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FisherPoets Gather in Astoria
Published: 09/18/2014  Updated: 02/21/2015
Alaskan salmon troller Tele Aadsen presents at the 2014 gathering.
Alaskan salmon troller Tele Aadsen presents at the 2014 gathering.
Photo by Pat Dixon

Originally conceived as a modest cultural reunion for friends working in the commercial fishing fleet, the FisherPoets Gathering now attracts a thousand fans to Astoria the last weekend in February for performances from scores of fisherpoets and musicians.

Celebrating the creative culture of the commercial fishing industry, the FisherPoets Gathering takes place in Astoria, Oregon from February 27 to March 1, 2015.

Since its auspicious beginning in 1998 the FisherPoets Gathering has been in the media spotlight. Featured in Smithsonian magazine, New York Times and Wall Street Journal, the FisherPoets Gathering is a recognized "Local Legacy" project by the Library of Congress. The event has spawned fisher poetry as a genre. "It's not just old guys looking backward," says founder Jon Broderick. "We hear the voices of people from across the commercial fishing spectrum: deckhands, skippers and cannery workers, young and old, women and men, west coast and east." Unlike the commercial fishing season, each gathering always seems better than the last.

More than 80 fisherpoets will perform music, poetry and prose at various venues in Astoria, Friday and Saturday evenings between 5-10pm. In addition, the gathering includes workshops Saturday morning at the Columbia River Maritime Museum on subjects as varied as ocean acidification, song writing and knot tying. In the afternoon, fisherpoet performers tell their colorful oral histories at the popular Story Circle.

FisherPoet Gathering venues include the Wet Dog Café, Voodoo Room, Astoria Event Center, Fort George Brewery's Lovell Showroom, Clemente's restaurant and KALA performance gallery. For admission to all events the entire weekend, event buttons can be purchased for $15 at the Gear Shack, 1153 Commercial Street, and at all individual venues. More information is available at the FisherPoets Gathering website

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