Poets on Campus is an annual series of poetry readings at the Nanaimo campus of Vancouver Island University. Now in its third year, the series offers people an opportunity to be in touch with the living literary culture of our day, said Marilyn Bowering, a professor in the Creative Writing department, and the faculty contact for the series. "It’s inspirational for our students," she said. "For others – staff, faculty and community members – it’s a cultural thread that tells us about the world around us."
"Our goal was to establish a literary presence on campus and I think we can say we’ve accomplished that," said Bowering. "There are lots of other places in town that are offering readings and other literary events, but I think we’re still the main venue for bringing in other people, not just local poets and people from Vancouver Island, and opening up our little community to what’s happening in the literary world."
"What’s really gratifying is the support we’ve received from within the institution," she said. "Everyone understands and is appreciative."
Bowering sees Poets on Campus as a chance for new poets to gain exposure to more established writers. "When I was a young poet I was lucky to have teachers and mentors around me. I was very quickly in touch with people. I think it’s harder now."
Each event will be opened by a student poet reading for ten minutes before the guest reader performs. "It’s one way we’re able to put a young poet on stage," said Bowering. "I know how much it means to new poets to be in touch with the community."
The readings will be held monthly, at 4 pm.
The first event of the season is an opportunity to hear VIU’s faculty poets share their work. On Monday, September 15, Jay Ruzesky, Stephen Hume, Steve Guppy, Kevin Roberts, Liza Potvin, Robert Hilles and Bowering will each give a short reading in the Library Writing Centre. The event will be followed by a reception. Bowering said there may be surprise guests and promises an entertaining afternoon. "I’ve asked everyone to read for five to ten minutes, so there will be lots of variety and lots of fun."
The next event features guest reader Eve Joseph, whose book The Startled Heart was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award. Joseph will read Monday, October 20 at 4 pm in the Library Writing Centre.
November’s guest reader is celebrated poet and artist Joe Rosenblatt. Rosenblatt has won the Governor General's award for poetry and the BC Book Prize, and will be on campus Monday, November 17.
For more information on Poets on Campus, including a schedule and location map, visit viu.ca/poetsoncampus.