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Environmental poets speaking at the Oxygen Art Centre

By Contributor
January 26th, 2014

Two Okanagan poets with an interest in the intersection between the arts and environmental awareness will read from their poems and speak about their work at Nelson’s Oxygen Art Centre on Friday (January 31) at 7:30 p.m.

Authors and University of B.C. Okanagan instructors Sharon Thesen and Nancy Homes co-edited the UBCO magazine Lake: A Journal of Arts and Environment from its inception in 2006 until the magazine suspended its print version in 2012. 

The Oxygen Art Centre is located at 320 Vernon St. (alley entrance).  The poets’ appearance, part of Oxygen’s Presentation Series, is free ($5 donation appreciated) and open to the public.

Thesen has published eight books of poems, most recently Oyama Pink Shale; three of her titles have been finalists for the Governor-General’s Literary Award. 

“Our ability to place ‘environment’ outside ourselves has allowed us to think we can somehow hide it or put it away and have it occur somewhere else,” Thesen said.  “I suppose what poetry can do is put life back together as a whole, to override the taken-for-granted categories of perception, thought, feeling and language.

“I’ve always maintained that poetry is essentially an ecological way of thinking, and that it can do that without even mentioning the oil sands or a woodpecker or anything ‘environmental’ at all.”

Holmes has published five collections of poetry, most recently The Flicker Tree: Okanagan Poems.  She edited the anthology Open Wide a Wilderness: Canadian Nature Poems, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2009. 

She also organizes eco art projects in the Okanagan, and is associate dean of research and graduate studies in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBCO.

The Oxygen Art Centre’s 2013-2014 Presentation Series is supported by the Columbia Basin Trust and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance.

Photo caption: Okanagan instructor Sharon Thesen is scheduled to appear Friday at the Oxygen Art Centre. — Submitted photo

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