Beat(nik) the winter blues at NIC

Comox Valley Poet Laureate Natalie Nickerson hosts a beatnik-themed open mic and Dada poetry workshop, Friday, February 23, 6:30-9 pm at NIC’s Tyee Lounge as part of NIC’s Write Here Readers Series.

Join NIC in welcoming Comox Valley Poet Laureate and NIC alumni Natalie Nickerson to its Comox Valley campus Friday, Feb. 23 for a beatnik-themed open mic and Dada poetry workshop.

The free public reading takes place at NIC’s Tyee Lounge starting at 6:30 pm. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Nickerson, who has served as Comox Valley Poet Laureate since March 2017, was inspired to host this event as a way to beat the winter blues and introduce the public to experimental forms of verse.

On a recent vacation in Mexico, she found herself travelling the same Guanajuato roads that sixties beatniks Neal Cassady, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac once frequented. When she returned from vacation, their books became her refuge from a cold, rainy Comox Valley winter.

“Hunkering down with non-conformist literature seems to be the next best thing to ultra-violet rays and who better at rejecting social norms than the Beatniks?” she said. “That’s when I decided to host an event — to get hip with the hep-cats and inject some life into the party.”

Nickerson will be sharing examples of famous beatnik poetry and encouraging attendees to create their own experimental verse in an interactive Dada workshop inspired by the writings of William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Diane di Prima and Jack Kerouac.

Dada poetry, made famous by Burroughs, ranges from sound poems that use phonetics to create verse without words, to cut-ups where the words of a story are literally cut up, put in a bag, shaken and copied onto the page in a new order.

“I find winter to be a difficult season,” said Nickerson. “By sharing some excerpts and giving attendees an opportunity to create and share some of their own work I aspire to re-animate hope.”

This event, which will include a cash bar, is part of NIC’s Write Here Readers Series, which brings a wide range of local and well-known Canadian authors to campus, offering students and community members the opportunity to hear from some of Canada’s top writers.

Each semester, NIC offers a wide selection of university transferrable English and creative writing courses, many of which are available at reduced rates to learners ages 55+ through NIC’s Joy of Lifelong Learning program. To find out more about NIC’s programs and courses visit

The Write Here Readers Series continues with Can’t Lit podcasters Dina Del Bucchia and Daniel Zomparelli on March 1 and award-winning poet Jordan Abel on April 5.

For more information on this event or the Write Here Readers Series, visit or contact series organizer Nick Van Orden at

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