April 18, 2023

Talking with Poets National Poetry Month Special: Albany Word Fest

In September 2001, poets and writers gathered in Thatcher Park for an afternoon of poetry readings, book sales, and community. The Albany Word Fest continued in 2002 in Thatcher Park and then moved to Valentines in Albany in 2003. In 2005, the event was moved to April to celebrate National Poetry Month, and a new tradition was born.

For the next 15 years, the Word Fest brought poets and writers together in the spring for readings, workshops, open mics, slams, and more. The one-day gathering grew into a week-long literary festival.

In 2020, a week after the schedule of events was announced for that year’s Word Fest, the event was cancelled as the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over nearly 20 years, many great artists took the stage to share their work. This week, we look back at five poets – Alan Catlin, Carole Rossi, Nancy Klepsch, Don Levy, and Shannon Shoemaker – who stepped up to the mic to tell their story at the 2016 Word Fest Open Mic at the UAG Gallery on Lark Street on Friday, April 22, 2016.

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We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

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