Asheville Wordfest is 5 years old and watched in 18 nations via live webcast. Local voices rise with internationally known poets.
Above image: Poplars by Geza Brunow. Oil on Canvas. www.gezabrunow.com
from "When the Animals Leave this Place"
by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
Asheville Wordfest 2012: HOME: Place, Planet, Cosmos will take place on Friday May 4 and Saturday May 5, 2012 at The Altamont Theater 18 Church Street Asheville, NC 28801. This is the festival's fifth year of celebrating the voices of poets from many cultural and aesthetic contexts. North Carolina Humanities Council funds the festival in part, and we need your help to really bring it to life. Asheville Wordfest maintains that if it doesn't speak to everybody, then it probably isn't the truth. Join us as we revel in how poetry has a way of speaking to everyone.
Along with our stellar guest poets, Wordfest 2012 aims to present as many local voices as is possible within the scope of a few days. So, far these voices are: Jeff Davis, Katherine Soniat, Caleb Beissert, Erik Bendix, DeWayne Barton, Barbie Angell, Roberto Hess, James Davis, Tracey Schmidt, Jonathan Santos, Matt Mulder, writers of the Our Voice Together We Stand anthology, students of the Great Smokies Writing Program and many more members of our community. If you want to add your voice, email me through the website.
Because our local voices resonate with the global whole, we welcome the following guest poets: Choctaw scholar, author and poet LeAnne Howe, Guggenheim and NEA Fellow Arthur Sze; Egyptian poet Matthew Shenoda; American Book Award Winner Allison Adelle Hedge Coke of Cherokee and Huron Heritage. Learn about these stellar poets at www.ashevillewordfest.com.
Scroll down for more of the story, and enjoy the videos of past guest poets at Asheville Wordfest as you go. Thank you!
One day in 2008, a group of poets in Asheville sat at one of those ceramic-tile tables at Malaprops Bookstore/Café. Jeff Davis had just hosted one of his stellar Wordplay radio broadcasts, interviewing James Nave, Glenis Redmond and Laura Hope-Gill.
The post-broadcast coffee conversation turned to the Asheville poetry scene of the early 90s when crowds over-flowed at both The Poetry Slams at The Green Door on Carolina Lane and at Malaprops "Café of Our Own" and also at the Asheville Poetry Festival. Navé, Redmond and Hope-Gill, along with Allan Wolf, Bob Falls and many others, had been shaped by and shapers of the "scene" back then. The scene had dissipated in the decades since, and the question now was how to revive it. The four poets decided it was time to create a poetry festival.
They called what some might call a "meeting," which was really a party, inviting as many poets as they could. At Hope-Gill's house, the poets drank wine, ate fruit and filled an enormous pad with ideas for a what a poetry festival should be. Multicultural, Appalachia-honoring, Black Mountain College-inspired, Multimedia, presenting poetry as citizen-journalism and grounded deeply in community.
Asheville Wordfest is the result.
More than a thousand seats fill each year. People in 18 nations watch the live webcast, and people can view the archived video readings on the website in classrooms, community centers and on coffee breaks at the office.
This year's poets include: Choctaw scholar, author and poet LeAnne Howe; Guggenheim and NEA Fellow Arthur Sze; Egyptian poet Matthew Shenoda; American Book Award Winner Allison Adelle Hedge Coke of Cherokee and Huron Nations, and as many local Asheville voices as the schedule can hold.
We can't thank you enough for supporting Asheville Wordfest, but, believe us, we will try.
Laura Hope-Gill, Director
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
MINSTREL Read a poem at a Wordfest event (by you or someone else) if you wish.Estimated delivery:
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RHAPSODE Read a poem at a Wordfest event if you wish. Receive a signed poster.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $200 or moreYou selected
SCOP A signed poster and signed copy of a poet's book of your choice. Read a poem of your choice. Laura Hope-Gill (Wordfest Director) will write a poem for you.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
UDGATAR All of the above PLUS you will also have an opportunity to join the poets in a small gathering. VIP SEATING and 1 one-on-one poetry class with Laura Hope-Gill.Estimated delivery:
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ASHIK Dine with the director and poets on Saturday evening. Receive signed poster and books. Three one-on-one poetry workshops with Laura Hope-Gill.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
GRIOT SPONSOR-A-POET STATUS All the above, VIP Seating, five or ten or however many poetry class you want. One year of poetry critique by the director. A voice in the curation of future Wordfests.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)