Saturday, November 25

The writing of the three featured B.C. poets is often deeply rooted in a certain rural landscape. As they present their work, the authors will discuss how their creativity is influenced by the locales in which they live.

Presented with financial assistance from The Canada Council for the Arts through The Writers’ Union of Canada.



NANCY HOLMES has published five collections of poetry, most recently The Flicker Tree: Okanagan Poems. She edited the anthology Open Wide a Wilderness: Canadian Nature Poems, and is a founder of Kelowna’s Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre, an initiative of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and the University of B.C.


Holmes has organized numerous eco-art projects in the Okanagan. She teaches in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan, where she has served as associate dean of research and graduate studies. In 2015 she won the national Robert Kroetsch Teaching Award for a project whereby her writing students produced and delivered to new homeowners in specific Kelowna neighborhoods a package of locally produced and relevant literature.


JORDAN MOUNTEER published his first book, liminal, this spring. His poems have won or been shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize, Prism’s Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize and the Montreal Poetry Prize. He grew up in the Slocan Valley, and draws a lot of his inspiration from what it means to inhabit a particular rural and ecological environment. He has also travelled extensively through South America, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Japan.



FRED WAH, who served as Canada’s 5th Parliamentary Poet Laureate 2011-2013, first brought creative writing education to the West Kootenay. He taught from 1967 to 1989 in Nelson and Castlegar at David Thompson University Centre and Selkirk College, before moving on to the University of Calgary until 2003.


Wah has published more than 20 books of poetry and prose, including the Governor General’s Literary Award-winning Waiting for Saskatchewan, and a prose memoir Diamond Grill, about growing up in Nelson in the 1950s. Recent poetry titles of his include the collections Is a Door, Sentenced to Light, and Scree: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1962-1991. He divides his time between Riondel and Vancouver.



‘Upstream Benefits – Rural Art Symposium’ is a 4-day-long symposium that explores and celebrates the role and impact that the arts have in rural communities and will bring into focus artist-run culture in the Kootenays.  Symposium programming includes multiple panel discussions, artist talks, literary readings, a night of performance art and music and an art exhibition.  All symposium programming is free to attend and everyone is welcome!  (Donations are appreciated.)

For more information and to see the symposium schedule link here

Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges support for this programming from Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Columbia Basin Trust, British Columbia Arts Council and Province of British Columbia, Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, The Writers’ Union of Canada, Elephant Mountain Literary Festival, Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres, City of Nelson, Region District of Central Kootenay, Hall Printing, Nelson Star and the Hume Hotel.

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