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Funding for printing the seven-book fisherpoet anthology of original poetry, prose and songs of commercial fishermen and women.
Funding for printing the seven-book fisherpoet anthology of original poetry, prose and songs of commercial fishermen and women.
154 backers pledged $12,603 to help bring this project to life.

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         THE FISHERPOETS ANTHOLOGY: ANCHORED IN DEEP WATER

                       ( Scroll DOWN for photos of the cover artwork )

"[Fisherpoets] might wax about the versatility of a deck bucket or of romance in rubber boots, but they also describe a livelihood that can kill those who pursue it."                                                            - NY Times, March 3, 2009 

Commercial fishing is an industry in the midst of extreme change. Many of the traditional fisheries of the 20th century have already disappeared due to conflicts over allocation, the degradation of habitat and the advent of technology. Many of the old techniques and methods are gone or are fast drifting out with the tide. The FisherPoets Gathering, an annual event at the end of each February in Astoria, Oregon for the past 17 years, has been a way for fishermen themselves to chronicle these changes and the attending issues and the stories they inspire. The Gathering brings together scores of writers, poets and musicians each year to perform their work celebrating the commercial fishing industry throughout the United States and abroad on the stages of Astoria's taverns, restaurants, museums and art galleries. Covered by such respected publications as the NY Times and Smithsonian magazine, the Gathering continues to entertain and attract audiences because the world it describes is a mythical place for so many people. Creating an anthology of the writings of fishermen and women is to create a unique and significant record of commercial fishing's history and culture. It is one important way to preserve their voices.

Patrick Dixon and Chelsea Stephen have edited and designed Anchored in Deep Water: The Fisherpoets Anthology, seven books of original poetry, songs and stories written by commercial fishermen and women who have performed at the Fisherpoets Gathering. This is the first comprehensive collection of fisherpoetry in over a decade. While this printed anthology can only provide a glimpse of the spoken word performances at the event itself, the books catalogue a rich history of the event and of the commercial fishing industry itself. The books are thematically organized: Every Boat Has a Wave deals with risk and survival at sea; Illusions of Separateness deals with the politics and environment of the fishing world; Making Waves is filled with stories by and about women in the fishery; Gathering chronicles the community and camaraderie inherent in commercial fishing; Family Dynamic speaks to the family issues commercial fishing inspires; For the Love of Fish chronicles the reasons fishermen go to sea; and the final book, Mending Holes, which is still in the works, is about the history of commercial fishing. 

Nearly 40 writers are represented in the anthology, from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine on the east coast to Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California in the west. One poet hails from Hawaii, another from Japan. Several of the writers have (different) stories or poems in multiple books. Each book is 50+ pages long, with original cover designs created by Portland, Oregon artist Chelsea Stephen and photographs by fisher poet and photographer Patrick Dixon. The books will be made available singly or as a complete, "boxed" (more like a sleeve) set. 

We are seeking funding for the printing and distribution costs of 300 copies of each book (that's 2100 books) as well as 200 sleeves. We are offering fine-art, archival prints as rewards with the books for larger donations. 

Every Boat Has a Wave: Risk and Survival
Every Boat Has a Wave: Risk and Survival
Illusions of Separateness: Politics & the Environment
Illusions of Separateness: Politics & the Environment
Making Waves: Women in the industry
Making Waves: Women in the industry
Gathering: Community and Camaraderie
Gathering: Community and Camaraderie
Family Dynamic: Family Issues in the commercial fishing world
Family Dynamic: Family Issues in the commercial fishing world
For the Love of Fish: The Work of Commercial Fishing
For the Love of Fish: The Work of Commercial Fishing
Mending Holes: The History of commercial fishing
Mending Holes: The History of commercial fishing

Risks and challenges

Six of the books are completely ready to go to press. The seventh book has the writings selected and the layout started, but still needs to be completed and assembled. The "box" (again, which is more like a sleeve) is in the design stage. Once those pieces are in place, the biggest challenge will be to get the project printed and the rewards distributed to our backers. Please don't expect distribution until fall of 2014.

Chelsea lives in Portland, Oregon and Patrick lives in Olympia, Washington, and we communicate frequently and travel between our locales often. Putting the final pieces together should be easy for us, but mailing everything will take time.

Please understand that if we don't raise the $10,000 we have set for our goal by midnight the 30th of April (which is National Poetry Month), we don't get any money at all! That doesn't mean we will give up trying to fund the project, but it does mean the project will be delayed by many months. So please help us reach our goal by not only donating (and thank you so much for your generosity), but by spreading the word to your network of folks via email, word-of-mouth and social media. Thanks again for your support!!

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