This year's Wordfest is going to be lit.
Valparaiso University's English Department is bringing back Wordfest, billed a little wordily as "the annual reading, lecture and discussion series presented by practicing writers of poetry, drama, fiction and nonfiction prose to help stimulate and inspire students in their own creative journeys." All the readings are free and open to the public.
The literary festivities kick off at 7 p.m. Sept. 14.at the Brauer Museum of Art in the Center for the Arts with the award-winning poems of Chelsea Wagenaar and Mark Wagenaar. She won the 2013 Philip Levine Prize for her debut collection "Mercy Spurs the Bones," and he's a visiting assistant professor who won the 2015 CBC Poetry Prize.
Then at 7 p.m. on Oct. 2, poet and University of Southern California Professor Mark Irwin will read from his work. He's published nine collections of poetry and attained a long list of laurels, including The Nation/Discovery Award, four Pushcart Prizes, two Colorado Book Awards and the James Wright Poetry Award, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright, Lilly and Wurlitzer Foundations.
On Oct. 26, American Book Award laureate Walter Wangerin Jr. will read from his new book "The Absolute, Relatively Inaccessible" at 7 p.m. at the Duesenberg Recital Hall. Wangerin, a professor at Valparaiso University, describes his latest poetry collection as “a volume of poems divided into three parts … bound together by a brace of persistent and developing themes, as well as by the repetition (and the development) of language, metaphor and imagery.”
Finally, at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9, Spencer Reece, a longlist nominee for the National Book Award, will speak at the Chapel of the Resurrection. He won the Bakeless Poetry Prize for his debut collection "The Clerk's Tale," which movie star, author and all-around Renaissance man James Franco adapted into a short film.