenge is given by the MC’s on Friday evening, and listeners may produce a poem to read live late Saturday evening, competing to be audience favorite.

FPG events come to a close in Astoria Sunday with a 9:30 a.m. informal Gospel Sing at the Astoria Event Center, followed at 10 a.m. by the Readers' Farewell Mike. Breakfast is available. A Sunday 3 p.m. invited reading by several poets at Cannon Beach Arts Association gallery completes the Gathering.

Event buttons are available Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. through both evenings at the Columbian Theater box office; during the Saturday morning workshops at the Maritime Museum and Baked Alaska; Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning during the events at the Astoria Event Center.

Buttons are available for a $10 donation for the weekend. Enamel patron pins for $30 also help support the gathering. There is no other entry donation for FPG. Last reading at Cannon Beach Arts Association gallery Sunday afternoon does not require a button. An FPG store, the Gear Shack, at 1055 Marine Drive, stocks FPG performers' books, CDs, DVDs, and FPG gear. Gear Shack hours are expected to be 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday. All donations from buttons, patron pins, CDs, books, gear, other memorabilia and grants support on-site audio costs and small travel stipends for readers and musicians. Several businesses and groups have donated additional “Readerships, and one local airline “Ridership.””

The Fisher Poets Gathering has been an annual event in Astoria in the last weekend of February since 1998. The Gathering has been given substantial 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 website. But otherwise it is a community venture put together by a small committee of volunteers. The 2010 production committee consists of: Jon and Doreen Broderick of Cannon Beach, Hobe Kytr and Florence Sage of Astoria, and Jay Speakman of Gearhart OR. Venues are donated for the event. Major grantors have included Cannon Beach Arts Association and the Patricia Freeland Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. Local volunteers help with buttons, book and gear sales, and Fisher Poets contribute talent and assistance.

This popular event has grown in audience and fame over the years. It has been designated a Library of Congress Local Legacies project, and been the subject of many local, regional and national news articles and productions, including Oregon Art Beat, NBC's Today Show, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Smithsonian magazine. It is the subject of a documentary filmed over several years of the Gathering called "Fisher Poets," which has been shown by invitation at several film festivals, and individual Fisher Poets are often invited to read at other regional and national events.

KMUN-FM broadcasts the Friday and Saturday evening program from one of the venues, this year from the Astoria Event Center. This includes "streaming live" over the web at: KMUN also recorded and produced a CD of the 2008 evening program from the Wet Dog Cafe as a fundraiser for FPG, available at the FPG Gear Shack and from the website.

Information about Astoria area lodging is provided by the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce: 503-325-6311, The Chamber is also available to assist visitors without web access.

The detailed program and updates are posted on the website during February as the volunteer performers’ and workshop leaders’ commitments are confirmed and details become available:

Page Last Modified: July 1, 2010 [AG] .
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