Enthusiasm for poetry grows at festival

Some 80 participants registered for weekend workshops

Some 80 participants registered for weekend workshops

October 04, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - This year's Sotto Voce Poetry Festival will be the biggest yet, with nearly five times the number of registrants and more poets and workshops than it had when it started in 2005.

Sotto Voce (pronounced "SOT-toh VOH-chee") is a free yearly festival of workshops and poetry readings led by prominent national poets and regional writers. The event starts Friday and wraps up Sunday, with events scheduled at various places in Shepherds-town.

Workshops and readings will be led by seven writers: Michael Collier, Steve Orlen, Richard Garcia, Amy Holman, Katherine Williams, Alan Tinkler and Christa Mastrangelo.

All seven workshops are already full, according to organizer Hope Maxwell-Snyder.

Maxwell-Snyder, who also is a poet, said Monday morning that 80 people had registered for the workshops - quite a leap from the 10 to 15 registrants who attended the first festival.


"I'm quite surprised by the way it's grown," Maxwell-Snyder said. "I think the enthusiasm has spread."

Maxwell-Snyder met many of the visiting poets at Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont. Collier directs the Vermont conference and is a creative writing professor at the University of Maryland.

Collier has won several awards and fellowships for his writing. He has authored five books of poems, including his most recent, "Dark Wild Realm" (Houghton Mifflin, 2006).

Collier was named Poet Laureate of Maryland in 2001.

Holman, whom Maxwell-Snyder also met at Bread Loaf, is a literary consultant and poet based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Holman has written poetry, fiction and literary nonfiction for print and online. Her collection "Wait for Me, I'm Gone" won Dream Horse Press' National Poetry Chapbook Competition in 2004.

For more information about the festival and the poets, visit or call 888-812-1885.

If you go ...

WHAT: Sotto Voce Poetry Festival

WHERE: Various locations throughout Shepherdstown, W.Va.

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 7

COST: Free admission

MORE: For more information, go to or call 888-812-1885.

Schedule of events for the poetry festival

Friday, Oct. 5

· 1 to 1:50 p.m. - Amy Holman will lead a poetry reading and discussion about writing and the publishing world. Event will be at Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, Shepherd University, east campus, off King Street.

· 2:15 to 3 p.m. - Informal time with Amy Holman and other poets at Entler Hotel, corner of German and Princess streets.

· 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. - Festival welcome followed by readings by Steve Orlen and Amy Holman at Byrd Center for Legislative Studies.

Saturday, Oct. 6

Events open to spectators include:

· 10 to 10:50 a.m. - Christa Mastrangelo: Children's Workshop and Reading; second floor of Four Seasons Books, 116 W. German St.

· 4 to 5:15 p.m. - Open-microphone reading at Entler Hotel. Katherine Williams will emcee. Advance registration is required.

· 7:30 p.m. - Reception, reading and book signing will feature Michael Collier, Richard Garcia and Katherine Williams. Hope Maxwell-Snyder will emcee. The private residence of Carlos and Liz Wheeler, 202 S. Princess St. Books available for sale. Admittance by advance registration only. Call 888-812-1885 to register.

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