A new poetry collective has been started on Vancouver Island. (Robert Garlington image)

Poetry contest started for Vancouver Island poets

“We’re such a unique group,” says founder on why she wanted to start the collective

Poets, raise your pencils: there’s a new collective calling for submissions for its inaugural fall/winter publication.

Teacher-librarian April Hilland started the Van Isle Poetry Collective this summer to gather unique voices from the region.

“I’ve been writing poetry my whole life, but have just recently gotten brave enough to submit my poems to literary journals. I’ve found that there isn’t a lot that highlights Vancouver Island poets, and I just feel like we’re such a unique group regionally that it can’t hurt to have another platform out there,” Hilland said.

The collective is just Hilland as founder, editor and administrator, but she’d like to invite more people as the project gains momentum.

It’s free to submit poems to make sure there are no barriers to entry. To begin, winning poems will be published online, but it doesn’t have to stop there.

“It would be amazing to have it in print. It’s nice to have it float around online, but if there is an appetite from people, it would be amazing to have local poetry in libraries all over the Island and beyond.”

She’s already received 10 submissions since she made the announcement mid-July, and is excited to see how much interest grows as word gets out.

“I’d like every inch of this island and every surrounding island to be represented,” she said.

Hilland’s own poetry tends toward free verse, exploring the loneliness you feel arriving in a new town. Currently in Nanaimo, her husband is an RCMP officer so she’s been through a lot of moves. She uses poetry to process the life changes.

“Who are you now, away from family and friends? I had to quit my career to make the move. You strip away all the things you grew up with, and what’s left?”

Submissions can be made at https://www.vanislepoetrycollective.com/ until Sept. 7, 2020.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


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