Established in 1998
A celebration of the commercial fishing industry in poetry, prose and song, the FisherPoets Gathering has attracted fisherpoets and their many fans to Astoria, Oregon the last weekend of February since 1998.
Originally conceived as a modest cultural reunion for far-flung friends in the commercial fishing fleet, the FisherPoets Gathering now attracts nearly a hundred poets, songwriters and storytellers from both the west and east coasts’ commercial fishing communities. They gather in Astoria’s pubs, restaurants and galleries to read for each other and for the hundreds of fisherpoetry fans who come to hear the authentic, creative voices of deckhands and skippers, cannery workers and shipwrights, young greenhorns and old timers, strong women and good-looking men.
The FisherPoets Gathering has been featured in media both national and international from the NY Times, Smithsonian magazine, the Wall Street Journal, NBC to the BBC and others. The U.S. Library of Congress has recognized the FisherPoets Gathering as a “Local Legacy” project and the event has spawned a genre, “fisherpoetry,” that fans of occupational poetry might hear in towns like Kodiak, AK, New Bedford, MA, Port Townsend, WA and Camden, ME.
8 Venues Dozens of FisherPoets
Fisherpoets perform music, poetry and prose Friday and Saturday evenings between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. at Astoria venues that include the Astoria Brewing Co. (formerly the Wet Dog Café), the Ten-Fifteen Theater, Fort George Brewery’s Lovell Showroom, the Columbian Theater, KALA performance gallery and the Liberty Theatre.
In addition, the Gathering includes workshops Friday afternoon and Saturday at studios and venues around town including Clatsop Community College's re-modeled Patriot Hall and Pier 39 on subjects as varied as fish print making, perfecting writing and performing, protecting river watersheds, and practicing knot tying, line splicing and more. Lots more. Later Saturday afternoon fisherpoets celebrate the works of fisherpoets passed at the now annual Campbell's Last Set.
Look also for singing circles and open-mics at WineKraft and visual art by fisherpoets at galleries in town.
Coast Community Radio KMUN broadcasts fisherpoetry live both nights from the Liberty Theatre at 91.9 FM and on line at www.coastradio.org.
Our Planning Committee
Jon Broderick made the first phone calls in 1997 that resulted in the FisherPoets Gathering so he's been part of the organizing committee since the beginning corresponding with fisherpoets and press, building the schedule and managing the fisherpoets.org web site. A former school teacher, he's been a commercial salmon fisherman since the '70s and, with his family, runs a set net outfit in Bristol Bay each summer.
Florence Sage, long active in the Astoria cultural scene and retired from the Social Sciences faculty at Clatsop Community College, has been on our organizing committee from the beginning. She's kept our books, managed public relations, scheduled program and written a lot of copy for us.
Pat Dixon helps manage social media, photography and the fisherpoets.org website. He's curator and web designer of our on-line anthology "In the Tote." Pat, now a professional photographer, is a former educator who gillnetted salmon for twenty years in Cook Inlet, Alaska. He also edited Anchored in Deep Water - The FisherPoets Anthology.
Doreen Broderick likely didn't know what she was in for when she married a fisherman in 1980 but she's stickin' and stayin' from gillnetting in Southeastern Alaska to set netting in Bristol Bay. She's a school teacher and runs the Gearshack for the FisherPoets Gathering.
Jay Speakman hosts the Story Circle at the FisherPoets Gathering and has been our venue coordinator on the committee for a decade. He's fished commercially in Maine and Alaska. He and his wife Diane own Sesame and Lilies, an interior design shop in Cannon Beach.
Amanda Gladics recently joined us to bring some modern, reliable technology to our pop-up Gearshack and to organize our volunteers. She has worked with fishing communities and studied seabird populations from Chile's Robinson Crusoe Island to the Aleutian's Aiktak. Amanda joined Oregon Sea Grant in July 2016 as a coastal fisheries extension faculty, providing community education programs that foster sustainability of fishery resources and the public's understanding of them.
Hobe Kytr knows more about the commercial fishing history of the Lower Columbia River than anyone else we know. A former educator at the Columbia River Maritime and director of the Ilwaco Heritage museums, he long worked for Salmon For All, advocating for commercial fishing interests on the River. Hobe was instrumental in getting the U.S. Library of Congress to recognize the FisherPoets Gathering as a Local Legacy in 2000.
Jamie Boyd, who helps design our program cover, our poster and who manages the silent auction, joined the FisherPoets planning committee in 2012. Jamie has been a part of Astoria's arts community since 2004, as a founding member of Studio 11, a board member of the Astoria Visual Arts and a gallery aid at Clatsop Community College.
Erica Clark has joined us, too, to bring common sense to Special Event planning. She grew up in Kodiak fishing summers on her family's longliner F/V Dark Star around western Alaska. She's been a hand in Bristol Bay, worked in seafood marketing and the No Pebble campaign. She and her young family came to Astoria from Cordova.