2016 Albany Word Fest

Beginning in 2001, the Albany Word Fest is an annual arts festival that brings together poets, writers, and performers from all over the region to celebrate the poetry and spoken word in upstate New York.
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Up The River, Issue Four

Word Fest week kicks off at McGeary’s On Sunday, April 17, with the release of the fourth edition of Up The River and performances by some of the poets published.

Albany Poets Presents Wil Gibson

For the fourth night of the 2016 Albany Word Fest, we are proud to have Wil Gibson as the featured guest at Albany Poets Presents at Restaurant Navona.

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.

“What a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month right here in Albany. With 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, celebrate the launch of a new, local literary journal, 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.”

Support The Word Fest

Help make this year’s Albany Word Fest‬ the best ever with your donation. Everything helps and is greatly appreciated!

RobertaGouldSunday, April 17

6:00 PM – Word Fest Kickoff & Up The River Launch Party
McGeary’s, 4 Clinton Square, Albany

The week will kick-off with the release of the fourth edition of Albany Poets’ literary journal, Up The River. Editors Mary Panza, Carissa Haberland, and Kevin Peterson will present an evening of poetry and art at McGeary’s featuring performances by the poets published.

Harvey HavelMonday, April 18

6:30 PM – An Evening of Poetry and Prose
Hudson River Coffee House, 227 Quail Street, Albany

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, Annie Christian, Heidi Pangratis, and Brian Dorn, hosted by Harvey Havel.

Haiku BattleTuesday, April 19

7:00 PM – Nitty Gritty Slam Haiku Battle
The Low Beat, 335 Central Ave., Albany

The festival continues with the return of the Haiku Battle. This event pits two poets against each other on stage in a battle of 17 syllables. This wonderfully popular event has brought many “page poets” out to showcase their work and their performance chops at Word Fest over the past three years. Participation is limited to the first 16 poets who sign up.

Wil GibsonWednesday, April 20

7:00 PM – Albany Poets Presents Wil Gibson
Restaurant Navona, 289 New Scotland Ave., Albany

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.

Third Thursday Poetry NightThursday, April 21

7:00 PM – Lark Street Poetry Walk
Lark Street, Albany

Join Daniel Nester and The College of Saint Rose students Thursday evening as they walk Lark Street and recite poetry on the every corner.


7:00 PM – Third Thursday Poetry Night
Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany

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, one of the longest running mics in the region, welcomes poets to step up to the mic and share their work along with featured reader Tina Barry.

Ian MacksFriday, April 22

7:00 PM – Word Fest Open Mic
UAG Gallery, 247 Lark Street, Albany

The annual Word Fest Open Mic hosted by Albany Poets returns home to the UAG Gallery on Lark St. This event will take place from 7 PM – 12:00 AM with sessions for groups and featured poets from Woodstock to Saratoga and everywhere in between.

The open mic is open to all poets and spoken word artists with no style or content restrictions.

Word Fest Inv SlamSaturday, April 23

5:30 PM – Creativity Workshop
Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany

A special poetry workshop that will “explore the value of free writing, group poetry, and the ways that poetry can help us to claim and proclaim our voices”.


8:00 PM – Word Fest Invitational Slam
Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany

Albany Poets, Frequency North, and UGT are proud to welcome six teams from all over the Northeast to compete in this regional slam event. Tickets are available here.


10:00 PM – Underground Slam
Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany

Immediately after the Invitational Slam, we will debut the first ever Word Fest Underground Slam, a four round, head to head contest with 16 poets competing for a cash prize.

The 2016 Albany Word Fest is sponsored by

2014Sponsor-AlbanyPoets   2014Sponsor-HVWG  2014Sponsor-TheLowBeat   2014Sponsor-McGearys   2014Sponsor-UAG