Fisher What? FisherPoets-on-Bellingham-Bay, explained

FisherPoets-on-Bellingham-Bay borrows from the traditions of the FisherPoets Gathering, an annual celebration of the commercial fishing industry through poetry & song in Astoria, Oregon. On SeaFeast Saturday, poets with a strong relationship to the sea will fill three venues in downtown Bellingham to reveal salty stories through poetry, prose and song.

Washington State Book Award for Poetry Nominee and longtime FisherPoet, Sierra Golden, explains the tradition a bit further. This post was originally published in the Fall 2019 edition of Village Books’ Chuckanut Reader.

“About fishing, I once wrote, “I’m overwhelmed and exhausted by piling gear and shoveling fish, but I’m also too stubborn to say it, so there is nothing but surviving, day after day. I don’t think much about who I am, just wait to see who ends up on the other side of the summer.” What I love about fishing poems: they’re the inverse experience to losing one’s self in fish scales, knots, winches, tidebooks, saltwater, calluses, gales, sunrises, fogbanks, anchor chains, cast iron pans, biscuits and gravy, Xtratufs, raingear, jellyfish, and the god-given blessing of a single long hot shower. Poems mean I get to find out just who ended up on the other side of summer. Come fall, I make sense of this world and my place in it with a wily bunch of FisherPoets on stage in bookshops and bars.

And, it’s not just about the individual. There’s a real sense of community. At any FisherPoets event you can expect a warm, welcoming crowd and all kinds of poems: funny poems and sad poems, poems about good years and bad, shenanigans, rabblerousing, feminism, philosophy, and life-changing moments. We’ll mourn our losses, celebrate our victories, and pass wisdom from generation to generation. 

All in all, this makes for a great show, and so, whether you’re a fisher or not, I hope you’ll join us at SeaFeast 2019! We love telling stories, and like any bunch of performers, we love an audience that hoots, hollers, and sighs at just the right moment.“

Village Books & Paper Dreams  is a partner of Bellingham SeaFeast, and we so appreciate their support and participation in this special Bellingham evening.

Village Books & Paper Dreams is a partner of Bellingham SeaFeast, and we so appreciate their support and participation in this special Bellingham evening.

Catch Sierra and other poets on Saturday, September 21st in downtown Bellingham, Washington. More details right here and on our Facebook event here. The $10 button is available at the door of each venue and permits entry into all of Saturday evening’s performances. Seating is first come, first serve. Beer & wine for sale at each venue.

Elma Burnham