The Word Works
and Encompass New
Opera Theatre were co-commissioners of the jazz and classical opera Gertrude
Stein Invents A Jump Early On. The Word Works as a champion for
contemporary poetry was the financial guarantor of the composer's commission.
Encompass New Opera Theatre carrying the torch for contemporary new
opera was the directing developer of this collaboration between poet
Karren Alenier and composer William Banfield. Encompass also assisted
with the process of petitioning foundations for grants related to the
musical development. Encompass staged work-in-progress performances
of Gertrude Stein Invents A Jump Early On and presented the full
production of the work in June 2005.
The Word Works, Incorporated, is the founding commissioner of
the new music opera Gertrude Stein Invents A Jump Early On based on
a verse play by Karren Alenier. Alenier was the first poet to be published
by The Word Works in 1975. That title Wandering on the Outside was Alenier's
first book. Commissioning a poet's opera fulfilled the original vision of the
founding president Deirdra Baldwin who said Word Works should change the course
of poetry by creating a poet's theater.
The Word Works is a nonprofit literary organization based in Washington,
DC, since 1974. As of August 2007, The Word Works has published 64 titles.
Books developed by The Word Works are outstanding literary, artistic,
and graphic quality work.
What distinguishes The Word Works from other small press organizations
is its consistent outreach to the public to preserve and perpetuate poetry
and literature in American life. Public programs include or have included:
The Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Program–1976-present
In 2007, the 32nd season of this summer program series in Washington,
DC's Rock Creek Park presented poets at all levels of achievement including
nationally known authors and those beginning their literary careers
as winners of The Word Works Young Poets Competition. Refer to the anthology
Whose Woods These Are (The Word Works) which chronicles the first
eight years of this program.
Café Muse Literary Salon - 1999-present
programs at Friendship Heights Village Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland,
include a mix of nationally known literary authors and new writers.
Some of the programs blend literature with music and visual art. Audience
members may participate in an open mike for poetry.
Poetry Workshop at the Center for Creative Non-Violence
Works Washington Prize winner Christopher Bursk led a
3 day poetry workshop at DC's main shelter for the homeless
and then presented some of these writers on the Pacifica
Radio WPFW-FM program "The Poet and the Poem."
Poet's Jam - 1984-1985
set of multi-arts programs presented at Glen Echo Park. Poetry in performance
was coupled with other performing arts presentations such as original
music, dance, and visual art.
The Poet-Editor Panel Discussions - 1983
set of programs held at the Writer's Center of Bethesda, Maryland,
where nationally published authors such as John Hollander, Anthony
Hecht, Josephine Jacobsen spoke before an audience with their publishers
on the process of writing and getting published.
Gunston Arts Poetry Series - 1980-1981
forum for nationally known authors such as Ai, Carolyn Forché,
Stanley Kunitz, and Linda Pastan to present their work.
In the Shadow of the Capital Symposium -1981
public presentation at the Folger Shakespeare Library of The Word Works
sponsored oral history project led by Betty Parry to record African-American
intellectual history in Washington, DC, between 1922 through 1963.
Sterling Brown was one of those documented.
Word Works book-oriented projects include or have included:
annual award of $1500 and book publication to a living American poet
for an outstanding manuscript of poetry. Twenty-one books have been published
in this series. From 1981 to 1987, the prize was based on a single poem.
Refer to Winners: A Retrospective of the Washington Prize (The
Word Works) which chronicles the first 19 years of this prize.
selected for this series are by locally known authors. Nineteen books
have been published by such authors as Grace Cavalieri, Hilary Tham,
Miles David Moore, Maria Terrone, Christopher Conlon, Mel Belin, James
Hopkins. Starting in 2006, this imprint will be known as The Hilary Tham Capital Collection.
publications are the hallmark of this series. Four books have been published
in this series including Black Book Of The Endangered Species by
Vladimir Levchev with translation by Pulitzer Prize winner Henry Taylor.
Black Book is in English and Bulgarian. A third publication involving
translations of the Korean poet Lee Sang was published as a collaboration
between translator Myong-Hee Kim and visual artist Janice Olson.
Poetry Anthologies such as The Stones Remember
of Israeli native poetry, a project receiving funding from the Israeli
government as well as the Witter Bynner Foundation.
Poetry Bibliography - Solomon Ibn Gabirol
the work of the Hebrew poet of the Jewish Golden Age of Spain, Solomon
Ibn Gabirol. This is the first academic title in Word Work's list and
the first Word Works International Edition. Refers include multi-lingual
citations. It won the 1999 Bibliography Award from the Association
of Jewish Libraries
The Word Works has been awarded grants from such
organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts; the Witter Bynner
Foundation; the Marpat Foundation; DC, Maryland and Virginia arts and
humanities councils, Poets & Writers (New York), the Writer's Center,
and many private donors.
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