The house was full, not only with poetry supporters and enthusiasts, but flowing with wise, sharp and insightful words.
It was round one of the third Comox Valley Poet Laureate Search, Monday night at Michaels Off Main, and the energy in the room swelled with a wealth of talent and enthusiasm.
Then, after the last poet had stepped from the stage and the judges had huddled for an hour, the list of 11 applicants had been whittled to four finalists: Lawrence Cooper, Michael Datura, Pamela DeWolf and Taryn Goodwin.
They will now face off in the finals, coming this Monday (April 29) at Michaels, and a winner will be declared.
“All of the participants were masterful in their command of language and ability to weave tales, express emotion and paint mental pictures,” said CVPL committee chair Wendy Nixon Stothert.
The judges found it quite challenging to determine the finalists, she added.
The CVPL Search is a project of Comox Valley Arts, the local arts council.
Prior to the public portion of this Monday’s event, the judging panel will be interviewing each of the final four.
Then the poets will each have two, three-minute readings of their works, followed by several ‘on-the-spot poetry challenges’ and then an assigned poem: “Why I Want to be CV Poet Laureate.”
The judging panel will then take a short time to confer before announcing who will wear the title 2019-2021 Comox Valley Poet Laureate.
The winner gets a $2000 honorarium, paid in instalments, over the two-year term. Sponsors include the Comox Valley District Teachers Association, School District 71, Vancouver Island Regional Library, 97.3 The Eagle, North Island College, the City of Courtenay, Island Word, and Sure Copy.
The judging panel includes NIC English instructor and award-winning poet Jordan Scott, outgoing CVPL Natalie Nickerson, and rap artist Eric Ettinger.
Normally a breakfast/brunch place, Michaels is opening Monday evening especially for this event and has put on a menu of desserts and light meals, with Cumberland Brewing Forest Fog on tap.
Entrance to the event is free, but donations will be collected for the CVPL honorarium.