(LENOX, Mass.) – Free readings by writers and poets with ties to the Berkshire region, the Berkshire premiere of “Literary Death Match,” and a free public reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand are just some of the events that will be included under the umbrella of WordFest at The Mount, the three-year-old literary festival held at Edith Wharton’s Berkshire home, taking place from Thursday, September 5, to Saturday, September 21, 2013.
WordFest will kick off on Thursday, September 5, with a reading featuring Christian Phiffer and Rambling Poets, followed by two more readings on successive Thursdays. The festival will culminate with two special weekend events on September 20-21:
- Literary Death Match on Friday, September 20, 7 pm (doors open 6 pm), with creator Adrian Todd Zuniga, featuring literary and other well-known luminaries who will serve as performers and judges for a witty and fun-filled show. Participants will include Jim Shepard, Ophira Eisenberg, Jason Diamond, Rachel Shukert, Steve Almond, Brando Skyhorse, and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz.
- Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand on Saturday, September 21, at 4 pm, reading from his selected works, including prose poems from Almost Invisible, his most recent book. The reading will be free and open to the public. Reservations are encouraged, but not required.
“With the intent of hosting more free programs, we have reshaped WordFest to encourage an even broader audience than we had in previous years,” said Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount. “The September festival, in which we showcase regional and national talent, marks the official celebration of our year-round commitment to quality literary programming at The Mount.”
In recent years, The Mount has become the literary hub of the Berkshires. The cultural nonprofit regularly hosts esteemed writers — including novelists, poets, biographers, scholars, and journalists – for readings and discussions. Its 21-year-old Summer Lecture Series program has routinely sold out, and other literary programs throughout the year have also drawn significant audiences.
The complete schedule for WordFest at The Mount is as follows:
Thursday, September 5, 5 pm: Christian Phiffer and Rambling Poets (free)
Local slam poets. Beverages and light fare will be available for purchase from the Terrace Café. No reservations necessary.
Thursday, September 12, 5 pm: “Writing from the Heart” (free)
Hosted by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, this program will feature short readings by Suzi Banks Baum, Sahra Brubeck, Anni Crofut, Hannah Fries, Jan Hutchinson, Lydia Littlefield and Maria Sirois. No reservations necessary.
Thursday, September 19, 5:30 pm: Poetry on the Terrace (free)
Six poets with strong ties to the Berkshires will read from their work on The Mount’s expansive Terrace. The readings will be free, the café will be open for refreshments, and the poets will converse with audience members during the book signings afterwards. The event will feature David Giannini, Jessica Fisher, Mark Hart, Owen Lewis, Ellen Watson, and Charles Coe. No reservations necessary.
Friday, September 20, 7 pm (doors open 6 pm): Literary Death Match
A highly entertaining, high-energy combination of literary readings and commentary, Literary Death Match has been performed in over 50 cities worldwide.
Together with Literary Death Match creator Adrian Todd Zuniga, The Mount will present literary and other well-known luminaries who will serve as performers and judges for this witty and fun-filled show. Participants will include Jim Shepard, Ophira Eisenberg, Jason Diamond, Rachel Shukert, Steve Almond, Brando Skyhorse, and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz. The evening will begin and end with time for the audience to mingle with the writers. Drinks will be available.
Advance tickets: $12 general; $10 Mount members; $8 students (with ID). $15 at door. For tickets or more information, visit The Mount or call 413-551-5100.
Saturday, September 21, 4 pm: Reading by Mark Strand (free)
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand will read from his selected works, including prose poems from Almost Invisible, his most recent book. The reading will be free and open to the public. Reservations are encouraged, but not required.
Mark Strand was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada and now lives in Madrid, Spain. He is the author of 13 books of poems, a book of stories, several monographs on painters including one on Edward Hopper, several children’s books, a collection of essays and a couple of books of translations. He has won many fellowships and prizes including a MacArthur and a Guggenheim, the Pulitizer Prize, the Bollingen Prize, the Wallace Stevens Prize, and the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. In addition, his collages are currently being exhibited at Lori Bookstein Fine Art in New York City.
The Mount is both a historic site and a center for culture inspired by the passions and achievements of Edith Wharton. Designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902, the house embodies the principles outlined in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses (1897). The property includes three acres of formal gardens designed by Wharton, who was also an authority on European landscape design, surrounded by extensive woodlands. Programming at The Mount reflects Wharton’s core interests in the literary arts, interior design and decoration, garden and landscape design, and the art of living. Annual exhibits explore themes from Wharton’s life and work. In July 2010, The Mount held the first Berkshire WordFest, bringing together acclaimed writers and passionate readers in one of the most beautiful settings in the Berkshires.
For tickets or more information, visit The Mount or call 413-551-5100.