Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and are available through www.kodiakartscouncil.org.
In addition to returning favorites Moe Bowstern, Erin Fristad and Kodiak’s own Tobly Sullivan, this year’s event brings three new voices to the island.
Billie Delaney of Port Townsend, Wash., grew up in California but ran away to sea in her teens. She fishes and composes her poems in Bristol Bay, Southeast Alaska and off Washington.
Cowboy Ron McDaniel of Arkansas took a liking to his saltwater colleagues during a visit to Astoria and has joined several fisherman poet events since.
“I think there’s a lot of linkage between cowboys and fisherman, spiritually,” Sullivan said.
Carpenter Clem Starck of Oregon worked in the merchant marine in the 1960s.
“So it’s a real working man’s viewpoint,” Sullivan said.
All five have experience from the high-profile Fisher Poets Gathering held annually in Astoria, Ore., since 1998.
Sullivan, executive director of the Kodiak Maritime Museum, cosponsor of the local event, thinks popular live readings have done a lot to repair a few generations of Americans getting the impressions of the art as dull from English class.
“Poetry done right is quite an enjoyable thing to hear,” he said. “In Astoria the crowds have only gotten bigger.”
Thanks to the inherent romance of commercial fishing, its local relevance and television shows like “The Deadliest Catch,” this particular subgenre has garnered a loyal following.
“I think a lot of people theses days are looking for adventure they don’t have in their own lives, and fisher poets have lots of adventure,” Sullivan said. “It’s stories and poems that really connect to peoples lives.”
The poets will hold a free workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Poets and writers age 12 and up are invited to read and discuss their own work and take part in writing exercises.