In celebration of National Poetry Month, Albany Poets is proud to present the 2016 Albany Word Fest featuring the poetry and spoken word of upstate New York. This year’s event will take place on Sunday, April 17 – Saturday, April 23, 2016.
“Every year we celebrate National Poetry Month right here in Albany and each year we add more to the list of events. What started as a one day outdoor open mic in 2001 has become a full week of poetry and spoken word. There is something for everyone.” Thom Francis, Albany Poets President, said, “Whether you would like to take in a featured performance from a touring national spoken word artist, celebrate the launch of the fourth edition of Up The River, attend a regional poetry slam, or be part of one of the largest annual open mics in the area, the Albany Word Fest is the place for you.”
The week will kick-off with the release of the fourth edition of Albany Poets’ literary journal, Up The River. The editors have once again fielded hundreds of submissions and will debut their selections on Sunday, April 17 at McGeary’s. The evening will also feature performances by some of the poets published.
Kevin Peterson, Albany Poets board member and UTR editor says, “Every year, we put on this week long series of events, and year after year, I’m blown away by the talent and creativity it draws out from our community, and the literary community at large.”
On Monday, April 18 the Word Fest will be at the Hudson River Coffee House on Quail Street for “An Evening of Poetry and Prose featuring readings from regional poets and writers Allen Parmenter, Daniel Nester, Heidi Pangratis, and Brian Dorn, hosted by Harvey Havel.
On Tuesday, April 19 the festival continues with the Nitty Gritty Slam at The Low Beat. For the Word Fest edition of NGS, we will present the return of the Haiku Battle. It has been such a great time over the last three years that we couldn’t wait to bring it back to the Nitty Gritty stage in 2016.
For Wednesday night, April 20, the Word Fest goes to New Scotland Ave for Albany Poets Presents as we welcome New Hampshire poet Wil Gibson for a special reading and conversation at Restaurant Navona.
Thursday, the poetry heads down Central Ave. to the Social Justice Center with the Third Thursday Poetry Night hosted by Dan Wilcox. This monthly poetry series welcomes poets to step up to the mic and share their work along with a featured performer.
This year Albany Poets is going back to a familiar place for the Word Fest Open Mic. We are returning to the UAG Gallery on Lark Street for this annual Word Fest tradition. The UAG has been home of the Open Mic eight times in the past (2006 – 2010, 2013 – 2015) and it is always great to be back.
Mary Panza, Albany Poets Vice President and Open Mic host says, “I am always grateful to be part of the community of Albany Poets. I look forward to Word Fest every year. This year is going to be even stronger and we are presenting new venues and events to our community. It will be a crazy week, but it is always worth it!”
Poets who wish to participate in the open mic can sign up online by going to the Albany Word Fest website, albanywordfest.com starting on Friday, April 1 until Friday, April 15. Performers will also have a limited opportunity to sign up at the event itself. The open mic is open to all poets and spoken word artists with no style or content restrictions.
Finally on Saturday, April 23, the Word Fest comes to an end with the Word Fest Invitational Slam. Albany Poets, Frequency North, and Urban Guerilla Theatre are proud to again welcome six teams from all over the Northeast to compete in this event.
Additionally, all throughout the week, Albany Poets will be publishing local poetry on their website as part of the Word Fest Online Open Mic. Poets who wish to participate are encouraged to send their poems to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Online Open Mic” in the subject line, starting Friday, April 1.
The 2016 Albany Word Fest is sponsored by Albany Poets, Hudson Valley Writers Guild, Frequency North, Urban Guerrilla Theatre, The Low Beat, McGeary’s, and the very generous donations of supporters of the arts in upstate New York.
Be sure to check the website, albanywordfest.com, often for details and information on additional events and activities as we get closer to the 2016 Albany Word Fest.