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

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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 https://www.amazon.com/author/billarnott_aps 

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 (www.judeneale.ca).

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 membership@bcwriters.ca

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!

https://thefiddlehead.ca/content/fiddlehead-2019-poetry-contest-shortlist?fbclid=IwAR2tzfuheEtloaqcXj6hGi-mP35ulm9RvanxXcHkd2K7aBxErY_ckI2vAzA

Weekly Fed Poetry Event in New Westminster

Fed member Robert Martens reading from city of beasts, his newest book from Ekstasis Editions. Fed and RCLAS members, along with friends, family and the public are invited to gather for poetry and literary trivia Sundays (except for long weekends), from 3-5 pm at The Heritage Grill Restaurant in New Westminster.

Photo by event host Warren Dean Fulton

Call for Submissions — Fernie Writer-in-Residence May 1-22, 2020

The Federation of BC Writers and the Fernie Writers Conference are calling for submissions for the Fernie Writer-in-Residence term from May 1 to 22, 2020. Applications will be accepted from February 1 through Midnight (PDT) March 15, 2020. The Writer-in-Residence will be announced before April 1, 2020.

The Fernie Writers Conference events are held at Fernie Alpine Resort. During the year, there are several weekend Mini-Conferences. The main Fernie Writers Conference will be August 17-24, 2020 and offers participants week-long and three-day intensive workshops in fiction, non-fiction and poetry. www.ferniewriters.org

The Writer-in Residence will lead one workshop session at the May 1, 2, 3, 2020 Mini-Conference. The writer will be expected to give a public reading at the beginning of the residency and toward the end. The writer will lead a five-session evening workshop for adults (no more than ten writers) and a similar number of sessions with youth in the community.

The Writer-in-Residence will receive a $1500 stipend and $500 for leading a session at the May Mini-Conference.

Beyond that, the Writer-in-Residence will be able to work on a project of their own, benefiting from a three-week block of time.

The adjudication will be by Keith Liggett (President of the Federation of BC Writers and Director of the Fernie Writers Conference), one member-at-large of the Federation of BC Writers, and one member of the Fernie community. The Writer-in-Residence must be a member of the Federation of BC Writers, a Canadian resident of BC or the Yukon and have a demonstrated publication and workshop history. There is no requirement as to genre, but a writer with experience across non-fiction, fiction and poetry may be given preference.

The decision of the adjudicators will be final.

Interested writers should apply through the Federation of BC Writers Submittable site accessed through the Fed web site www.bcwriters.ca or through the Fernie Writers Conference site at www.ferniewriters.org

Any questions should be directed to Keith Liggett  t.keith.liggett@gmail.com

Application materials should include:

  1. A one page cover letter.
  2. Ten pages (standard manuscript formatting) of the proposed project with a one page synopsis/explanation.
  3. Two-page CV detailing publishing and workshop experience.
  4. Two craft references.

The Fernie Writer-in-Residence is supported by generous grants from the Federation of BC Writers, Fernie Lodging Company, Snow Creek Cabins, Lizard Creek Lodge, Fernie Alpine Resort, and other community members.

To apply through the Submittable page set up for this purpose, click HERE.

The FBCW is Now Offering Sunday Afternoon Webinars

The Federation of BC Writers is excited to collaborate with Barb Drozdowich in offering Sunday Afternoon Webinars on topics relevant to the writing life!

These new webinars will be presented by seasoned teachers who will help writers, regardless of where they live – from Whitehorse to Tofino. All that is needed is an internet connection, a computer and a comfy chair.

One Sunday a month, we will address the needs of authors with a variety of craft and marketing subjects. The webinars will combine live teaching with a Q&A session at the end.

Our first Sunday session starts on Feb 23rd with an overview of the Canadian Publishing Landscape in 2020. With the world of publishing changing so quickly, this webinar will catch you up to date with real information and answers to common questions.

The topic we will talk about in March is 5 Tips to Improve Your Confidence in a Social Media World. In future months, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from an illustrator and children’s author, some editors, a poet and even learn more about marketing a book when you live in a small city or town.

If you would like to pitch a webinar for our series, please contact Barb Drozdowich at sugarbeatbc@gmail.com

Here is more information about the first 2 webinars planned:

Webinar #1 – Sunday Feb 23rd from 2PM – 4PM
Understanding the Publishing Landscape in 2020

Want to publish your book but you are running into trouble?

Too many foreign sounding words. Too much blah, blah, blah.

Are you doing your best but are getting frustrated?

In “Understanding the Publishing Landscape” we will demystify this ever-changing world by answering the following questions:

·      What are the steps of publishing regardless of who is the publisher?
·      What is the difference between Traditional publishing, Self-publishing and Vanity publishing
·      What is an agent and is an agent necessary for the publishing process?
·      What is a retailer vs what is a distributor?
·      What should you pay for, what is free?
·      What questions should you ask when seeking assistance?
·      What red flags should you look for?
·      How can you vet your choices?

Barb Drozdowich comes from a background of technical training and has been serving as a technical virtual assistant to authors since 2010. She is the author of 27 books focused at the needs of authors. She is an area representative for the Federation of BC Writers and lives with her family in Abbotsford.

Prices – Member $20.00 Non-member $45.00 
Link to purchase tickets – https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/understanding-the-publishing-landscape-in-2020-tickets-92495098329

Webinar #2 – Sunday March 8th from 2PM to 4PM
5 Tips to Improve your Confidence in a Social Media World
You are a writer and are hoping to use social media to get the word out about your book.
Are you tired of stumbling around, confused by the language, the requirements?


Let Barb Drozdowich lead you through 5 easy things that you can do to walk confidently in this environment. Focusing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you will:


·      Learn what hashtags are and why they are important
·      Learn how to create an effective social media bio
·      Learn to use language that is appropriate for the platform
·      Learn the rules that you need to follow
·      And learn what to say to use this powerful world to your advantage.

Barb is the author of 27 books. She serves as a technical trainer and technical virtual assistant to authors around the world. She’s spent 15 years in front of a class teaching science before she took on the challenge of running the technical training department of a bank. She has been working with authors since 2010.


Prices – Members $20.00 Non-members $45.00 
Link to purchase tickets – https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/5-tips-to-improve-your-confidence-in-a-social-media-world-tickets-92495952885

Weekly Fed Poetry Group in New West

If you’re looking for fun afternoons on the Lower Mainland, join us Sundays (except for long weekends) at The Heritage Grill Restaurant in New Westminster from 3-5 PM for readings, literary trivia, prizes and an open mic. Fed member Robert Martens is one of the features this Sunday, along with MaryAnn Bowles. Robert will be reading from his brand new poetry book, city of beasts, from Ekstasis Editions. Everyone welcome to this free event.

Half Price for New Members

This year, the Federation of BC Writers is offering a one time special promotion for groups of writers wanting to experience our membership benefits. Groups of three or more writers can join together for half price by banding together and emailing or executive director at memberships@bcwriters.ca. Please send just one email for each group of three or more writers. Welcome!