WordxWord is an organization based in the Berkshires that celebrates the power of spoken word. This summer, poets and performers were once again together live and in person to share their work.  

To celebrate, WordxWord organizers held a three-day festival at Edith Wharton’s home, the Mount in Lenox. The WordsxWomen night was dedicated just for women’s voices, including Dianne Olsen. Here she is performing an excerpt from her piece, “Half Broke Hammers.”

Connecting Point’s Ross Lippman brings you to the Mount for more of WordxWord’s WordsxWomen event. 


Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: WordxWord is an organization based in the Berkshires that celebrates the power of spoken word. This summer, poets and performers were once again together, live and in person, to share their work.

To celebrate, WordxWord organizers held a three day festival at Edith Wharton’s home, The Mounta in Lenox. One night was dedicated just for women’s voices, including Dianne Olsen.

Here she is performing an excerpt from her piece, “Half Broke Hammers.”

Everybody give it up for Diane.

Dianne Olsen, WordxWord Performer:

My depression scarred parents taught scarcity, thrift, making, do and doing without.
Don’t throw that shoelace away, it might come in handy.
Your coat will last another year, we’ll just move the buttons.

That’s how Dad felt about tools.
Sure, it’s rusty, but it’ll do. I can sharpen up that edge.
Our family had broken tools, rusty tools, dull tools, bits of tools.
Dad used tools until they were used beyond all recognition. If one of the dogs buried a tool in the backyard,
Dad would find it, curse a little, squirt some three-in-one oil on it and wipe off the dirt.

What we didn’t have were the right tools.
If we didn’t have a screwdriver that fit, we’d use a butter knife, a dime, a penny.
Fly-off the handle was very real to us.
Hammerheads broke away, pliers fell apart.
We had only two thirds of a yardstick, and we girls were not allowed to get even close to Dad’s wobbly hatchets.
If something in the house needed hammering, and a hammer wasn’t handy, we’d use whatever came to hand.