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!

Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize Just Opened

Enter the new Muriel’s Journey Poetry Contest by March 31st, 2020, to win up to $100.


A first prize of $100 for the poem judged to be the best

Another first prize of $100 for the poem by a DTES contributor judged to be the best

A second prize of $50

A prize of $35 for a randomly selected poem among a longlist of poems


Content: Should meet one or more of these criteria:

Outspoken, risk taking, not easy to digest, looking at a topic in an unexpected way. It would be nice if it had a good potential for being performed. Why these criteria? Because that’s Muriel. She was not only a poet but a fabulous performer and had no problems tackling things from an unusual, makes-you-wake-up-and-listen point of view.

Other criteria:

  • Open to Canadians or people living in Canada
  • Length of the poem: 5 lines or more
  • Up to 5 poems, with an overall length for all poems together not to exceed 100 lines
  • Please send the poems in the body of the email. Start the email with your name and the title(s) of your poem(s). DO NOT MENTION YOUR NAME ANYWHERE ELSE so that we can judge your poems blindly.
  • There is no monetary entry fee; instead, please let us know how you contribute to your community
  • Email address:
  • Live link to your email when using your computer or device:
  • The poem cannot be previously published, online or anywhere else
  • If you submit your poem elsewhere and it gets accepted, it is important that you let us know right away.
  • Format: Times Roman, 12 point
  • Please do not attach any images. If an image is absolutely necessary for your poem, tell us in your email and we will arrange for safe transmittal of the image.
  • If you are part of or closely related to the committee or the judges, you are ineligible
  • If you won a first prize in 2019, you are ineligible

DEADLINE: March 31st, 2020

Juniper is Open for Submissions

I’ve seen impressive work from wonderful Fed members like Rob Taylor, Michael Penny, Terence Young and Lorna Crozier, along with other strong BC writers such as Rhea Tregebov, Kirsten Pendreigh, Russell Thornton, Susan Musgrave, Nicholas Bradley and Catherine Owen, among others, in this beautiful online Canadian journal out of Toronto. Submissions for the next issue are open. It’d be great to continue to see BC writers keeping company with the many wonderful contributors from around the world!