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Event Archive - Ekphrastic Poetry Reading: Yvonne Blomer , John Barton, Eve Joseph, Arleen Pare

Thu. January 17th 2019 The Robert Bateman Centre (All Ages)
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Join Victoria’s most recent poet laureate, Yvonne Blomer and three local poets; John Barton, Eve Joseph, and Arleen Pare in a night of Ekphrastic Poetry Reading. Each poet will respond to various visual works of art from paintings to sculptures including Emily Carr and Robert Bateman.

Yvonne Blomer: Responding to paintings by Robert Bateman
John Barton: Responding to paintings by Emily Carr
Eve Joseph: Responding to photographs by Diane Arbus
Arleen Pare: Responding to sculptures by Frances Loring and Florence Wyle

Date: Thursday January 17th, 2019
Time: 6pm – 8pm
Location: The Robert Bateman Centre
Cost: $10 for non-members, $5 for members

Space is limited. Tickets can be purchased via the website:

About the Artists

Yvonne Blomer:
Yvonne Blomer was the city of Victoria’s poet laureate from 2015-2018. She has published three poetry collections, a travel memoir and three chapbooks as well as having edited two poetry anthologies. In 2017 Yvonne won the Leaf press Overleaf Chapbook award for her chapbook “Elegies for Earth”. In 2019 her second anthology in a trilogy of poetry books focused on our connection and concern for the earth’s waters will be published with Caitlin Press.

Her ekphrastic book:
Yvonne’s chapbook Ravine, Mouse, a Bird’s Beak is a collection of fifteen ecological and ekphrastic poems based on the paintings of Robert Bateman. Both nature-painter Robert Bateman and ekphrastic poet Yvonne Blomer are concerned with the plight of the natural world in the Anthropocene age. Through Bateman’s art, Yvonne explores her concern for the natural world, frustration with the human, and grief both personal and universal.

John Barton:
John Barton’s eleven books of poetry and nine chapbooks include For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin: Selected Poems and Polari. In 2018, he published the chapbooks, Windsock and Visible But Not Seen: Queer Expression in the Age of Equity with Frog Hollow and Anstruther. In 2019, he will publish The Essential Douglas LePanwith Porcupine’s Quill and We Are Not Avatars: Essays, Memoirs, Manifestos with Palimpsest. Lost Family, book of sonnets, will appear with Signal in 2020.

John’s ekphrastic book:
West of Darkness: Emily Carr, A Self Portrait. Opening in 1927, when Carr has returned to Victoria after her first reputation-making exhibitions in Ottawa and Toronto, West of Darkness follows her over the next eighteen years of painting and writing. The winner of an Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry, in 1988, the book has appeared in three separate editions, including a bilingual third edition.

Eve Joseph:
Eve Joseph’s two books of poetry, The Startled Heart (Oolichan, 2004) and The Secret Signature of Things (Brick, 2010) were both nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award. Her nonfiction book, In the Slender Margin was published by HarperCollins in 2014 and won the Hubert Evans award for nonfiction. The book was named one of the top 100 picks of the year by the Globe and Mail. Her most recent book of poetry, Quarrels, came out with Anvil Press in 2018.

Eve’s ekphrastic poems:
“Set in three sections, her short, untitled pieces explore movements and moments, disagreements and differences, writing out short scenes, and even, as through the second section, composed from photographs by Diane Arbus. Each piece remains self-contained, yet part of a far larger series of grouped connections, akin to ripples running across and through the book as a whole. This is a lovely book.” from Rob McLennan’s blog

Arleen Pare:
Arleen Paré is a Victoria writer. She has 5 collections of poetry, two of which are cross-genre. She has been short-listed for the Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry, and has won a Victoria Butler Book Prize, a CBC Bookie Award, the American Golden Crown Poetry Award, and a Governor Generals’ Award for Poetry.

Arleen’s ekphrastic book:
The Girls with Stone Faces is a poetic attempt to memorialize the lives and sculptural art of Florence Wyle and Frances Loring. Committed mentors of young women sculptors, founders and organizers of Canadian art organizations, friends of the Group of Seven, they lived and worked together in a deconsecrated Toronto church for almost sixty years. Well-known and important artists in the first half of the twentieth century, they are now almost entirely unknown.


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Yvonne Blomer

Yvonne Blomer has published three collections of poetry and co-edited Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press) an anthology out of the Planet Earth Poetry reading series. Her poems have appeared in Forcefield: 77 BC Women Poets (Mother Tongue Press) as well as in The Best Canadian Poetry in English (Tightrope Books) and A Crystal Though Which Love Pass... more info
Articles: Yvonne Blomer: the City's Poet