CHEK Upside: Poetry society highlighting Vancouver Island poets with video series

CHEK Upside: Poetry society highlighting Vancouver Island poets with video series
WatchPlanet Earth Poetry's Poets Caravan has featured over 40 poets from across the South Island reading their own work. Cole Sorenson has more.

For 26 years, Planet Earth Poetry has been an organizer of poetry readings in Victoria.

“We have an open mic and that’s wonderful and lively cause you never know what people are going to read and we have feature poets,” says Planet Earth president Anne Hopkinson.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March of 2020, Planet Earth’s readings went online as well as their Poet Caravan project with the CRD.

“The CRD was wonderful, they allowed us to do that,” says Hopkinson.

“We did a lot of outdoor shoots and that’s good too because Victoria is beautiful and there’s lots of great places.”

Over 40 poets from around the Island have been filmed reading poetry since the project’s inception in a variety of locations. Each spot is marked on Google Earth as well as a brief bio for each poet.

“You get the text of the poems and you get links to their websites and any information they wanted to share,” says Hopkinson.

The Poet Caravan has been an interesting pivot for Planet Earth and poets alike.

“It’s actually surprisingly easy speaking to the camera,” says participant Sharon Lee.

“I think it is a bit more nerve-wracking when you’re speaking to a live audience because all of these eyes are on you.”

There have also been plenty of interesting moments while on location.

“We’ve had some sirens go or the horn honks from the Coho or we’ve had a horse that wanted to be part of the video,” smiles Hopkinson.

While in-person poetry readings were temporarily back before the most recent round of restrictions, Planet Earth has no plans to shut down the Poet Caravan project.

“We hope to spread further and further, not just Southern Vancouver Island, but up the Island too,” says Hopkinson.

To learn more about Planet Earth Poetry and the Poet Caravan project, visit the Planet Earth website.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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