Bowen Island poet Jude Neale is an author, vocalist and spoken word performer. She will perform at Alberni Valley Words on Fire on July 8, 2020. (SUBMITTED/ Alberni Valley News)

Island poets take the mic at July’s virtual Words on Fire in Port Alberni

Jude Neale, Joe Lunchbucket bring distinctly different styles to Quite Determined Literary Road Trip

Bowen Island poet Jude Neale will read at Alberni Valley Words on Fire open mic spoken word event on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at 7 p.m.

She will be joined by Port Alberni humourist and playwright Bob “Joe Lunchbucket” Frankow, live online via Zoom teleconferencing. The latest event in a series supported by The Federation of British Columbia Writers brings writers from around B.C. and the Yukon to AVWOF’s home venue, Char’s Landing, via the FBCW’s Quite Determined Literary Road Trip online tour.

“Jude Neale is a very accomplished performer—a Canadian poet, she is a vocalist, spoken word performer and mentor,” said tour organizer Jacqueline Carmichael.

“The author of eight books, Jude publishes frequently in journals, anthologies, and e-zines, and she has been shortlisted, highly commended and finalist for many international competitions,” Carmichael said.

Neale’s book, A Quiet Coming of Light, A Poetic Memoir (Leaf Press) was a finalist for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, which recognizes Canadian female poets.

A poem from Neale’s book, Splendid in its Silence, was featured by Britain’s Poet Laureate on public transit around the Channel Islands. She was a featured reader at the Guernsey International Literary festival, and her EP album, Places Beyond, features collaborative viola/spoken word performances.

Her work with Bonnie Nish started an online collaboration which lead them to write Cantata in Two Voices (Ekstasis Editions), in 50 challenging days.

Neale collaborated with renowned composer and viola player Thomas Beckman for the world premiere of The St. Roch Suite, with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra.

“Zoom has given us an amazing opportunity to hear from poets who might not have been able to join us in person,” Carmichael said.

Neale published A Blooming, (Ekstasis Editions) and We Sing Ourselves Back in 2019. Her eighth book, Impromptu, was launched in earlier this year.

Port Alberni writer Bob “Joe Lunchbucket” Frankow will fill the regional mic spot. Retired from the wood industry, Frankow is a familiar face at Alberni Valley Words on Fire, known for his dry wit and drama-styled riffs on what ails the world.

His own bio, a short poem called Epitaph describes him as “Not butcher, not baker, not easy road taker or snake-oil faker, a square peg in a round hole, no deceit in this bony Quaker.”

Frankow’s one of a number of Alberni Valley residents learning to navigate Zoom when brick-and-mortar doors are closed for safety reasons in the days of the pandemic.

Open mic speakers from the Alberni Valley and further afield (from places like Athens, Georgia) and Washington State are taking to AVWOF’s Zoom open mic. They can sign up prior to the event online at, and there are usually a handful of spaces available before the event in Zoom.

The former church building that now houses Port Alberni venue Char’s Landing now plays host to the Zoomed AVWOF events with emcee Stephen Novik.

For additional information about the event, see

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