Greenfield Annual Word Festival

More than a 100 readings by spoken-word artists over 2 days

  • COFFEE AND POETRY at Northfield Coffee and Books, 105 Main St., Northfield. Featured reader Mary Clare Powell. 7:30 p.m. She is a writer of prose and poetry, a photographer and an arts educator (someone who teaches teachers how to integrate all of the arts into their curriculum, regardless of age or subject). Her poetry books include “Things Owls Ate” (1991), “Academic Scat” (poems about academia) (1995), and a chapbook “In the Living Room” (poems about aging). There will also be an open mic. All encouraged to bring something to read. 498-0095, <br/>, <br/><br/>
  • SLATE ROOF POETS Ed Rayher, Abbot Cutler and Janet MacFadyen (pictured) will read from their recent Slate Roof chapbooks and more. Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Boswell’s Books, 10 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls. Slate Roof is a group who works together collectively to publish and advance the work of poets in western Massachusetts and throughout the region. For more information, call 625-9362.<br/>
  • File photo<br/>The main venue for this year’s festival — which runs Tuesday through Sunday, Oct. 20 through Oct. 25 — is the Arts Block, but events will also be held at the Greenfield Solar Store, Greenfield TV/Radio Station, Studio Seven Greenfield and The Recorder. Pictured, a reading at the People’s Pint during a previous festival.

The Greenfield Annual Word Festival, now in its third year, presents a cornucopia of readers and their works the like of which cannot be encountered anywhere else in Franklin County. Indeed, it’s very likely there is nothing else like it in the Pioneer Valley. On Friday and Saturday, 13 venues in downtown Greenfield will host more than 100 individual readings in conjunction with the Brick+Mortar International Video Art Festival.

“Having something to say, having a story to tell, having the courage to stand up and express yourself: this is what the Greenfield Annual Word Festival is all about,” writes organizer Paul Richmond of Wendell. “GAWF presents young and old writers, from those just finding their voice to well-seasoned authors who have published many books, won awards, been on tours and make their living from their craft of writing and performing.”

Richmond, a spoken-word artist and poet in his own right, is the driving force behind the vast majority of spoken-word events in our area. Information about what else he has in the works can be had at the website for his Human Error Publishing:

While the readings during the festival are free, donations will be accepted to benefit the Literacy Project, which promotes free adult literacy and GED classes in five western Massachusetts locations.

The readings will be Friday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 and 9 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 13, at 3:30, 6:30 and 9 p.m. As in past years, some readings will include live music, poetry, story telling and theatrics.

The Greenfield Grille, 30 Federal St., is the festival’s home base again this year. You can find programs, books and readings in its banquet room. This is the largest venue in the festival and readings there will close out both Friday and Saturday nights.

The other venues donating space to make the word festival possible include 9 Mill Street Studio; All Souls Church, 399 Main St.; Greenfield Coffee, 1 Bank Row; Greenfield Games, 228 Main St., Hattapon’s Thai Kitchen, 265 Main St.; Magical Child, 134 Main St.; Pale Circus, 205 Main St.; Raven Used Books, 5 Bank Row; The Recover Project, 68 Federal St.; Replay Music, Main Street; The Solar Store of Greenfield, 2 Fiske Ave.; World Eye Bookshop, Main Street.

To get the full lineup and schedule go to

Below are biographies provided by some of the readers.

Eve Brown-Waite

Eve Brown-Waite is the author of the memoir “First Comes Love,Then Comes Malaria.” Her short stories have been chosen as finalists for the Iowa Review, Glimmer Train and New Millennium writing awards. She is now trying her hand — and her voice — at poetry and spoken word.

Lori Desrosiers

Lori Desrosiers’ book of poems, “The Philosopher’s Daughter”  is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2012. Her chapbook, Three Vanities was published by Pudding House Press in 2009. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is editor and publisher of Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry, and Poetry News, a weekly online events newsletter.

Donald Fisher

I have been a writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction for over 30 years, My poetry has been published in the journals Poetry Motel, New Rag Rising, Riversedge, The Peralta Press, California Quarterly, Peregrene, and the online journals Sunspinner and Jerseyworks, I have also been a runner-up in both the Poets Seat Poetry Contest and the Springfield Library Poetry Contest.

Daria Fisk

Fisk has lived in Greenfield since 1980, where she raised her two children, Noah and Adam. She recently retired from teaching frontline workers at the University of Massachusetts She produces two talk radio shows, “UpFront,” at WMUA, 91.1FM in Amherst and “Various Voices” at WMCB, 107.9 LPFM in Greenfield. Poetry, prose, and stories have engaged her since childhood, both as a reader and writer.

Janet MacFadyen

Janet MacFadyen is author of three books of poetry, including In the Provincelands just released from Slate Roof. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart and has appeared in Poetry and The Atlantic Monthly. She has been a fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and lives amongst the tangled woods of Shutesbury.

Mary Clare Powell

Mary Clare Powell is a professor at Lesley University in the Creative Arts in Learning Division, where she teaches poetry in this masters of education program in integrated arts to teachers across the country.  A previous career was as a photographer and teacher of photography in the Washington, DC area. A lifelong teacher, she has traveled in many countries and taught in Taipei, Taiwan. In the last 25 she has published books on women and the future; the arts, education, and social change; and three books of poetry--Things Owls Ate,Academic Scat, and In the Living Room.  She lives in Greenfield, MA where she works on the Franklin County Arts and Culture Partnership, and is on the Board of Trustees of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School.

Joshua Michael Stewart

Joshua Michael Stewart has had poems published in Massachusetts Review, Rattle, Cold Mountain Review, Georgetown Review, William and Mary Review, Flint Hills Review, Pedestal Magazine, Evansville Review and Worcester Review. Pudding House Publications published his Chapbook Vintage Gray in 2007. Finishing Line Press will publish his next chapbook Sink Your Teeth into the Light. He lives in Ware, Massachusetts. Visit him at

Joseph River Timmins

Joe Timmins is currently pursuing his life long dream of obtaining a doctorate in awesomeness. He’s occasionally active in the local hiking community. He does a goofy website with his buddy:

Linda Bratcher Wlodyka

Linda Bratcher Wlodyka lives in Cheshire, in Berkshire County. She was chosen as a Best in the Berkshires poet and was celebrated as the featured reader at The Colonial Theater in Pittsfield on Oct. 6. She has published three chapbooks titled, “My Spirited Cameo” 2008, “Voices from the Blue Room” 2009 and “Tick Tock” 2011.

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