Alta Picks: FisherPoets Gathering

Music, poetry, “strong women,” and “good-looking men” gather for an Oregon fishermen’s tradition.

fisherpoets gathering, linda crider
FisherPoets Gathering

Linda Crider of Cordova, Alaska, performs at a previous FisherPoets Gathering.

Every February since 1998, a collection of “deckhands and skippers, cannery workers and shipwrights, young greenhorns and old timers, strong women and good-looking men” have gathered at the misty patch of earth where the Columbia meets the Pacific to share the poetry and music of their trade. The FisherPoets Gathering is one of Astoria, Oregon’s most magical events; in a normal year, poets inhabiting every niche of the commercial fishing industry come together for a cozy weekend of craft and carousing into the night as the fog rolls in and the temperature drops. This year, like just about everything, it’s going to be a different experience. FisherPoets Gathering planning committee member Jon Broderick reports that thus far the only things known are the dates—February 26–28—and the location: the internet. It will likely be free, he says, and it will comprise several sessions of fisherpoets tuning in from wherever that weekend happens to find them. One benefit is that distance will, for once, be no problem for members of a profession that is sometimes itinerant. The gathering has one goal for this strange year: “for our fisherpoet community to gather as we are able and to hear something creative from everyone.” You can keep abreast of the evolving program at the event’s website and watch from your own home. If 2020 is anything to go by, we’ll need comradery, poetry, and song in 2021 more than ever.

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