Like Maine COVID The wave continues, organizers of Word have decided that the annual literary arts festival will revert to the online format introduced last year, according to a press release. The festival’s free events and paid workshops will be available through Zoom, October 21-24, with pre-registration required. For event details and registration links, visit wordfestival.org.
Guest speakers will include novelist Susan Choi, journalist Bob Keyes and four notable poets, as well as some of the region’s most popular food writers. Word will also feature local school tours by children’s author and illustrator Russ Cox and children’s and young adult author Anica Mrose Rissi, funded by Bar Harbor Bank. & Confidence.
Opening night on October 21 kicks off with a documentary commissioned from Blue Hill filmmaker Matt Shaw that features “Close Apart,” a series that links the poetry of Brooksville’s Beatrix Gates to the etchings of intaglio printmaker Tim Seabrook and painter Leslie Cummins of Blue Hill. The film will start at 6 p.m. followed by a brief chat with the artists.
At 7 p.m., the festival will feature Portland journalist Bob Keyes, author of The Isolation Artist: Scandal, Deception, and the Last Days of Robert Indiana, in conversation with Paul Sacaridiz, executive director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle. .
Susan Choi, author of the National Book Award-winning novel Trust Exercise, will chat Friday evening, October 22, at 7 p.m., with Laura Miller, book and culture columnist for Slate and a member of the Word committee. Choi is the author of five adult novels and a children’s book.
On Saturday, October 23, author and illustrator Russ Cox will present at 10 am a children’s program called “Drawing on Your Imagination” (The boy whose face freezes like that by Lynn Plourde and Rio and Silas in love with Michele Kean).
The Saturday night program will feature readings and discussions by four poets, including former Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum of Deer Isle; Arisa White, who teaches English and Creative Writing at Colby College and is the author of the poetic memoir Who’s Your Daddy and co-editor of the anthology Home is Where You Queer Your Heart; Maya Williams, the Portland Poet Laureate, a survivor of queer Black Mixed Race religious suicide, most recently a finalist in the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Chapbook Competition; and Tim Seibles, former Virginia Poet Laureate and professor at Old Dominion University, and author of five books of poetry. Seibles will also offer a poetry workshop, “Personas Are Us: Who Do You Think You Talking To?
Other workshops include “Where to start… and how to continue”, with Anica Mrose Rissi; “Flash and Micro-Fiction: The Art of Brevity”, with Lori Thatcher, and a memory workshop with Elizabeth Garber.
Alicia Anstead, arts and culture journalist and editor-in-chief of national magazine Inside Arts, will host the Word editorial panel. Featured panelists include Brooke Dojny of Sedgwick, most recently author of Chowderland; Barbara Damrosch, gardening writer and author of the Four Seasons Farm Gardener’s Cookbook and novelist and memorialist Deborah Joy Corey, founder of the Castine-based Blue Angel food program. wordfestival.org or call 374-5632.