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Help Albany Poets Send Our Own Brand of Poetry and Spoken Word to the National Level

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Albany Poets, Urban Guerilla Theatre, and the Frequency North Reading Series are very happy to announce that our certificated poetry slam, Nitty Gritty Slam, is going to the National Poetry Slam in Boston, Massachusetts August 13-17. This will mark only the second time that a poetry slam team from Albany, NY has ever gone on to compete on the national level. Last year Team Nitty Gritty went to Charlotte for it’s first visit to the National Poetry Slam.

NPS 2013The National Poetry Slam is an annual performance poetry competition where teams from across the US and Canada participate in a week long tournament. The first of these national events took place in 1990 in San Francisco with just three teams. The event has been held every year since. This year there are 72 teams registered to compete.

Some of the biggest names in poetry and spoken word have competed at the National Poetry Slam. A few of them like  Regie Gibson, Patricia Smith, Taylor Mali, Jive Poetic, and Andrea Gibson have even performed on our local stages here in Albany. We truly believe that Team Nitty Gritty is ready to join that list of ‘the best in the world’ and make Albany proud.

Representing Albany as Team Nitty Gritty in Boston are local poets Kevin Peterson, Michael Sloman (ILLiptical), Aron Ervin (Algorhythm), Christopher Fleming (Christopher The Poet / Saymo), Darian Gooden (Poetyc Visionz), and Daniella Watson. These six phenomenal talents have worked hard and been integral to the success of the slam all year. Team Nitty Gritty represents the diverse and unique poetry and spoken word style that lives in upstate New York. No other region of the country possesses the sound and style of Albany poetry, as was apparent last year in Charlotte when Nitty Gritty first stepped on a national stage.

Team Nitty Gritty captain Kevin Peterson says, “I can’t wait to finally compete on the national level. After making the team last year, but being unable to attend, I’ve been dying for the chance to represent Nitty Gritty and Albany Poets. We are definitely going to turn some heads come Boston.”

But, in order for Team Nitty Gritty to take the world by storm at the National Poetry Slam, they have to get there and that’s where you come in. We are asking our community to help us send the team to Boston by donating to the cause. We are hoping to raise $2500 by the time the team hits the road in under four weeks.

We hope that you or your business can donate money to help the team. In addition to our gratitude we will add your name and/or logo to our websites ( and and NGS printed materials (flyers, posters, chapbooks, and CD).  To make your donation, click the “donate” button on the website or you can send a check payable to Albany Poets to 84 South Pine Ave., Albany, NY 12208.

If you have any questions regarding Albany Poets or Nitty Gritty Slam, feel free to contact Thom Francis directly by email ( or by phone at 518-487-9170. More information on the Nitty Gritty Slam, the team, format, and sponsoring organizations can be found at

We want to thank you for your continued support of the poetry and spoken word of upstate New York over the years. We could not do what we do without that tremendous support. We have a diverse and dynamic community that is unmatched in the United States. We are looking forward to showing the rest of the country what we already know, “Poetry Lives in Albany”.