After more than a year of virtual performances, WordxWord, a Western Massachusetts based organization celebrating diversity through spoken word, is finally back together in person.
To celebrate the return of live poetry, WordxWord held a three-day festival at Edith Wharton’s home, the Mount in Lenox, MA. One of the nights, aptly named WordsxWomen, was dedicated to female spoken word performers.
Connecting Point’s Ross Lippman takes us to the event, where the power of women’s voices was on display.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: After more than a year of virtual performances, WordxWord, a western Massachusetts-based organization celebrating diversity through spoken word, is finally back together in person.
To celebrate the return of live poetry, WordxWord held a three-day festival at famed author Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount in Lenox. One of the nights was dedicated just for women, and aptly named WordsxWomen.
Connecting Point’s Ross Lippman takes us to that event, where the power of their voices was on display.
Melissa Quirk, WordxWord: WordxWord’s mission is to create community through spoken word.
Dianne Olsen, WordxWord Performer: If something in the house needed hammering, and a hammer wasn’t handy, we’d use whatever came to hand.
Melissa Quirk: And our world has faced this challenge about what it means to be a community.
But we are so excited about being back and being live and in person again because so much of what we do is literally bringing people together, so that the unplanned moments can happen.
Liv McKee, WordxWord Performer: We spent the evening taming her overheating razor and laughing the clippings from my back with a sock.
Think, pandemic blues or rejection of feminine or embrace of feminine. Something manic.
Grace Rossman, WordsxWomen Co-Curator: We thought it would be important to have a women-focused event because we have men and women who are part of WordxWord, but the organization tends to be woman-centric organization.
And the other reason we thought it would be important, is that we’ve seen the power and the importance of women’s voices in the world.
Don’Jea Smith, WordxWord Performer: Always listen to a Black woman, who look at you like they know your destiny.
You can know if the love from a look you receive is genuine.
Susan Wissler, The Mount: We’ve been collaborators for probably somewhere between five and 10 years now.
The grounds are so magnificent that it actually serves as a sort of a wonderful, inspirational platform for all kinds of art, sculpture, poetry, music — the Mount hosts them all these days, and it’s been wonderful.
Ashley Wonder, WordxWord Performer:
If by some twist of fate, or God had a sense of humor in our future years, I imagine a day is coming.
We will run into each other on a beautiful day of sun and no clouds.
That maybe in this distant future will look over one day,
as we’re in loving embraces with the men who compliment us and our eyes will connect,
and we’ll smile and maybe share even that sidesplitting laughter again.
Grace Rossman: We have a huge range of ages represented tonight from, I believe, 15 to 70-something.
Dianne Olsen: That same year, my grandmother visited me in my tenement on the Lower East Side.
And she cried because it looked just like the tenement she’d left in 1914.
My life is history, told in Ken Burns’ documentaries.
Grace Rossman: I hope that people come away with an appreciation for the power of women’s voices at every stage of life.
Your apples taught me that girl is not synonymous with sweet.
I am not sorry that I wasn’t bred to be easy to eat.
Your apples taught me that if they don’t like how you taste, they should stop biting.
As if by growing, we implicitly invited them to pluck.
You taught me **** that.
You taught me no.
You taught me the problem lies not with the apple,
but with a world that tries to swallow all the little women whole.