A celebration of the commercial fishing industry in poetry, prose and song, the FisherPoets Gathering has attracted fisherpoets and their many fans to Astoria, Oregon the last weekend of February since 1998.
Originally conceived as a modest cultural reunion for far-flung friends in the commercial fishing fleet, the FisherPoets Gathering now attracts nearly a hundred poets, songwriters and storytellers from both the west and east coasts’ commercial fishing communities. They gather in Astoria’s pubs, restaurants and galleries to read for each other and for the hundreds of fisherpoetry fans who come to hear the authentic, creative voices of deckhands and skippers, cannery workers and shipwrights, young greenhorns and old timers, strong women and good-looking men.
The FisherPoets Gathering has been featured in media both national and international from the NY Times, Smithsonian magazine, the Wall Street Journal, NBC to the BBC and others. The U.S. Library of Congress has recognized the FisherPoets Gathering as a “Local Legacy” project and the event has spawned a genre, “fisherpoetry,” that fans of occupational poetry might hear in towns like Kodiak, AK, New Bedford, MA, Port Townsend, WA and Camden, ME.
Fisherpoets perform music, poetry and prose Friday and Saturday evenings between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. at Astoria venues that include the Astoria Brewing Co. (formerly the Wet Dog Café), the Voodoo Room, the Ten-Fifteen Theater, Fort George Brewery’s Lovell Showroom, the Columbian Theater, KALA performance gallery and the Liberty Theatre.
In addition, the Gathering includes workshops Friday afternoon and Saturday at the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Barbey Maritime Center, Clatsop Community College’s re-modeled Patriot Hall, Studio 11 and at Pier 39 on subjects as varied as fish print making, fishing methods old and new, perfecting writing and performing, protecting Bristol Bay’s watershed, exploring shipwrecks, and practicing knot tying and line splicing and more. Lots more. Later Saturday afternoon fisherpoets offer fans and each other their colorful oral histories at the popular Story Circle.
Look also for singing circles and open-mics at WineKraft and visual art by fisherpoets at galleries in town.
Coast Community Radio KMUN broadcasts fisherpoetry live both nights from the Liberty Theatre at 91.9 FM and on line at www.coastradio.org.