Valley Voices calling Okanagan poets for Kelowna poetry festival

Calling all Okanagan poets

Writers and poets from across the Okanagan will be gathering in Kelowna this month for the Valley Voices Poetry Festival.

The festival is organized by a collective of Okanagan writers who host events, readings, and book launches.

This year's event runs Nov. 17 and 18, 2023 and will focus on a weekend of poetry-focused workshops and readings, all free, open to the public, and featuring Okanagan poets.

“We are partnering with several community organizations to hold this exciting series of live readings by outstanding local poets and six amazing writing workshops. All of the events and writing workshops are free, but people need to register ahead of time for the writing workshops,” says Nancy Holmes spokesperson for Valley Voices.

The Friday, Nov. 17 reading will launch the newest book Lady Bird by Vernon poet Kerry Gilbert with more readings by University of British Columbia Okanagan advanced poetry students. The Saturday night Nov. 18 reading will feature acclaimed poets Sarah De Leeuw and Margo Tamez. Both of these readings will take place at 7 p.m. at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art on Cawston Ave, in Kelowna.

"Poets, aspiring and established, are invited to attend any or all of six workshops offered throughout the day, from bring your own poem which will give you feedback on a poem you’ve already written, to workshops on the image and on the heart of the poem to help you write a new work, from a presentation on self-publishing to an introduction to Spoken Word. There is something for everyone who has a poet in them," Holmes says.

There will also be poetry readings and workshops at the downtown Kelowna library from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a noon-hour reading will feature Kelowna poet Lesley-Anne Evans and Vernon poet Virginia Dansereau.

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