In celebration of National Poetry Month, Albany Poets is proud to present the 2015 Albany Word Fest


CONTACT: Thom Francis, President, Albany Poets – 518-487-9170 /


Albany, NY – April 6, 2015 – In celebration of National Poetry Month, Albany Poets is proud to present the 2015 Albany Word Fest showcasing the poetry and spoken word of upstate New York. This year’s events will take place from Sunday, April 12 – Saturday, April 18, 2015.

The week will kick-off on Sunday, April 12 with the release of the third 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 from poets published in this edition including Tom Riely, Dennis Rush, Frank S. Robinson, Robert Phelps, Cecele Kraus, Howard Kogan, Nancy Klepsch, and Alan Catlin.

On Monday, April 13 we head to the Upstate Artists Guild Gallery on Lark Street for a special reading with area students who participated in this year’s annual “Poetry Out Loud” recitation competition.

On Tuesday, April 14 the festival continues with the return of the Haiku Battle at Justin’s on Lark Street. 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 two years.

For Wednesday night, April 15, the Word Fest goes to the Women’s Building for on Central Avenue for a special evening that will showcase the talents of local and regional poets, musicians, and spoken word artists including Metorland Readers Poll Best Local Poets Brian Dorn, Mary Panza, Jay Renzi, and Elizabeth Gordon.

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, 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 Michelle Battiste.

This year Albany Poets is going back to a familiar place for the Word Fest Open Mic on Friday, April 17. We are returning to the Upstate Artist Guild Gallery on Lark Street for this annual Word Fest tradition. The UAG has hosted the Open Mic seven times in the past (2006 – 2010, 2013-2014) and it is great to be back for the 2015 Word Fest.

Within the first few hours of the signup being open, over 20 local poets including Judith Prest, Mark W. Ó Brien, Joe Hesch, Howard Kogan, A.C. Everson, L-Majesty, Brian Dorn, The Poet Essence, Tim Verhaegen, Mike Jurkovic, Bob Sharkey, Don Levy, Steven Minchin, Matt Galletta, and Mojavi have added their names to the ever-growing list of performers and writers sharing their words on the Word Fest stage.

Poets who wish to participate in Friday’s open mic can sign up online by going to the Albany Word Fest website, until Wednesday, April 15. Performers will also have a limited opportunity to sign up at the event itself. Each poet will have 5 minutes to share their work. The open mic is open to all poets and spoken word artists with no style or content restrictions.

Finally on Saturday, April 18, the Word Fest comes to an end with the 3rd Annual Word Fest Invitational Slam at The Steamer No. 10 Theatre on Western Ave. starting at 7:00pm. Albany Poets, Frequency North, and UGT are proud to welcome six teams from all over the Northeast including Albany’s very own Nitty Gritty Slam team, Pure Ink. (Buffalo),Roc Bottom Slam Team (Rochester), Nickel City (Buffalo), Pilot Light Poets (Pittsfield, MA) and more to compete in this event.

Admission for this event is $13.00 in advance ( / $15.00 at the door.

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 with “Online Open Mic” in the subject line, starting Sunday, April 5.

The 2015 Albany Word Fest is sponsored by Albany Poets, Hudson Valley Writers Guild, Frequency North, Urban Guerrilla Theatre, The Low Beat, McGeary’s, Upstate Artist Guild, Steamer No. 10 Theatre, and the very generous donations of supporters of the arts in upstate New York.

Be sure to check often for more details and a full schedule of events.

About Albany Poets:

Albany Poets is a local organization whose goal is to promote the poets and poetry of Upstate New York. Albany Poets hosts open mics, poetry readings, slams, music and spoken word events, and the annual Albany Word Fest to increase participation and attendance in the local arts community. Albany Poets’ website,, is the most comprehensive resource in the Northeast for news and events listings for poetry and spoken word.

Albany Poets mission is to give everyone a platform to share their poetry with the world. Whether it is at an open mic, on a website, or in print, Albany Poets strives to integrate poetry and spoken word into the Capital Region.

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