Bill Arnott’s Beat – World Poetry

I was making my way across town. Town being Vancouver, BC. We have to say that as there’s an another one, a perfectly pleasant American one, its pleasantness being its proximity to Vancouver, BC.

I was to be the guest on World Poetry Café, an unassuming FM radio program with a shockingly large listenership – one-hundred-thirty-three countries, at last count. When I arrived at the station, Victor, the venerable sound man, said in a Barry White basso profundo, “We just got Sweden. And another one of the Yugoslav countries.” Making me realize I’d stumbled into a life-size game of Risk. Peaceful, radio Risk. Somewhere overhead an unseen entity was sliding game-pieces across countries and continents as we settled into squeaky chairs, popped headsets on, and silently set notes under swivel-arm mics. 

This is a co-op radio program that two-thirds of the nations on the planet tune into. The skeptic in me – not the glass half-full/half-empty guy, but the one knowing full well the glass is too damn big, questioned the record keepers. I suppose if we had a listener in each country that would, in fact, be accurate. My Austrian friend Evelyn once said at a UK Lit Fest, “I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate!” So I kept doubts close to my chest and made a note to let Evelyn know I’d be quoting her. And if we didn’t end up connecting, the quote would become my own. Obviously. 

I visited with co-host Doctor Diego, liking him immediately. Not only because his name could be that of an Omar Sharif persona, and not because he’s fluent in every romance language (the relevant ones) but mostly because he’s a kind individual who made me feel welcome and asked questions, something I often find lacking. I wonder why that is but can’t be bothered to ask. 

We chatted about travel, poetry, prose, and all the stuff you’d love to talk about at a cocktail party if you didn’t have the courteous obligation of asking some idiot about themselves. Regardless. We got on well. Host Ariadne did her thing and the show proceeded smoothly, as all long-lived shows do. I had fun, sharing space with skilled people. I snapped photos for social media that I could lie about afterward. In other words, it was an excellent afternoon for an entrepreneurial artist saying yes to every next thing.

What I liked most about this was its timeliness. National Poetry Month was just around the corner and we were on the cusp of World Poetry Day – bridging nations and shrinking the world in what may be our purest language. With callers that day from Africa, Asia, and North America, and listeners on every continent, I had the extreme privilege of experiencing it firsthand. Each of us in the sound booth agreed, while music played, and mics were off. Forget delineating languages of arbitrarily drawn borders. What we were sharing was rich, articulate pidgin – a global populace finding commonality. Communicating. We do it with music. We do it with food. With dance and laughter and love. But perhaps more than anything, we do it collectively, with poetry. 

World Poetry Day is March 21, 2020 and April is National Poetry Month. #NPM2020


Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga, Dromomania, Allan’s Wishes, and Wonderful Magical Words. His Indie Folk CD is Studio 6. Bill’s work is published in literary journals, magazines and anthologies around the globe. He’s received songwriting and poetry prizes and is a Whistler Independent Book Awards 2019 Finalist with Gone Viking: A Travel Saga. Visit Bill @billarnott_aps and 

Christine Smart Wins Federation of BC Writers Literary Writes 2020 Contest

15th March, 2020

The Federation of British Columbia Writers would like to congratulate Salt Spring Island poet, Christine Smart, winner of the 2020 Literary Writes Poetry Contest. Christine’s poem, “Hummingbird” was chosen by the judges from a field of nearly a hundred submissions and a short list of six finalists.

Christine grew up in rural Quebec. She studied, travelled, then settled on Salt Spring Island in 1989. Her book decked and dancing won the 2007 Acorn-Plantos Award. A book of poems, The White Crow, was published by Hedgerow Press. Christine’s poems have been anthologized in Refugium, Sweet Water, Beyond Forgetting and Love of the Salish Islands.

In selecting “Hummingbird”, contest judge, Jude Neale said: “We’ve all seen the small clutch of hummingbirds as they gather at the feeder. The rapture. The awe. This wonderful poem, “Hummingbird”, was able to give us a glimpse of what we already knew but had forgotten. In a few deft strokes the author paints a visceral picture so clearly that we are left to ponder this:  Like the bird, enticed into flying/fast/we dash full force toward/ something glimpsed/some truth longed for/” 

Jude Neale is a poet, vocalist and educator who lives on Bowen Island (

FBCW President, Keith Liggett said there was a tremendous response to the 2020 poetry contest, and substantial rise in the quality of the submissions.

“All of the finalists did a great job, placing on the short list. I want to wish them the best with their writing and thank everyone who submitted.”

The other finalists were Michelle Brown and Anne Hopkinson of Victoria, Alan Hill of New Westminster, Joanna Streetly of Tofino and Yuko Kojima of Vancouver. People wishing to see Christine Smart’s winning poem will be able to read it in the upcoming issue of WordWorks that will be mailed out in April and sent to every FBCW member’s email digitally.

The FBCW promotes excellence in writing with three contests a year. In addition to the annual Literary Writes Poetry Contest, the 4th Annual BC Short will soon be open for submissions (April 1) – re-named the BC/Yukon SHORT because Yukon writers will also be invited to submit (the Federation of BC Writers is moving to formally include Yukon writers as members). And later this year, in the Fall, we launch our annual Flash Prose contest.

The FBCW is a non-profit society and Federally registered charity that serves more than 800 writers across BC and the Yukon.

For more information contact Ann Graham Walker at

Three Fed Members on the Fiddlehead Shortlist!

Congratulations to all the shortlisted poets, including Fed members Barbara Pelman and Shaleeta Harrison, along with our outstanding executive director and past president, Ann Graham Walker! It’s wonderful to see our members making shortlists, not only in BC, but around the country and world!

FBCW Youth Advocate Isabella Wang Organizing Youth Readings for Room Magazine

Our youth advocate, poet Isabella Wang, author of On Forgetting a Language (Baseline Press 2019) and Pebble Swing (Nightwood Editions 2021), has programmed an evening of diverse youth readings from 7-9 PM at Massey Books in Vancouver, Monday, March 9, 2020, as part of Room Magazine‘s Growing Room Festival. She is also the assistant editor for Room 42.4. You can read her interviews with the featured writers on this site:

To reserve your spot for Monday evening, visit here:

Word Vancouver in Need of Help to Stay Free

If you can help Word Vancouver with a donation large or small, please contact Executive Director Bonnie Nish at Much gratitude for your generosity! The Fed has enjoyed having an indoor table and being included on the community stage over the past few years, along with a conglomeration of literary organizations. The festival is an extraordinary experience for writers, readers and publishers to interact with each other and the public. Thanks for your support!

I Could Write a Book Workshop Coming up on March 7th in North Delta

Remember to register for Fed Member Valerie Fletcher Adolph’s workshop, I Could Write a Book, if you’ll be in North Delta on March 7th, 2020. The course is sponsored by Delta Parks and Recreation. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Valeria at

Valerie is a strong fiction writer. Her first novel, Bride Ship Three, is about three young women arriving in BC at the time of the Barkerville Gold Rush and she is currently at work on an historical mystery Death and the Dear Doctor. Her short story “The Good Fire” was awarded first prize in the Polar Expressions Publishing 2019 national short story contest, a cross Canada contest that received entries from hundreds of writers. Congratulations Valerie!

The Goose Journal Looking for Volunteer Poetry Editors

Do you love The Goose? Well, here’s an opportunity to join their gaggle of volunteer editors! They’re looking for a co-editor and a poetry section editor— tell your friends.

The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada invites applications for co-editors and poetry section editor

The Goose is the journal of ALECC (Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada / L’Association pour la littérature, l’environnement et la culture au Canada) and is published biannually at By joining the team at the journal you will be helping to serve and build the larger community of the environmental humanities in Canada and beyond.

As a co-editor, you will have the chance to help develop the larger picture of ecocriticism and environmental literature and art, and to provide a venue for diverse voices to be heard among an audience of artists, activists, scholars, authors, and other interested citizens.

To keep this role enjoyable and manageable, the tasks are always divided between at least two co-editors. Responsibilities include:

· Upholding and furthering the anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and inclusive mandate of the journal
· Reviewing submitted articles; managing the publication of accepted articles
· Developing ideas for special issues, discussion forums, or other special features; inviting submissions
· Writing a brief editorial introduction to each issue
· Building awareness of the journal and encouraging members of diverse scholarly, writing, and arts communities to submit material
· Assigning incoming submissions of poetry, book reviews, and French-language material to section editors
· Using the journal’s online publishing system to manage the journal and publish new issues (support is available for this)
· Ensuring that the journal’s publication schedule remains on track and that journal policies and practices remain up to date
· Managing, supporting, and thanking other volunteer editors; conducting searches for new editors as necessary
· Managing the journal’s social media profiles and campaigns (currently Twitter and Facebook)
· Maintaining the journal’s publishing guide and other process and training materials
· Organizing and chairing editorial team meetings 
· Coordinating with the ALECC executive council as necessary


As the poetry section editor, you will manage a key section of the journal and help provide a venue for diverse poetic voices to be heard among an audience of artists, activists, scholars, authors, and other interested citizens.

Responsibilities include:
· Upholding and furthering the anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and inclusive mandate of the journal
· Reviewing submitted poetry; managing the publication of accepted poems; communicating with poets and authors
· Working with copyeditors to prepare final poetry submissions for publication
· Developing ideas for discussion forums or other special issue features; inviting submissions
· Using the journal’s online publishing system to manage the poetry section (support is available for this)
· Contributing content to the journal’s social media campaigns when required
· Contributing to the maintenance of the journal’s publishing guide and other process and training materials
· Participating in editorial team meetings

Applications for both roles are welcome from graduate students, recent PhD graduates, and early career researchers and academics in areas related to the environmental humanities, and from members of the poetry, writing, and arts communities in Canada. These are volunteer positions. Goose asks that editors commit to a two-year term at the journal.

During the lead-up to the issue publication dates of March 31 and September 30, the workload can average around five hours per week, and it can fall to under one hour per week during quieter times.

If you are interested please send a brief letter of interest and a C.V. to Melanie Dennis Unrau at by March 1, 2020. We will be happy to answer any questions.

We hope you will join us in keeping The Goose a vibrant open-access resource for everyone with an interest in the arts and the environment.

Please circulate widely to anyone who may be interested.

Thanks and best wishes,

The Goose Co-editors,
Melanie Dennis Unrau, Alec Follett, and Amanda Di Battista