WordXWord 2016 is spreading poets, fun events throughout downtown Pittsfield

The WordXWord Festival returns to the Upstreet Cultural District of downtown Pittsfield, MA August 9-13, with a combination of talented local and visiting poets, storytellers, and a full schedule of lively events.

This year’s poets-in-residence are Eve Ewing, Safia Elhillo and Jayson P Smith. In addition to their own performances, the poets-in-residence presence is felt throughout the entire festival as they host performances and slam competitions featuring local poets and storytellers, collaborate on hybrid events incorporating both local and visiting artists, and facilitate a series of workshops.

Poets-In-Residence

Eve Ewing is a sociologist, essayist and poet whose work has been published in Poetry Magazine, The New Yorker, The Nation, The New Republic, Union Station, and the anthology The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Eve is one-half of the writing collective Echo Hotel, alongside Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib.

Safia Elhillo is Sudanese by way of Washington, DC. Her work has been published in journals and anthologies including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. She is poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly: a journal of black expression, and a teaching artist with Split This Rock.

Jayson P Smith is a writer, editor, & part-time empress. Smith’s poems have appeared in The Rumpus, MUZZLE, Kinfolks, and the anthology Again I Wait for This to Pull Apart. Originally from the Bronx, Jayson now lives in Brooklyn and was recently included in Brooklyn Magazine’s 30 Under 30: The Envy Index.

WordXWord 2016 Schedule

Tuesday / August 9

5:30P
Poetry sCrawl
Starts at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge
444 North Street

A multi-stop poetry stroll through the Historic Cultural District of Downtown Pittsfield. Starts at Dottie’s and ends at the Berkshire Museum.

7:30P
Feature Night
Berkshire Museum
39 South Street

Marquee performance introducing WXW 2016 poets-in-residence Eve Ewing, Safia Elhillo and Jayson P Smith.

Wednesday / August 10

5:30P
bSpoke! / Cadavre Exquis
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts
28 Renne Ave

Featuring the work of a variety of Berkshire poets, plus Exquisite Corpse – a massive multi-voice collaboration. Globally sourced, locally crafted.

7:30P
WXW Poetry Slam Finals
Dottie’s Coffee Lounge
444 North Street

Four finalists from the WordXWord Poetry Slam series go head to head vying for prizes and the title.

Thursday / August 11

5P
Outspoken Youth Poetry Slam
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts
28 Renne Ave

Poets ages 13 – 25 speak their minds in friendly competition.

7:30P
#Kahoots: two minds/two voices with special guest feature Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
Whitney Center for the Arts
42 Wendell Ave

Multi-voice pieces by young poets plus a guest feature by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib in celebration of his book release.

Friday / August 12

6P
WXW Story Slam Finals
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts
28 Renne Ave

Four finalists is the WordXWord Story Slam series spin 5-minute true stories. The grand prize and bragging rights are on the line!

8P
The Ragged Edge of Truth
Whitney Center for the Arts
42 Wendell Ave

Poets-in-residence Eve Ewing, Safia Elhillo and Jayson Smith join with a cast of regional voices in an attempt to grab truth by its ragged edge and pin it to the ground.

“Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges; hence the conclusion of such a narration is apt to be less finished than an architectural finial.”

– Herman Melville, Billy Budd

Saturday / August 13

8P
Festival Finale
Whitney Center for the Arts
42 Wendell Ave

The finale is truly a “best of the festival” meets-new-stuff, surprise cameos and recently discovered bits of genius. Featuring Eve Ewing, Safia Elhillo, and Jayson P Smith.

WXW 2016 Workshops

Workshops are free. Pre-registration strongly encouraged. Unless otherwise noted, workshops are open and appropriate for teens and adults of all experience levels.

Tuesday / August 9 / 3-4:30P
Location TBA
With Eve Ewing

Wednesday / August 10 / 3-4:30P
Location TBA
With Safia Elhillo

Thursday / August 11 / 1-4P
Location TBA
Teen & Young Adult Workshops (ages 13-25)
A round robin of workshops with Eve Ewing, Safia Elhillo, and Jayson P Smith

Friday / August 12 / 3-4:30P
Location TBA
With Jayson P Smith

More Information

At WordXWord, poetry and spoken word are used to celebrate creativity and build community through the sharing of space, time and ideas. All WordXWord 2016 performances are free and open to all. Parents and guardians are cautioned that some content may be more appropriate for mature audiences. With the exception of the teen & young adult workshop, workshops are free and open to teens and adults of any experience level. For schedule updates and more information, visit wXw365.org.

WordXWord Festival 2016 is made possible by lead sponsor Greylock Federal Credit Union, with additional support from Housatonic Heritage, Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development, CompuWorks, Adelson & Company PC, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

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