The Poets in the Park reading series is back for 2021! This is a sure sign that live poetry and spoken word events are coming back to the Albany area. Last week the good folks over at Saint Rocco’s held a reading in People’s Park and now we have the official announcement from Dan Wilcox that Poets in the Park will be happening next month in Washington Park.

Poets in the Park

Poets in the Park is celebrating over 30 years of bringing poetry in July to the Robert Burns statue in Washington Park, Albany, NY. The series was started in 1989 by the late Tom Nattell and is now run by Albany poet and photographer Dan Wilcox. This year the readings will be on Saturdays July 10 and 17, starting at 7:00 PM. This series is free and open to the public, though donations are accepted. In case of rain the reading will be held on the following Sunday of each date (i.e., July 11, July 18).

The 2021 readers are:

  • July 10: Student Poets from Albany High School & Greg Wilder (“Slay the Dragon”)
  • July 17: Gretchen Primack & Gordon Davis

The Robert Burns statue is located near where Henry Johnson Blvd. passes through Washington Park and crosses Hudson Ave. Please bring your own chairs or blankets to sit on.

For more information about this event contact Dan Wilcox, at dwlcx@earthlink.net; 518-482-0262.

 

About the Poets

Each year student poets at Albany High School are encouraged to submit their poems to the Tom Nattell Peace Poetry Prize, a fund managed by the Community Foundation of the Capital Region, and established to honor the memory of Tom, the founder of Poets in the Park and life-long Albany poet and social justice activist. This year’s winners are Myanoe Aung & Jamiah Williams; all poets who entered the contest have been invited to read.

Greg Wilder (also known by the stage name Slay! the Dragon) is an award-winning writer, full-time student, and spoken word performer, currently residing in Schenectady, N.Y. After a long, downhill battle with alcohol and drug addiction, Greg entered treatment in June of 2017 and rediscovered the therapeutic potential of art and writing. Today, with over 4 years clean, Greg shares this healing power of poetry and art with others suffering from addictions and mental health disorders. Greg received an A.S. in Human Services from SUNY Schenectady in May of 2020 and is currently enrolled in the Honors English Program at the University of Albany.

 

Gretchen Primack is the author of Kind, republished by Lantern Books in March 2021, which explores the dynamic between humans and (other) animals; Visiting Days (Willow Books 2019), set in a maximum-security men’s prison; and Doris’s Red Spaces (Mayapple Press). Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Primack has administrated and taught with education programs in prison and jail for many years and moonlights at an indie bookstore in Woodstock, NY. She co-wrote, with Jenny Brown, The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (Penguin Avery). Her website is www.gretchenprimack.com.

Gordon Davis received his BA in Literature from Bard College, Masters in Professional Studies from New York Theological Seminary, and Curricular Specialization in Public Health while incarcerated within the NY State prison system. He also serves as treasurer for FinEquity, which is a nonprofit organization, and is a Bard College Public Health Fellow. Gordon also is the director of community impact for Thrift 2 Fight, which is an organization that uses thrifting to fight for social change.