kevin on beachFlesher earns warm praise from Koyczan, plans poetry ‘mission’

We are thrilled to announce the first ever Poet Laureate position for the Comox Valley.

15 applications were received! That alone speaks volumes to the level of talent, and respect, that resides within our writing community here in the Valley.

And after the jury spent a week listening to many poems, watching many videos, and reading multiple submissions - Kevin Flesher was selected.

Arm the meek with a poem,
and it won't take too long.
My word is my oath
and my sword is a song.

-- Kevin Flesher, Comox Valley’s first Poet Laureate

The 15 exceptional applicants were:

Josh Klassen
Willie Gray
Carol Neufeld
Vanessa Scott
Anneli Rosteski
Cornelia Hoogland
Joanna Finch
Greg Chadwick
Myron Shutty
Natalie Nickerson
Oryon Orlando
Kevin Flesher
Acacia Mitchell
Ed Varney
Luke Guthrie

We want to thank and acknowledge them all for being among an elite group of wordsmiths within our beautiful valley.

Kevin Flesher is already a lot of things to a lot of people in the Comox Valley.

Now he’s also our first Poet Laureate.

Well-known for his sly wit, his Robbie Burns poems, as a favourite teacher, as one of the Duke of Dodge and as wacky children’s hero Captain Thunderpants, Flesher was introduced Tuesday before the Shane Koyczan show at the Sid Williams Theatre.

 “I am tremendously honoured and delighted to have been chosen,” said Flesher. “It's a treat, a thrill and a challenge I am stoked to meet.”

The poet laureate search was organized by the Comox Valley Community Arts Council. Thunderous applause followed Flesher’s reading of two of his poems in the packed Sid Williams Theatre, as he opened for Koyczan, currently Canada’s most famous poet. Later, in his performance, Koyczan praised Flesher’s work and the community for getting behind the poet laureate project in such a big way. “You guys are great!” Koyczan told the audience.

Learn more about Kevin HERE

As his first job, he opened for Shane Koyczan at the Sid Williams Theatre on March 24. For that occasion, he wrote this poem, "Opening for Shane":

Opening for Shane, Opening for Shane

What an honour, what a treat, with just a schnick of pain.

Opening for Shane, yes I have done it before,

But ‘twas not from high upon a thrust, I was sitting there on the floor.

I listened in bourgeois confort, the syllables and verse.

The emphatic declarations! The hushed pauses, the oubursts.

He dwelled on childhood’s idylls, to which I could relate. I relaxed and then let down my guard, by then it was too late!

This tiny heart, clenched in this chest, began to sniff around, like and old Tom cat with a missing ear, who’d scraped out of the pound.

Empty as a paper bag, my grandma filled with awesome-

Karate chops of empathy be-stirred a latent blossom

Then, oh then my dear good friends, thru Shane’s artistic power

That tiny bud did thus unfurl into a glorious flower

Those shameless open flowers bravely boast their virile might

And many other open hearts were mingling here that night

I felt amongst the others here a solidarity in pain,

For we, like buds before spring’s sun, had opened up for Shane.

And you tonight, may sit there tight and vow, ‘Oh no, not me, I won’t succumb to something so dumb as Koyczan’s poetry’

But rest assured, once you’ve heard, you’ll never be the same.

For you and me will all agree, we’ve opened up for Shane!