The FisherPoets are Back for the 22nd Year!

By Ann Powers | Wednesday, February 6, 2019

This event is just too much fun and way too unique to pass over. I wanted to give you a generous heads up to make sure you save the date.

The wildly popular and highly-anticipated FisherPoets Gathering anchors down in Astoria, February 22-24. Poetry, prose and song celebrate the commercial fishing industry in this annual event that has been attracting scores of fisherpoets and their groupies to the seaside community since 1998.

Event Founder Jon Broderick, a commercial salmon fisherman since 1976, said it all started with a phone call to a few friends in the commercial fishing fleet to see if they wanted to get together for a reunion. Today it brings hundreds of poets, songwriters and storytellers from fishing communities nationwide to Astoria’s pubs, restaurants and galleries, where they gather and tell their tales. Broderick likens it to “a big holiday for people who are far flung but close knit.”

Fisherpoets are set to take the helm on center stage at Astoria venues including the Astoria Brewing Co., Voodoo Room, Labor Temple Diner and Bar, Fort George Brewery’s Lovell Showroom, Columbian Theater, KALA performance gallery and Liberty Theatre.

Their stuff is so good, that not only has the gathering received rave reviews and major attention from worldwide media like The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine and the BBC (just to name a few) – the U.S. Library of Congress recognizes the FisherPoets Gathering as a Local Legacy project. In addition, the event is responsible for launching the genre known as "fisherpoetry."

The two-day gathering also offers a variety of workshops at the Columbia River Maritime Museum's Barbey Maritime Center, Clatsop Community College's Patriot Hall, Studio 11 and Pier 39 on topics such as empowering maritime women, perfecting writing and performing, protecting Bristol Bay's watershed, exploring Scottish fishing culture, chafing mat weaving, knot tying and line splicing.

Additionally, there will be story and singing circles, music, photo exhibits, videos, a poetry contest and visual art crafted by fisherpoets themselves displayed at galleries throughout town. And don’t miss your chance to take a self-guided tour of the Hanthorn Cannery, the oldest fish processing plant remaining on the lower Columbia River. It’s filled with a collection of historic equipment and documents.

While you're visiting all of these restaurants, pubs and galleries to listen to verse and lyrics, you'll have plenty of opportunities for eating, drinking and shopping too. It's all part of the experience and a great way to spend the weekend. 

Event buttons are good for admission all weekend. They're $15 and available at the door. You can also purchase them at venues and businesses the week of the Gathering and at the FisherPoets Gathering Gearshack on Commercial Street.

If you’re looking for a good excuse to escape to the coast anytime soon, this is it! For a complete schedule of events, the fisherpoets line up and other details, go here

You can also listen to the FisherPoets Gathering live performances at the Astoria Event Center by tuning to KMUN at 91.9 FM or streaming on the web.

Directions to FisherPoets Gathering:

Astoria is near the mouth of the Columbia River.  Take U.S. Highway 101 north or south, or follow Highway 30 west from Portland. It’s about one hour and 30 minutes from Portland and three hours from Seattle. FisherPoet venues can be found up and down Marine Drive and Commercial Street.

For other memorable North Oregon Coast events, attractions and activities, make sure to check our Daytime Events, Nightlife and Community listings. 

All Photos by Pat Dixon

About the Author Ann Powers
Ann Powers is a reporter and writer who has lived and worked on the Oregon Coast. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and currently working on her master's degree in multimedia journalism at the University of Oregon's Portland campus. Originally from Wisconsin, she now calls Oregon home, describing it as, "the Midwest of the Pacific Northwest," due to its dairy-state status, beautiful environment and friendly people.