Got Fish? Seafood Survey

Our friends at Sal­ish Sea Sus­tain­able have cre­ated a sur­vey on seafood con­sump­tion, seek­ing infor­ma­tion on what peo­ple look for in buy­ing seafood, with an empha­sis on salmon. If you have a moment to par­tic­i­pate — truly, it’s a quick one! — the sur­vey is avail­able here.  Thanks for your time and thoughts.

Read More

Live from the FisherPoets Gathering!

It’s a mag­i­cal day in Asto­ria, Ore­gon: sun on the side­walks, fes­tive chop on the Colum­bia. I’m tucked in the Blue Scorcher Bak­ery (try the car­damom rolls), an intro­vert on glo­ri­ous over­load, try­ing to steal an hour of quiet time to recharge. Red lapel pins reveal the kin­dred spir­its sur­round­ing me — the $15 but­tons our entry into all seven venues — and we exchange know­ing smiles and eager reviews of last night’s favorite per­for­mances, rec­om­men­da­tions of who we’ll catch tonight. We’re two days in the 18th Annual Fish­er­Po­ets Gath­er­ing, and I’m in love with every­one and everything.

Join us tonight from the com­fort of your home, thanks to KMUN Coast Com­mu­nity Radio’s live-stream from the Asto­ria Events Cen­ter. The show runs 5:00 to 10:00 PST. (Review the full sched­ule below; you can catch Joel and me in the 7:00 hour.) Click on “Lis­ten to KMUN/KTCB.” You’ll have a good time, I think.


Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 28 at the Asto­ria Event Cen­ter
(with trans­la­tion by ASL inter­preters)
MC  Dave Densmore

5  p.m.
Dave Dens­more, Asto­ria OR
Sean Tal­bot, Port­land OR
Wayne Chi­menti, Port Townsend WA

6  p.m.
Hobe Kytr, Asto­ria OR
Will Hornyak, Port­land OR
Lor­rie Haight, Long Beach WA

7  p.m.
Brian Robert­son, Pow­ell River BC
Tele Aad­sen, Belling­ham WA
Joel Brady-Power, Belling­ham WA

8  p.m.
Paul Holm­berg, Palmer AK
Don Pep­per, Alert Bay BC
Jen Pick­ett, Jyväskylä, Suomi

9  p.m.
Bil­lie Delaney, Port Townsend WA
Steve Schoon­maker, Kasilof AK
Lou Beaudry, McCall ID

10  p.m.
Dave Dens­more, Asto­ria OR
On-site Poem Con­test fol­lows at 10:30
(2015 rules announced by MCs at venues)



Read More

Fear, Art, and Love in the Canadian Rockies

Head down, I watch my snow boots creep across the lake, one shuffle-step at a time. Joel doesn’t shuf­fle. He hus­tles, hunched beneath his cam­era bag as he rushes for a dis­tant spot of blue. Ice wiped clean by the wind: the per­fect frame to lead into the fast-approaching sun­set. It’s neg­a­tive three degrees. As I mur­mur into the scarf swathing my face, words form frosty pel­lets in the fibers. I can do this. I can do this. A chant intended for my ears only, the lake responds. Bu-BUM. A deep drum beat, issued from some­where far below. A heart­beat, so much stead­ier than my own.

A half-mile east, tents and propane heaters dot the lake as ice fish­er­men jig for trout. Two of them, John and Ymir, assured me the ice is safe – eleven inches thick. My fear isn’t ratio­nal, yet it’s real. Every step ter­ri­fies me. I fol­low every step with another.


We’re end­ing 2014 with a five day road trip in the Cana­dian Rock­ies. Joel comes up here every win­ter. It’s a sacred place for him; he sang Hozier’s Take Me to Church as we drove the Ice­fields Park­way. This is the first time I’ve joined him. There’s always been some rea­son not to: busy writ­ing Hooked’s pro­posal, busy writ­ing the first draft, busy. I’ve always sent him off with a kiss and wishes to be safe, get some good shots.

Now that I’m finally here with him, I’m learn­ing that “be safe” and “get some good shots” aren’t nec­es­sar­ily com­pat­i­ble goals, and we have dif­fer­ing per­cep­tions of risk. We spent our first after­noon scout­ing sun­set in a mountain-bordered meadow out­side of Jasper. Joel crashed through tes­sel­la­tions of creeks with­out hes­i­ta­tion. I cringed at every crack.

That night, I didn’t keep walk­ing. I dug my heels into a tuffet of trust­wor­thy earth, unwill­ing to go any far­ther, and waved him on. The tree-line on the far side of the field wel­comed him with boughs extended, hold­ing the day’s remain­ing light in green arms full of snow. Back­lit, he appeared dark, an impres­sion of imper­me­abil­ity that was as mis­lead­ing as the sun dog we’d seen ear­lier in the day. Joel is trans­par­ent. He’d wanted so much to share his beloved moun­tains with me, secretly hop­ing their spirit would move me as it does him, that won­der and joy would sur­pass anx­i­ety and dis­com­fort. That I would make his faith my own. Instead we watched the sun­set from sep­a­rate view­points – Joel crouched behind his cam­era at his cho­sen com­po­si­tion, me pac­ing a labyrinth of uncom­fort­able ques­tions. Where are the lines between being there for the per­son you love, and being there for your­self? Expand­ing your com­fort zones, and hon­or­ing your bound­aries? By the time the last embers of color had faded from the peaks above, I’d stomped a hol­low of answers into the snow. I couldn’t read any of them.

Back in Jasper, we talked about our dif­fer­ing reac­tions to the out­ing. It wasn’t any­thing out of the ordi­nary for Joel. The land­scape pho­tog­ra­phers he most admires all work alone in remote set­tings, explor­ing the fringes of the day by head­lamp. My fear baf­fled him. “They were just lit­tle streams; the worst that could hap­pen is you’d get a wet foot.” He won­dered aloud if there’s any­thing I love that scares him. If there’s any­thing I chase the way he chases pho­tos – charg­ing onward to a des­ti­na­tion known only to me, unfazed, while he won­ders why I would pos­si­bly choose to do such a thing. Why I would need to.

Three days later, I am still hear­ing my response, a steady­ing echo behind this lake’s heart­beat and my own. Writ­ing. I believe in sto­ries like Joel believes in moun­tains: lean­ing on them, grate­ful to have found one thing solid enough to hold me up. It wasn’t a sur­pris­ing answer, nor was it what Joel had meant. He’d been look­ing for a phys­i­cal par­al­lel, like the way he delights in scam­per­ing steep ridges and I defin­i­tively do not. But it was a true answer, and like a bone glint­ing in a wound, the true­ness of it mes­mer­ized me. It has dogged my heels through every pre-dawn hike and hill­side scram­ble in the days since, and now, shuffle-stepping my way across this eleven inch ice on a med­i­ta­tion of art, fear, and love.

Joel and I are both artists. Whether by image or by words, we both have a need to cap­ture and share our expe­ri­ences of the world around us. But there’s a dif­fer­ence between his art and mine, and it’s as sig­nif­i­cant as the dif­fer­ence between eleven inches and one. Joel sug­gests I sit these mis­sions out. Know­ing where his next shoot will take him – know­ing how I’ll react – he says sleep in, stay in the motel, we’ll meet up in a cof­fee shop after. I shake my head, unwill­ing to accept kind­ness I can’t return. As a mem­oirist, I tread across ice far less sta­ble than this. I agree to be vul­ner­a­ble, risk­ing expo­sure, judg­ment, shame, for the relief of an hon­est, scary sen­tence – and in doing so, I yank my loved ones onto the ice with me. My art doesn’t include an opt-out. That’s why I’m still walk­ing. Know­ing the priv­i­lege of the option to turn back, I force myself to go on.

Drag­ging my gaze up from my boots, I study my sweet­heart. He’s a char­coal log in the dis­tance, shoot­ing low, lying on his belly to peer through the viewfinder. He can hold this posi­tion for hours. Never com­plain­ing about the cold, never los­ing patience. Fully engaged with his art and him­self. Leav­ing renewed, soul-fed, even if he doesn’t end up with a great shot. This is how I want to know my part­ner, even when I don’t under­stand what he does. Even when it scares me.

He’s spent the past few years teach­ing me how to know him this way. My writ­ing has scared him. He doesn’t always under­stand the places I’m will­ing to go – the places I feel I have to go. But he’s never sug­gested I not write. He’s stood by my art, know­ing my deci­sion to expose my life means expos­ing his.


The sun fiz­zles with­out any of the flam­boy­ance Joel had hoped for. He packs away his cam­era and folds up his tri­pod, and together we walk back to the shore. We talk about what a beau­ti­ful evening it was any­way, and how eager we are for din­ner at the brew­ery next to our motel. My body moves more agree­ably, head­ing towards land.

We’ve just got­ten back to the car when Joel notices a pur­ple edge scal­lop­ing the west­ern hori­zon. “Oh, shit. Is that going to spread?” He stares, wait­ing to see if the rib­bon will unfurl, and glances back to the ice.

Go.” I prod him. “You have to go.”

Curs­ing him­self for hav­ing left his spot too soon, he tears back down the snowy slope and across the lake. This time I stay on the bank, and I watch with a smile.


Joel Brady-Power, Vermillion Lakes


To see some of the shots Joel got from this trip, visit Joel Brady-Power/500px and Joel Brady-Power Pho­tog­ra­phy



Read More