“The beautiful libretto of Lesley-Anne Evans partners brilliantly with the lyrical composition style of Imant Raminsh. Her story is heartfelt, redemptive and passionate.” Alexandra Babbel, Artistic Director, Opera Kelowna
“Lesley-Anne is a mystic whose writings are as beautiful as they are thought provoking.” Gil Davidson, Founder, Advantage Management Consulting
Lesley-Anne Evans is a Belfast born poet. She holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from University of Guelph, and continues to explore the convergence of creative practice, spiritual formation, and social justice.
In 2019, Lesley-Anne won the BC Federation of Writers annual Literary Writes contest with her poem What You Carry. Her poetry is published in The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Lake Journal, Quills, Cascadia Review, One Throne, Barren Magazine, and others. She has busked poetry, and installs her Pop-Up Poetry wherever she travels.
Lesley-Anne is an engaged community artist, facilitator, and mentor. She is an instigator of the Red Couch Gallery and SEEkelowna Exhibit, wrote the opera Lake of Tears, and most recently began to realize her vision for Feeny Wood, a woodland contemplative retreat. Lesley-Anne loves to wander with her camera and seek beauty in all its forms. Her photography is published.
An associate member of the Canadian League of Poets, and a member of the Federation of British Columbia Writers, further information about Lesley-Anne and her initiatives may be found at the links below;
Portrait of the Artist, by Giovanni Vidotto | Photographic essay and interview
Capital News – New Gallery Space to Open in Kelowna | Article
SEE:kelowna – This is What I Want You to See | Website
Love Mischief in the World | Article
CBC Radio West, Radio One – Poetry wall in downtown Kelowna | Interview
CBC News, British Columbia – Poetry wall in downtown Kelowna | Article
CBC Daybreak, Radio One – An unusual kind of street performer| Interview
KELOWNA NOW feature – In Focus – Lesley-Anne Evans | Interview
Richmond Hill THE LIBERAL article – Pop-up-poetry | Article
Geosi Reads by Geosi Gyasi, Ghana | Interview
Lesley-Anne Evans was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and is passionate about her British heritage. Her parents immigrated to Canada, and Lesley-Anne grew up in suburban Toronto, Ontario, where she had the pleasure of exploring wild ravines, walking to school through parking garages and back lanes, and staying outside well after the streetlights came on. Lesley-Anne was a solid student, enjoying the arts and humanities, Royal Conservatory of Music piano studies with a CBC concert pianist, and reading. Each weekend Lesley-Anne visited the public library with her father, tuned in to CBC’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. Her grandfather, a nurseryman, taught Lesley-Anne Latin plant names from the age of 2, and a way of seeing the world with earthy spirituality.
Lesley-Anne graduated with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph and pursued a career with a Toronto firm, designing theme parks, streetscapes, and public gathering spaces. Several years after marrying her university sweetheart, also a Landscape Architect, they blazed a trail to Kelowna, British Columbia, and began a family. The trajectory of Lesley-Anne’s life changed dramatically. In the curious way of slowing down and paying attention to the ordinary extraordinary details of life, Lesley-Anne discovered a renewed love of the written word, and specifically, a leaning to poetry.
Formative in Lesley-Anne’s new pathway were the experiences of those who said ‘yes’ to her emerging work; Banff Centre’s Writing with Style Poetry Residency program, University of British Columbia’s Lake Journal, Leaf Press, Contemporary Verse 2, The Antigonish Review, One Throne Magazine, and others. With each yes, Lesley-Anne became more resolved to hone her craft, and engage in creative ways of sharing it with others through installations, social media flash poetry, and grass roots community initiatives.
Lesley-Anne began Pop-Up-Poetry as a public engagement initiative in celebration of National Poetry Month, April 2012, sharing word art in the belief that people who happen upon it, will find what they need – whether in volleyball nets, driftwood logs, or bicycle baskets. Her installations have been recognized across Canada, the US, and the UK. Lesley-Anne is a word busker, a flash poet on social media, and performs at a wide variety of public and private events. She interacts with her audiences to create new poetry, in situ.
Lesley-Anne is deeply involved in the local arts scene, was a finalist for an Okanagan Arts Award in Literature in 2016, and served as a jury member in 2017. In her work as a community artist, Lesley-Anne is a facilitator, mentor, and connector, for many of Kelowna’s marginalized citizens through work at Metro Community and the Kelowna Gospel Mission. She offers workshops, circles, and generative creative experiences. Her desire is to facilitate for others in their discovery and celebration of creative spirit. Lesley-Anne believes in the healing transformation that can occur where spiritual formation and creative expression converge.
In 2014, Opera Kelowna commissioned Lesley-Anne to write a libretto for a new Canadian Opera. Lake of Tears, set to a luminous score by the acclaimed Canadian composer Imant Raminsh, premiered on February 20, 2016, at Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts. The work is being sought after for future operatic productions across Canada.
Lesley-Anne launched her poetry-art book, Poetry Primer | A book of Elementary Principles, in Feb. 2016. A limited edition hand-made book, signed and numbered, incorporates original Dick and Jane flash cards from 1950’s Okanagan classrooms. Order your copy HERE.