1) We’re kicking off the Columbus Arts Festival old school with Actor's Theater of Columbus street performers Repartee performing snippets of theater from some guy you may have heard of - William Shakespeare.
2) The good people at Thurber House, another Columbus literary tradition, are once again bringing over their teen docents to read from their work not once, but twice. Friday night at 5 and again Sunday at 1. They’ll be reading from their latest publication Flip the Page.
3) Scott Woods has assembled a group of poets who, for whatever reasons, did not make the cut to appear on the Saturday schedule. The Best of the Rest will be a compelling and inspiring hour of poetry.
4) While this is going on, a first for the Word is Art Stage will be happening. John Croake, the winner of the Poetry Contest, will be reading his work on the Bicentennial Park Stage at 7PM. That’s right, we’re gently invading the big stage!
5) This year we’re honoring the past and have found four past winners who will be reading their work from then and now. The Legacy Hour will features Louise Robertson, Rose Smith, Mikelle Hickman-Romine and Douglas Gray.
6) New to the festival this year is Stand Up Poetry. Poetry is not just about your dead grandparents, it can also be fun and Andy Anderson, Izetta Thomas and Erik Slangerup will be giving out the belly laughs.
7) It’s not all poetry, we have some first rate authors doing their fiction, non-fiction and other prose works at 11 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.
8) Starting at noon on Saturday will be eight hours of first rate poetry features from newcomers, proven poets and everyone in between. An incredible day of diverse poetry that is sure to compel and inspire all of us.
9) Once again, Saturday night closes with a Poetry Slam. Once again, Scott Woods is the emcee and he’s bringing cats to the stage who are going to be working hard. In the past, the slam has gone the Rocky Horror route. This year though, it’s going to be deep.
10) Sunday at noon David Winter is bringing some of the best poets from The Journal of The Ohio State University. Last year a first time poet on stage read a sestina and nailed it. Cannot wait to see what these students will bring to the stage.
11) The Poetry Forum has been doing readings for almost 30 years in Columbus. It is the longest established reading in Central Ohio. This year Steve Abbott, Connie Everett and Rose Smith have coordinated a tribute to the series and will be reading the works of David Citino and Elizabeth James, two Columbus poets who left us too soon, This is going to be the highlight of the weekend for me.
12) Closing out the weekend will be the Storytellers of Central Ohio. This group always brings a sense of fun, wisdom and memory as they once again spread the seeds of oral tradition.
The festival starts on Friday June 6th and runs through Sunday June 8. The Word is Art Stage is located at the corner of Civic Center Drive and Town Street, right next to the Scioto River. The festival program can be viewed in its entirety here..