Fraser Valley Poets Society

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    A Poets Passion Revisited by T. M. Broadworth - A collection of personal writings and photo art celebrating the complexities of life.

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    A Familiar Shore by Emily Isaccson. Stories of four women told in poetry, parable and myth

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    Calendar by Violet Nesdoly. Contains over 50 poems that explore the rhythms of the year, nature, life & the family. FREE! Click on image for details.

  • A Poetic Kaleidoscope

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    A Poetic Kaleidoscope by T. W. Goodrich: "... something for all readers: short, long, deep, simple, painful, and hopeful poems" - Reviewer (Click on image for details.)

  • the space between the eyes

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    A first collection by Nicholas Roberts, the space between the eyes contains over 50 poems. Click on image for details.

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    Hours From A Convent by Emily Isaacson. Poems from the perspective of a young nun. Click on image for details.

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About Us

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Fraser Valley Poets Society (Formerly MSA PPS – Matsqui-Sumas-Abbotsford Poets Potpourri Society, the name of the society was officially changed in May of 2014.)

2016 Board of Directors (as of the October 24, 2016 AGM):

President – Brayden Sawatzky
Vice President – To be appointed from the Members at Large
Secretary – Terry Broadworth
Treasurer – Ted Goodrich
Members at large – Surjeet Kalsey, Miya Fontaine


Donna Bishop: Founder/Honorary Member
Thurlow Gowan: Honorary Member
Alvin Ens: Honorary Member
Jaye Low: Honorary Member

FVPS  is a poetry reading club based in Abbotsford. Founded in 1981 by Donna Bishop (see history below), it has, for over 25 years, provided a venue to local writers, largely poets, to give birth and voice to their best thoughts.

The Goals of Fraser Valley Poets Society:

    • Develop the skill of public reading for writers, both novices and journeymen, by providing a safe atmosphere in which to read their work
    • Encourage poets, writers and would-be writers to devote time to write and create
    • Help writers hone their craft through workshops and lectures
    • Collaborate on group literary projects
    • Promote the art of poetry in our community through public readings
    • Celebrate the life of the community through poems for special occasions
    • Raise awareness that the act of writing poetry and prose can heal emotions and elevate self-esteem

FVPS Regular Meetings:

  • Click on the Events tab for dates of upcoming open mics, Blue Moon readings, book launches, etc.

Membership in the Fraser Valley Poets Society

The Fraser Valley Poets Society welcomes new members:

Annually $15.00. Annual fees due and payable each November 30th for the upcoming year.

1. Promote the well-being and growth of FVPS.
2. Be regular in attendance at FVPS activities, especially open mics and Blue Moon readings.
3. Attend and vote at the annual AGM.
4. Be involved in FVPS activities and FVPS participation in community events (eg. manning a promotional table or a sales table or bringing snack/goodies)

1. Join FVPS and get a membership card as a member of a local poets’ group.
2. Be assured of a spot to read whenever FVPS has an open mic. (Be on time, please)
3. Be profiled and publish 2-4 poems on the FVPS website.
4. Be assured a spot in FVPS poetry publications.
5. Sell your books at the FVPS sales table.
6. Reduction of 20% in the purchase of any FVPS sales. (This means that when members ask FVPS to conduct sales for them that the 20% would apply though they can set the original price.)
[e.g. River of Words sells for $15.00 but members will buy it for $12.00.]
7. Vote at FVPS elections and run for FVPS office.
8. Help FVPS make decisions at the AGM and periodic meetings.
9. Attend the annual FVPS Christmas function (and invite your guest).
10. Buy a FVPS constitution for the cost of printing.


“Who would have thought that Donna Bishop would be finding and quoting inspiration found in a Nike slogan for a writer’s group that she herself founded? Then again, Donna did pen the name Poets Potpourri Society.” – Erin Fisher

Excerpts from “The Donna Bishop Journey with Poets Potpourri Society”

“Greatness is wherever someone is trying to find it.” – Nike

The most important aspect of my journey is that it has been fulfilling, but it would not have been so without everyone who participated. Thanks to all who gave of time and talent in special ways.

Poetry is one of my passions. My influence was from homestead farming parents who both recited. From Mom it was Pauline Johnston; Dad recited Longfellow, The Village Blacksmith at community events, even at political rallies. I became mesmerized by the sound of the human voice. During my teens I was chosen to enter the then popular Kiwanis Festivals in Lethbridge, Alberta during the 1930’s, reciting from the Master Poets.

I did not initiate the Poets Potpourri with the attitude “I am a poet,” but rather as one ready to learn with the Group. I simply saw a way, a need, as a recently widowed senior. I could give to a cause, provide podiums, and audiences – open mics, once a month for the vulnerable youth to realize that the pen is mightier than the sword; Words, instead of substance use and violence.

After almost a near decade as a Club, Poets Potpourri applied for society status. On April 4, 1990 we were officially the MSA (Matsqui-Sumas-Abbotsford) Poets Potpourri Society. Fast forward to today, we are with our 12th President, Brayden Sawatzky in his fourth year term.  His recent book of stories in poetry is called A Breath of Light a refreshing read which he edited. Layout, formatting and cover design by Alvin Ens, our main anthology and history research developer. Contact

Although the vision for initiating Poets Potpourri Society (PPS) was for the youth, because it was mostly college students in the early years who participated, at the same time my aim was to provide special events for out-of-town, seasoned writers and readers. Our first was in 1982, after one year of monthly open mics, Poets Potpourri hosted a UBC English Lit Poet and a Gastown, Vancouver poet at a cabaret-style Christmas Party. You can read more in our 25th Year Tribute edited by Alvin in Poetic Spirits of the Valley.

Our second event was in 1989 held at Charisma Gallery, Abbotsford, with Michelle Birch-Conery and Derek Hanebury via the Knowledge Network, both hailing from North Island College, Port Alberni, BC.

Our third special event took place at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, Abbotsford in 1996. Heavy public relations and press brought committed poets from everywhere. We had hosted one of our most successful varieties of seasoned writers and readers who all fulfilled their commitment; however, attendance was poor, due, in large part, to being boycotted.

However, by 2005, after a low period, Hernan Bravo initiated a relationship with Balbir Gill and Clearbrook Library to draw the ethnicity of the community through contacts with International Poetry Cafe of Vancouver. Due to Hernan’s absences in his native homeland of Chile, Shelley Haggard took on the project for our society. This became the very successful “Blue Moon Reading Series”.

As founder, I am convinced how important it has been to be present at every monthly event. This proved much to the chagrin of opposition. Experience in a variety of genres made it possible for me to keep open and encourage the original mandate of inclusivity. I did this from 1981 to 2006 – the same year as our 25th anniversary, marked by our anthology, the aforementioned Poetic Spirits of the Valley. As Ken Yates, Parks Director for the City of Abbotsford for almost 30 years, suggested with his words of wisdom in 1981, “it takes twenty years for a group to make its way into the psyche of a community.” To all media, the Abbotsford News and the Abbotsford Times, thank you.

I wish there was a way to thank everyone over the past 30 years. Here are a few more individuals by name who have contributed to PPS: Jaye Low, Thurlow Gowan, the late Lillian Leoppky, the late Len Levitt, Rudy Penner, Trudy Beyak, Margot Wawra, Bob Jones, Mary Winter, Karen Crarey, Hilda Murphy, Stella Johnson, Erin Fisher, Violet Nesdoly, Satwant Pander, Rita Carrington, Dave Farmer, Joe Mrak, Terry Broadworth, Nicholas Roberts, Karen Belix Moore, Paul McKeown, Emily Isaacson, Surjeet Kalsey, Ruth Ann & Rudy Braun, David Shreeves, and so many more. Thanks to all.

Thanks to everyone who gave of their time and shared their words as guest readers of our continuing Blue Moon evenings.

Thanks also to Parks, Recreation and Culture, Abbotsford for having chosen me as one of their recognized volunteers – having established a poetry society. This honour was bestowed by the then Mayor George Ferguson.

As we do our best to write our finest thoughts and strive to speak with the charisms of kings and queens, let us also take heed of a proverbial adage from Leonard Cohen:

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

Donna Bishop
September, 2012
Abbotsford, BC

(Donna would like to thank Erin Fisher for help with preparing this article.)

A Brief History of MSA PPS

MSA PPS was started in 1981 by Donna Bishop. “From childhood, Donna dabbled in creative writing of poetry and drama. But her parents discouraged it as frivolous. And being insecure and shy, she tended to hide what she had created. There were other pressures in her adult life and she felt quite stressed. But in 1976 she ventured into a poetry reading group at the Burnaby Art Gallery. Here, amidst much more experienced and accomplished writers and readers, she read three of her pieces. She received a standing ovation.

About this time she, her husband and their family moved to Abbotsford. Her dream was to start a poetry reading club to give other writers the same opportunity of inspiration and encouragement that she had received in Burnaby.”

The first advertised meeting for a poetry reading club in July, 1981 generated no response but with Donna’s perseverance it grew to a group of twelve by September. And “for twenty-five years she has been a most active organizer, encourager, promoter, visionary and guiding force.”

Since that humble origin PPS has

    • sponsored dozens of open mike readings where members and newcomers can read their work
    • hosted poetry reading series such as the Blue Moon Series which featured poets drawn from outside the area
    • collaborated on various anthologies Valley Poetry, Volumes I & II Colours of Life, Poetic Spirits of the Valley (2006) and the latest volume River of Words (2009).
    • staged annual poetry festivals in Mill Lake Park
    • celebrated the demise of SE2, a controversial energy project, through word and song

For a more detailed history see the book Poetic Spirits in the Valley ©2006 from which these quotes were drawn.

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