Two Okanagan poets with an interest in the intersection between the arts and environmental awareness will read from their poems and speak about their work at Oxygen Art Centre this coming Friday, January 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Authors and University of BC Okanagan instructors Sharon Thesen and Nancy Homes co-edited the UBCO magazine Lake: A Journal of Arts and Environment from its inception in 2006 until the magazine suspended its print version in 2012.
Thesen has published eight books of poems, including most recently Oyama Pink Shale. Three of her titles have been finalists for the Governor-General’s Literary Award.
“Our ability to place ‘environment’ outside ourselves has allowed us to think we can somehow hide it or put it away and have it occur somewhere else,” Thesen said. “I suppose what poetry can do is put life back together as a whole, to override the taken-for-granted categories of perception, thought, feeling and language.
“I’ve always maintained that poetry is essentially an ecological way of thinking, and that it can do that without even mentioning the oil sands or a woodpecker or anything ‘environmental’ at all.”
Holmes has published five collections of poetry, most recently The Flicker Tree: Okanagan Poems. She edited the anthology Open Wide a Wilderness: Canadian Nature Poems, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2009. She also organizes eco art projects in the Okanagan, and is associate dean of research and graduate studies in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBCO.
The poets’ appearance at Oxygen Art Centre is free ($5 donation appriciated) and open to the public, as part of Oxygen’s Presentation Series, supported by the Columbia Basin Trust and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance.
Oxygen is an artist-run centre located at 320 Vernon Street (alley entrance).