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Have you felt moved to write a coronavirus poem?

Poets Gary Maggio & Melissa Hurt read their coronavirus poems and discuss participating in a poetry workshop co-sponsored by the Writers Institute

Nothing can defeat the true creative imagination, not even a coronavirus pandemic.


The Capital Region Poets Workshop could no longer meet face-to-face after the Delaware branch of the Albany Public Library closed in March due to social distancing efforts to slow COVID-19 transmission. The 10 poets did not want to give up their weekly Wednesday evening workshop session, so they have been meeting remotely, discussing each other’s work on Zoom.


In this discussion with poet and workshop facilitator Gary Maggio and poet Melissa Hurt, Writers Institute director Paul Grondahl asks them about how the Zoom sessions are working, what inspired them to write a poem about coronavirus and how the craft of poetry helps them make sense of a troubled world. Hurt reads a poem about coronavirus and Maggio reads two poems influenced by the pandemic.


About our Community Writers Workshop programs

The NYS Writers Institute offers Community Writers Workshop programs -- free of charge -- to cultivate an appreciation of the literary arts, strengthen our connection with the community, and "to encourage the development of writing skills at all levels of education throughout the state," according to legislation signed into law by Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1984. More about the Spring 2020 program.

Melissa Hurt

Melissa Hurt is an actress and certified trainer in Arthur Lessac’s voice, speech and movement work, and author of Arthur Lessac’s Embodied Actor Training. She teaches in the theatre department at the University at Albany. She works as a certified yoga teacher and has been a vocal and text coach for various theatre companies.


Melissa previously participated in a poetry workshop co-sponsored by the Writers Institute and led by poet D. Colin at the Troy Public Library.

Gary Maggio

Workshop facilitator Gary Maggio is a poet, actor and teacher. He is an alumnus of UAlbany and participated in several poetry workshops

sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute and led by the late acclaimed Irish poet John Montague and the renowned Irish-American poet Eamon Grennan.


In the early 2000s, he created and facilitated the Capital Region Poets Workshop, which met twice a month for over eight years. He has also worked as an actor in the Albany area for the last decade, performing at Cap Rep, Curtain Call Theatre, Theatre Voices, Homemade Theater and Albany Civic Theatre.


Question for the poets among us: Have you felt moved to write a coronavirus poem? Please share your words with us.

NYS Writers Institute

Science Library 320

University at Albany

1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

(518) 442-5620

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