On the West Coast of Vancouver Island, on a floathouse about twenty minutes from Tofino, lives my friend, Christine Lowther. She is one of the most interesting and talented women I have ever met.The float. Christine Lowther photo.
Chris is a true poet. You can see the poems in her dreamy eyes. Chris has three books to her credit, so far: A Cabin in Clayoquot, (memoir), New Power, (poems), and an anthology entitled Writing the West Coast: In Love With Place, co-edited and co-authored with Anita Sinner. Chris and Anita are currently looking for a publisher for a second anthology, on West Coast identities, titled Living Artfully: Reflections From the Far West Coast. Her second volume of poems, My Nature, is coming out this October.
Chris explains: "The title is meant to mean my character, as well as the nature I live in half the year. I also have an urban side to me, a punk rocker that loves dancing and clubbing and excitement. Many of the poems in My Nature also reveal how sometimes I feel quite bleak and negative, despite where I am. It's realism rather than idealism I hope."
The publisher's link to this volume describes it best at:
I plan to be at the book launch and will report back!
Chris is a protector of the environment, who lives to a conscientious standard that I admire greatly. When Chris requested no styrofoam on her package one day, the store clerk said, "Oh, you can just throw that away." Chris blazed back, "There's no such place as Away."
Christine was on the blockades in the Walbran Valley in '91, and was arrested in Clayoquot Sound in '92. She puts herself on the line for what she believes. Some of us try to do this. Chris succeeds. (Here Chris interjects in capital letters: "Sherry, remember you were at the blockades too!")
Chris is the youngest daughter of the late celebrated poet, Pat Lowther, whose work is still vibrantly alive.
Since the 1997 publication of Time Capsule, a volume of poems found years after her untimely death in 1975, Pat's work has enjoyed a resurgence. This past June, Chris was invited by the League of Canadian Poets to sit on a panel in Toronto celebrating what would have been Pat Lowther's 75th birthday.
The annual Pat Lowther award for poetry was awarded at this event as well. In her mother's honor, Christine gave a presentation: In Celebration of Pat Lowther: A Daughter's Collage. Here is an excerpt from that offering:
I wish she were here, that her tenure as chair of the League had not been interrupted, that she could visit me at my floathouse and write about the wonders she would have seen there every day: from mink, martens, otters and bears to jellyfish, sunflower sea stars and dendronotids. She should have been allowed to live. She should have been allowed to write.
She communes with hummingbirds, with herons, with plants, with sea life. Look at these, all taken by Chris (and grown by her!):
Sometimes she has visitors: a marten, a seal, a river otter, the occasional bear lumbering along the shore. Sometimes the bay fills with moon-jellyfish. I know it is magical to boat out of the bay through their millions of bodies, for I have done it.
Photo by Chris Lowther
In 2002 Anne Henderson made a film called Water Marks about Chris and Beth's lives, reflecting on their mother's life and untimely death. It can be found in libraries and from the National Film Network.