I’ve sent a poem off to the Poem Gallery at the downtown library in Nanaimo and you can too by March 15, 2014. You do have to live in a community served by a branch of Vancouver Island Regional Library. That’s a region that extends  from Haida Gwaii all the way down to Sooke, near Victoria. It doesn’t include Greater Victoria or the southern Gulf Islands.

If you’re not in the specific area, why not start your own poem gallery? It could be done with your local library or there may be a vacant store that would benefit from a colourful array of poems.

The first Poem Gallery in Nanaimo was a brilliant community undertaking by Nanaimo poet Kim Goldberg in 2008. Poems were displayed on 8-1/2 by 11 sheets of paper in the window of an empty store on Wallace Street. The Harbourfront branch of VIRL liked the idea and continued the tradition by creating a Poem Gallery in the windows facing Diana Krall Plaza in downtown Nanaimo. The poems are changed annually during National Poetry Month which is April. This year, 2014, marks the 16th National Poetry Month in Canada.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEveryone is welcome to attend the launch of the Poem Gallery on April 6, 2014 at 1 p.m. at the Harbourfront branch of the library. All poets who can make it will read the poems on display. Kim Goldberg will be emcee. It’s always fun to hear the poems and to meet the poets, many of whom come great distances to read their poem or poems. (You can submit two.) So do try to come to the launch whether you’ve sent in a poem or not.

If you’re submitting a poem to the library, keep this theme in mind: Change. Kim says: “This can be any kind of change your imagination latches on to – a change in scene or season, a change of heart or outlook, changing partners, changing locks, changing a flat tire, or changing your mind. We are looking for poems on any kind of metamorphosis or shift from one state to another. Or perhaps the word ‘change’ inspires thoughts of political change, social change – even spare change. All fine!”

You can send one or two short poems on the theme of change to Anthony Martin at amartin@virl.bc.ca. Put the words “Poem Gallery” in the subject of line of your email. Each poem with its title and your name must fit on a single sheet of paper when the font is enlarged to 16 pt for easy reading in the window.

Now there are some nice writing prompts for you even if you can’t submit poems to this particular Poem Gallery. As you walk about your own community, visualize poems in the window of a store or perhaps an organization where you can become partners in poems.