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  • NYS Writers Institute

#PoetryFriday: "Poets in the Park" in Albany

In a sign that we're returning to a somewhat familiar post-pandemic life, our friend Dan Wilcox's Poets in the Park is back on our summer schedule.

Albany Poets has announced its annual summertime Poets in the Park will feature two poetry reading events. The 2021 readers are:

  • July 10: Student poets from Albany High School & Greg Wilder (“Slay the Dragon”)

  • July 17: Gretchen Primack & Gordon Davis

The student poets include Myanoe Aung and Jamiah Williams, both winners of the 2021 Tom Nattell Peace Poetry Prize.

Both events begin at 7 p.m. and take place in Albany's Washington Park at the Robert Burns statue, located near where Henry Johnson Boulevard passes through the park and crosses Hudson Avenue. Please bring your own chairs or blankets to sit on.

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. 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 more than four 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 Schenectady County Community College in May of 2020 and is currently enrolled in the Honors English Program at the University of Albany. Follow Greg at

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. Gretchen has taught programs in prison and jail for many years and moonlights at the indie bookstore The Golden Notebook in Woodstock. She co-wrote with Jenny Brown The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (Penguin Avery). Her website is

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, a nonprofit organization, and is a Bard College Public Health Fellow. Gordon also is the director of community impact for Thrift 2 Fight, an organization that uses thrifting to fight for social change. Follow Gordon at

In case of rain the reading will be held on the following Sunday of each date (i.e., July 11, July 18). The event is free and open to the public; donations are accepted.

Poets in the Park was started in 1989 by the late Tom Nattell and is now run by Albany poet and photographer Dan Wilcox.

The Robert Burns statue is located near where Henry Johnson Blvd. passes through Washington Park and crosses Hudson Avenue. For both events, please bring your own chairs or blankets to sit on.


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