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Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian
Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"The Work" takes place at noon today/ Leah Jackson honors Christopher Luna's sefvice to the poetry community

Please join me at noon today for “The Work,” my monthly poetry workshop at Niche in Vancouver. If you haven’t stopped into Niche yet, you should know that it has quickly become the coolest place to hang out in the ‘Couve. Niche is located at 1013 Main Street, just north of the Kiggins Theater. Today we will use the work of Saul Williams, Grace Paley, William Stafford, Galway Kinnell, and Michael McClure as inspiration for our writing and discussion.

Thanks to everyone who attended Thursday night’s open mic poetry reading at Niche. We are fortunate to have the support of Leah Jackson as the Ghost Town Poetry tour continues. The lineup included a lively mix of old and new friends, including a few first-timers and Kiefer Peh, a rapper who I recently met at the open mic at Barnes and Noble Vancouver. One of the reasons that I am so glad that I met Kiefer is that there are still some out there who don’t believe that rap is poetry. I am grateful to Kiefer for helping us to set them straight.

I was surprised to see Mel Sanders, owner of Cover to Cover Books (, who came out to support the women of the VoiceCatcher collective. Mel informed the crowd that while the bookstore is being rebuilt after a recent fire, she is taking orders through ABE Books ( You can also send an email to So if you’d like to thank Mel for her years of service to the local poetry community, and help her get back on her feet, order your Christmas gifts through her.

Toni Partington did a great job of organizing and hosting the Voice Catcher 5 book launch. It was wonderful to hear from some of the writers and artists who are in the anthology, including a few women for whom Voice Catcher 5 is their first publishing credit. Thanks also to those VoiceCatcher editors and board members who were present.

After the reading, my friend and fellow community organizer Leah Jackson honored me by announcing her decision to name me the poet laureate of her businesses, Angst Gallery and Niche Wine and Art Bar. She made this decision to acknowledge my seven years of service to the local poetry community as a teacher, event organizer, mentor, and the host of the popular open mic reading series at Cover to Cover Books. Leah Jackson and I have organized several events together at both Sixth Street Gallery (where she was the director from October 2004 - October 2007) and Angst Gallery. These included a 50th Anniversary reading of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” which I arranged for 14 voices, July’s exhibit and performances celebrating “To Be Named,” the collaborative travel poem and art book I created with Toni Partington and David Madgalene, and “Words,” an exhibit that showcased text-based art.

Christopher Luna and Leah Jackson
at July's First Friday celebration for
To Be Named and Other Works of Poetic License
an art book by Christopher Luna, David Madgalene, and Toni Partington

Jackson has charged me with developing several projects, beginning with a contest seeking submissions for lines of poetry to be printed on a limited edition set of coasters for Niche. Please send no more than five lines of poetry to me via no later than February 1. The contest will be judged by Leah Jackson, Toni Partington, and myself. There will be ten winners, each of whom will have their lines printed on a coaster to be used in the bar.

It is my intention to use this opportunity to expand our service to the community, and to help those who are not writers understand why we love poetry so much, and why we find it essential.

Here is Leah Jackson’s statement about why she has decided to honor me in this way: “As the proprietor of Angst and Niche it is my honor to appoint Christopher Luna as poet laureate for my businesses for the year 2011. I have created this position to call attention to the art of poetry, a branch of the arts that can be easy to overlook. Christopher has the skill and the dedication to this art that will allow us to pursue poetry focused projects in Vancouver, the city that I choose to call home. In the following year, Christopher will work on three poetry-based projects. These projects will be funded by Niche. It is my hope that this is just the beginning of the exciting work that will be done. Thank you to Christopher Luna for accepting this position.”

Finally, here is the Vancouver Voice's announcement of my new position, poetically entitled "Laureate Luna:"

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