yBar to Host Weeklong Poetry Festival

Joanna Hoffman

Joanna Hoffman

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The second annual 10×10 Poetry Festival, presented by WordXWord as part of the 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival, takes place February 17 – 23, 2013. The festival will include performances by writers and poets ranging from up-and-coming teen writers to well-established, published professionals, including Housatonic poet Marie-Elizabeth Mali and poet, performer and LGBTQ advocate Joanna Hoffman to close the festival. All events will take place at yBar, 391 North Street, Pittsfield, and will begin promptly at 8pm. Admission is free.

February 17
Young Poets

The week kicks off Sunday evening with talented young, high-school aged poets from six different schools in Berkshire County. Poets include Rachel André (Pittsfield High School), Katelyn Snow (McCann Tech), Meagan Fraser (Miss Hall’s School), Kyle Clairmont (Drury High School), Jan R. Jurchak (Bard College at Simon’s Rock), Ingrid Olsen (Drury), Jeanette Lambert (Berkshire Arts And Technology Charter School), and Caitlin Mayes (BART).

February 18
Albany Poets -> Pittsfield

Second up on the schedule is a diverse group of slam, spoken word, and page poets from Albany Poets including Kevin Peterson, Jill Crammond, Mojavi, Dan Wilcox, Shannon Shoemaker, Algorhythm, and Thom Francis.

February 19
Writers Room Open Mic hosted by Gabriel Squailia

The WXW Writers Room Open Mic night takes on a special character to celebrate 10×10 Upstreet.

February 20
Melissa Quirk

Melissa Quirk is a poet, performer, and teacher who has performed in various local slams, including Western Mass championships and the first WXW slam. Quirk, who frequently finds herself in the neutral corner as WXW’s favorite slam master, takes center stage for a program of her original work.

February 21
Nakeida Bethel-Smith (aka Lady Nakeida)

Pittsfield’s Lady Nakeida appeared as part of WXW’s Page+Stage program last summer. For 10×10, Nakeida returns to present a program of her original work.


Marie-Elizabeth Mali (by Peter Dressel)

Marie-Elizabeth Mali (by Peter Dressel)

February 22
Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Marie-Elizabeth Mali returns to the Writers Room with selections from her published and newer work. Mali is the author of Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011) and co-editor with Annie Finch of the anthology, Villanelles (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, 2012).

February 23
Joanna Hoffman

Joanna Hoffman is a poet, performer, teaching artist and LGBTQ advocate and ten-year veteran of competitive performance poetry, or slam. Joanna has featured at schools, venues and festivals across the country, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Atlanta Queer Poetry Festival. Her work has appeared in decomP, Spindle, Sinister Wisdom and as part of the recent GirlChild Press anthology, Women’s Work and the Jewish lesbian poetry anthology Milk and Honey. Her full-length book of poetry will be published by Sibling Rivalry Press in August 2013.

The WXW Writers Room supports the mission and goals of the WordXWord Festival by offering a forum for local authors to share a direct, live connection between artist and audience through regularly scheduled open mic nights and featured readings. In addition, Writers Room helps nourish, enrich and inspire local authors, word-workers and audiences by presenting established, nationally recognized authors in featured presentations and by facilitating relevant workshops and challenges including structured word-based games/challenges, competitions, poetry slams, etc.

10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival is a collaborative effort spearheaded by Barrington Stage Company and the City of Pittsfield and coordinated through a steering committee that includes the Beacon Cinema, Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF), Berkshire Museum, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts and the City of Pittsfield, Mission Bar + Tapas, and y bar.


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