Press release from Lenoir-Rhyne University:
ASHEVILLE WORDFEST returns April 17-19 with workshops at Lenoir-Rhyne University at 36 Montford Avenue and readings at the Battery Park Apartments rooftop ballroom. Asheville Wordfest started it in 2007 as a poetry festival and still presents poets and authors reading in the evening. It has also become a strongly idea-explorative festival over the years, a weekend festival featuring workshops, classes, and performances. Creativity, community, healing, and racial equity are the themes.
AVL Wordfest 2020 features more than thirty presenters. Spirituality, Witness-Bearing, Wellness, a panel of Cherokee and Lumbee Nations writers, Entrepreneurship for Writers, News and Poetry from the Mexican Border, Sacred Hindu Dance, Ecology, Poetry, Memoir, Fiction, Asheville and Global Social Justice, Grief, and Listening to Nature. Presenters include Juan Sanchez-Martinez, Zaina Arafat, Lori Horvitz, Cara Forbes, Aisha Adams, and Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle. The feature poet is Glenis Redmond. Redmond and festival director, Laura Hope-Gill co-founded Asheville Wordfest in 2007 during a conversation about what was then a dearth of poetry events in Asheville.
“We had just done an interview with Jeff Davis and James Navé at WPVM and were sitting at Malaprops Café,” Hope-Gill says. “Glenis, Navé, and I had all been very active in the Green Door poetry and arts scene in the early 90s. We’d since all moved into our careers in writing, teaching, and performing. Poetry had been a vital force in convening people when Asheville was still all boarded up. In Asheville Wordfest we regenerated that force of community and creativity.”
Glenis was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the late summer of 2019 and is currently moving through the healing process on multiple levels. “Asheville Wordfest has always been a festival of healing— healing of community, healing of city, healing of the split between self and soul. So, why not the healing of cancer, too?” says Hope-Gill. “Who knows what community, love, and poetry can do when we all come together?”
2020 Feature Poet Glenis Redmond is grounded in many worlds: Poetry, The Teaching Arts and Imagination Activism. As a Poet, her feet are firmly planted on both the page and the stage. As a Teaching Artist, her educational reach extends into the classroom, where she teaches both students and teachers to open to their own poetry within. As a Spiritual Activist she uses the bright bloom of her heart and soul to unlock the doors of creativity in others.
Glenis is an award-winning poet, author of Backbone and Under The Sun and a Kennedy Center teaching artist. She is also a dynamic performer of her work and has presented all around the country for both student and adult audiences. As a poet-in-residence and she conducts a workshop for teachers on teaching poetry through our Kennedy Center Partners in Education program.
The festival will once again bring together members of community as teachers, listeners, and facilitators, all working together to create a local, beautiful, and enriching weekend grounded deeply in the spirit of creativity, community, mutuality, reciprocity, and kindness. “These are the values that connect us through the ages,” Hope-Gill says. This year’s festival features panel discussions highlighting Writers of Cherokee and Lumbee Nations, a Spotlight on Equity, and Voices from the Mexican Border.