Readings and Music Schedule

Welcome to the return to Asheville Wordfest. There is so much creativity in Asheville and our surrounding areas that this festival pretty much gathers itself, like color in autumn and like birds in murmuration. Wordfest is the place voices come to to be listened to wholly and beautifully, with heart. For ten years, the vision has included the voices of both community and the world, inhaling and exhaling, bringing awareness of our shared breath, our shared experiences of love, loss, dreams, struggles, and hope. Together over the course of the festival, we experience the power of creativity to draw us together.

APRIL 18-23, 2017 ASHEVILLE 

Tuesday April 18 at 7 PM at Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center at 56 Broadway

$15.00 at door (not part of “pay what you can” option)


Quiet Amidst the Storm…
The poetry of Tracey Schmidt
An evening of mystical poetry performed with local musicians Rhoda Weaver, Michael Ivey, Alllen Rhoda, and special surprise guests. Tracey has delighted audiences with her wisdom and warmth both here in Asheville and afar. Span time, space, loss, and struggle with the beautiful work of Tracey Schmidt. Tickets are available for $15.00 at the door for this event.

Wednesday April 19 7 p.m.

aSHEville Women’s Museum at 35 Wall Street

A Reading with with Jessica Jacobs, Nickole Brown, Elizabeth Meade, Jadwiga McKAy, and Lori Horvitz. Describing a moment in history is an artist’s responsibility. We practice for this by describing moments in our own lives and by discovering the nature of story and language. We discover also the transformative power of self-expression in re-framing our own experiences. Our role, in the words of poet Marie Ponsot, “is to pay attention and make good poems.” Doing this, we attend to wounds, worries, and wonder. This reading features five writers whose work embodies passion, history, life, and our place in all of it. Within their poetry and prose, discover your own stories and just how much power and beauty our personal stories hold.

A discussion may follow the reading if the spirit so moves us.

7 pm. Reading: Nickole Brown, Jessica JacobsLori Horvitz, Jadwiga McKay, Elizabeth Meade

Thursday April 20 5 p.m. THE BLOCK off biltmore

Asheville Wordfest seeks to encourage and support the work of our local young artists. Join us at 5 p.m. at THE BLOCK off biltmore for high-energy performances by tomorrow’s Headliners and Producers and, most importantly members of community.

Word on the Street Youth Writers

Rock Academy Youth Performers

After the youth artists in our community rock our worlds, a handful of local community builders and artists will share their stories and work. Tamiko Ambrose, Alli Marshall, Jay Joslin, David LaMotte,Tamiko Ambrose, Melissa Henry, and Laura Hope-Gill.

7 p.m. Reading Laura Hope-Gill, Alli Marshall, Jay Joslin, Melissa Henry, and David LaMotte

Friday April 21 7 p.m. THE BLOCK off biltmore 

After we’ve explored all the world within us and around the galaxies we’ll settle into life on planet earth with all its verities and realities through the poetry and stories of local and used-to-be and sometimes-local poets, artists, and writers. Meta Commerse is a writer and healer with a novel, The Mending Time. Danny Solis, a premiere figure of our early 1990s poetry scene and now community-builder and dad in Minneapolis, returns with his high-energy poetry. John K Lawson, of Cornwall by way of Great Britain, is both visual artist and poet. Melanie McNair is both a writer and a bookseller, helping us make our wonderful and challenge selections at our beloved Malaprops. Adrian Rice from north of Belfast is a prized voice of our WNC community now (thank you, Ireland). New voice to our scene, Hayley Ingram uses words in her stand for vision and passion. Robin Gaiser sings and plays guitar for our beloved elders and loved ones enduring illness. Alan Mearns is musical collaborator and poetic protege of Adrian Rice. Because mentorship is such a core part of continuing poetry in the world, Wordfest is delighted to have them share the mic. Tonight, we hear them all.

6:30 p.m. Reading:  Meta Commerse, Danny Solis, John K. Lawson, Melanie McNair, Adrian Rice, Hayley Ingram, Robin Gaiser, Alan Mearns.

After listening to the poets and writers, trek across town to Hotel Indigo (just before the bridge on Montford Avenue) for drinks and music by Yes the Raven.

9 p.m. Hotel Indigo

Yes the Raven

Poems and Pints  with Yes the Raven


WORKSHOPS take place all day (10-6) at Lenoir-Rhyne Asheville. View the schedule and details here. You know what one little workshop can do for your writing and peace-of-mind. Shift gears and fall in love with the creative process all over again. It rejuvenates and heals like little else in this world. Asheville Wordfest presents not one but a full day of workshops. The only challenge will be in choosing which one you wish to attend.

6 p.m. THE BLOCK off Biltmore

Wordfest’s Saturday night reading presents yet another gathering of outstanding voices and singularly universal perspectives. Quraysh Ali Lansana returns to town as a long-time friend of Asheville’s poetry world, with vibrant, soul-stirring observations versed into power. Francine Hendrickson, a graduate student in Writing at Lenoir-Rhyne, returns to AVL from a week at Women of World Slam in Texas. Cara Hagan, a nationally recognized educator, choreographer, dancer, and poet connects with us through the  Department of Theater and Dance at Appalachian State University. Molly Rice’s work in community theater and writing heals the riffs between cultures in the foothills. Robert Zachary is beloved for his work with Healing Love Institute, and Ray Christian is a history professor at Appalachian State University in Boone and is a US Army Veteran paratrooper whose stories have gained him national acclaim at The Moth and beyond. Another evening of incredible work and energized voices.

Reading:  Quraysh Ali Lansana, Francine Hendrickson, Cara Hagan, Molly Rice, Robert Zachary, Ray Christian

After the reading, we’ll trek once again across town for open mic and music at Hotel Indigo with The Belfast Boys 9 p.m.  Hotel Indigo.




Workshops by John Evans and Patti will take place at Lenoir-Rhyne Asheville.

Flourish! Writing for Resilience in Challenging Times: Workshop with John Evans

John Evans of Duke Integrative Medicine presents this vital workshop. Flourish: Writing for Resilience in Challenging Times helps you create your vision of vibrant wellness, set intentions, clarify values, change perspective, remove obstacles to build confidence and resilience, express joy and optimism, and stimulate thinking that leads to insights and understanding. Flourish is evidence-based and includes seven types of writing to heal: mindful writing, HEALing writing, as well as expressive, transactional, poetic, affirmative, and legacy writing, (Expressive Writing: Words that Heal, Pennebaker and Evans 2014).

3-4:30 LR315

Community, Creativity, and Transformation: A Workshop with Patti Digh

Patti Digh

Ours is the time to cease closing the door on the conversations necessary for true community and true healing. Patti Digh presents entry-points into the very talk we all need to be having regarding race, gender, faith, and healing.  A lot to take on a single workshop, but we have been working toward this all weekend, enjoying one another’s company in the presence of creativity and community. Let’s move forward now, out into the world with new energy, new tools, new ideas for our work. Patti Digh is a beloved figure in the Asheville and global writing, living, and thriving world. In addition to her writing, Patti is a co-founder of an international consulting firm focused on re-imagining K-12 education. Patti is also a sought after Keynote speaker. Audiences come away from her speeches both laughing and crying, and with a clearer sense of what’s important in their own lives. 4:30-6 LR316