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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wordstock Adds Guest Curator Kevin Sampsell, "Songwriting" Category

Posted by Alison Hallett on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM

I like Wordstock, and one of the things I like the best about Wordstock is that, at least in the years I've been covering it, I've never gotten a sense of complacency. The organizers constantly strive to find new ways to improve the festival, whether by mixing up the author reading schedule with well-curated panel discussions, adding an adults-only sex writing themed section and a dedicated "graphic novel garden," or, this year, adding songwriting to its list of literary categories, and inviting local author/small-press genius Kevin Sampsell onboard as a guest curator.

If you know anything about Portland's literary scene, you know that if Kevin is organizing a reading, it's going to be fun. (Remember Booty Call, back on the patio of Plan B?) I chatted with Kevin a few days ago about Wordstock, and he's got some great ideas—including a bar-hopping Lit Crawl (finally!) and a "Squatters Row" on the book fair floor, where self published and small-press authors can temporarily take over unoccupied tables.

Additionally, "songwriting" has been added to the list of Wordstock sanctioned literary categories, and if I'm parsing the marketing-speech accurately, we can expect music along with readings this year:


Wordstock dares to compare the nuances of songwriting in league with other literary traditions. Lyric writing reflects and impacts popular culture like few forms of communication. In great songs, the power of rhythm, melody, and messaging partner to profound effect. Each element has potential for individual greatness, and in combination they can penetrate cultural consciousness. Acclaimed songwriters will reveal the intimate underpinnings behind the words we hum daily in a provocative forum of song-craft discovery, discussion, and performance. Festival Director, Katie Merritt, adds "Wordstock exists to support the process and experience of writing in every conceivable form. Are songwriters typically recognized proportionate to their societal contributions? We don't think so. As we invite songwriters to the regular festival table, our only question is, What took us so long?"

That means music, right? I think so. Wordstock is October 3-6. More details as we have 'em!

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