photo credit: Joy Dube'
This is West Coast poet and author, Joanna Streetly, leaning against her floathouse in the Tofino harbour. Her faithful dog, Schooner, is seen contemplating life behind her. I wish I was able to put the wild beauty of Clayoquot Sound into words the way Joanna does. Joanna recently read this poem to Tofino Council on the night it was announced that she is now officially Tofino's very first Poet Laureate. You can see from her writing why she will be a perfect fit for this position. Our village is thrilled. We live in anticipation of literary events to come.
Joanna's nonfiction book Wild Fierce Life: Dangerous Moments on the Outer Coast has just been released, to acclaim, by Caitlin Press. It debuted on the B.C. Bestseller List. I read nonfiction almost exclusively, and I have to say Joanna's book is my favourite of them all. She writes about fifteen experiences she lived during her years here on the Coast and, while one reads, one lives and breathes her amazing wild fierce life right along with her. I did not want the book to end. It is one to savour again and again.
Joanna grew up in Trinidad and Tobago. She had an interesting and exciting childhood with an artist mother, a mountaineering father, and four siblings, then was schooled in England. She says, "My first serious poem woke me at two a.m. when I was fifteen." Joanna arrived on the West Coast at nineteen and, as happens with many of us, fell in love with the wild beauty here and never left. She is a long-time member of the Clayoquot Writers Group, and was co-editor of the literary magazine The Sound in the 1990's. Joanna is also a wonderful artist. Her illustrations can be enjoyed throughout Wild Fierce Life.
The Mystery Yoohoo Raven
copyright Joanna Streetly
She has had several books published. Her bibliography can be found here. Joanna's life is lived on water: on her floathouse, where, she says, "the adventure continues", and on kayak trips through the Sound every chance she gets. She works at the small local hospital, freelances in writing and editing, and volunteers as an art teacher at the local school. She is the West Coast rep of the Federation of B.C. Writers. And now she is Tofino's first Poet Laureate, a position for which she is infinitely worthy!
If you wish to know more about this amazingly talented young woman, her website can be found at the littoral zone. (The littoral zone is where land meets water.)
Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.
Wow! Yes Joanna is worthy indeed. How I loved this poem as is was so earthy (well sandy and salty really) and I felt I had the spume of the waves in my face as I read it. Yes, I certaining wished I had written that!ReplyDelete
Me, too, Old Egg. Joanna writes the West Coast the way i feel, but cant put into words as well as she does. I am so glad you enjoyed this.ReplyDelete
Well actually ducks you do...even better. When you write a good one there is none better . Sorry about being the spanner in the works... you should be the Poet Laureate.Delete
Wow, that is high praise, Rall. Thank you. It especially reassures me, as writing is not flowing well these days. But i persevere.........a poet laureate needs a lot of energy, which i am lacking these days. Anyway, i thank you for your very kind words. I appreciate them.Delete
What a poem Sherry and I must check out more of her work...thanks for sharing Joanna with us!ReplyDelete
This poem is superb! Thank you Sherry for sharing it and Joanna's talent with us. She definitely knows how to put her wildness into words. Humbly, i wish I could write even a little bit like her.ReplyDelete
good pick Sherry... I always had a hankering to live in a float house they always fascinated me...ReplyDelete
I have always wanted to live in a floathouse too! I am happy you are enjoying this feature, my friends!Delete
This is a wonderful article, Sherry. I am so glad that you have shared poetry of Tofino's poet laureate. She seems an excellent choice! And multi-talented, writing poetry and non-fiction and also being an artist. I love the picture of her on her floathouse. That definitely would be the way to live in summer! Thanks, Sherry, for this feature!ReplyDelete
Fabulous! Thank you for sharing poet and poem, Sherry.ReplyDelete
It is truly my pleasure, my friends.ReplyDelete
What an amazing poem – and poet. I love wild beauty best of all myself, including those 'wave-flung trees'. By imagining herself into them so deeply and vividly, I'd say she's well worthy! And oh wow, that wonderful raven picture – what a talented person! And how lucky we are that you have helped us make her acquaintance.ReplyDelete
I knew you'd love her, Rosemary. I have another Tofino poet coming up next month. I live in a village of very talented people. I love it!ReplyDelete
I love the great feelings Joanna has poured into every word she has written. Such an amazing person! Thank you for this introduction Sherry. just Wow!ReplyDelete
Wow! You are in good company in Tofino writers!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful poem and narrative ... something so 'authentic' and 'earthy' comes through - primal and stirring. I can certainly see why you chose to highlight the work of this fascinating writer. Thanks for this, Sherry.ReplyDelete
Tofino sounds like a good place to be in. :)ReplyDelete
thanks for this feature, Sherry.