oxygen logo

Oxygen Art Centre




Dark Times Come Again No More

Tom Wayman + John Lent

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

7:00 PM (PST)


            Poetry and music take on the dark times Canadians are living through when Winlaw, B.C. author Tom Wayman and Vernon, B.C. author and musician John Lent present “Dark Times Come Again No More” on Zoom to kick off National Poetry Month at Nelson, B.C.’s Oxygen Art Centre on Wed., March 31.

            The event begins at 7 p.m. Those interested in attending need to R.S.V.P. by emailing info@oxygenartcentre.org to receive the Zoom link and accompanying event information. The reading is free and everyone welcome to attend. Donations are encouraged: $2 – $5 via Oxygen’s CanadaHelps page.

Oxygen Art Centre, at 320 Vernon St. (alley entrance), is Nelson’s only artist-run centre. Oxygen programming in a variety of artistic disciplines supports local professional-level artists and engages the wider community.

            The March 31 event revives a launch planned for last April for Wayman’s then-new collection from B.C.’s Harbour Publishing, Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems For a Dark Time.

            “The dark time the poems in that volume speak about wasn’t the pandemic, though the pandemic has exposed in more detail much of what the poems explore,” Wayman said. “We’re living through an era in which we’re experiencing a huge and ever-widening gap between rich and poor. Meanwhile, our area and the country as a whole are being steadily de-industrialized, and every large institution and enterprise acts more and more dysfunctional. Factor in personal debt, Canadian troops constantly at war overseas, and climate change, and you’ve got dark times indeed.

            “Music and poetry, though, are traditionally up to the challenge of dark times, and that’s what we aim to show on March 31.”

            Wayman’s recent books include a collection of his Slocan Valley short stories, The Shadows We Mistake For Love, which won the 2016 Diamond Foundation Prize for fiction. His previous books of poems include Dirty Snow, winner of the 2013 Acorn-Plantos Award. A poem of his in the new book won the 2017 Confederation Poets Prize from Arc magazine.

            Lent is a perennial Nelson favorite as musician and author, stretching back to 1973-74 when he and his brother Harry Lent performed together for a year at the Sub Pub belonging to the students’ association of Nelson’s Notre Dame University, where John formerly taught English.

            In the Okanagan Valley, he has performed for more than 20 years in the folk/jazz/blues ensemble, the Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio, among other musical groups. His latest CD, Strange Ground, was released in September 2019. Highlight of his long career as an educator was serving five years as dean of the Vernon campus of Okanagan College. Lent most recently read in Nelson from a new book of his poems from Thistledown Press, A Matins Flywheel, at the Nelson Public Library in October 2019.

            The March 31 event is partially supported by the National Poetry Month program of the Canada Council for the Arts and the League of Canadian Poets.

            Other National Poetry Month programming at Oxygen includes the online courses April Poetry Challenge: 30 Days, 30 Poems with Rayya Liebich, and Reading and Writing Rilke with Susan Andrews Grace. For more information and to register: www.oxygenartcentre.org under the “Classes” tab.



Contact: Julia Prudhomme, Executive Director, Oxygen Art Centre: info@oxygenartcentre.org, 250-352-6322

Tom Wayman: appledor@netidea.com; 250-226-7390

CUTLINES: Tom Wayman (credit: Rod Currie), John Lent [above]

CUTLINE: “Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back,” Tom Wayman, book cover [below]