Supporting Local Poets Going to a National Event

Team Nitty Gritty

In a couple of weeks, Team Nitty Gritty, a group of four very talented local poets are heading to Oakland, California for the National Poetry Slam. This is the third time that a slam team from Albany is performing at the national level. In order for the team to make it down there, though, we need your support to help cover some of the costs associated with the trip.

You may not be into the competition of slam poetry, but you can’t deny the passion involved with being an artist and writer. We have a group of four poets who are very gifted and talented and they need our support to make it to Oakland for NPS.

Daniel Summerhill said recently, “Poetry is the only medium that allows you to be completely vulnerable yet completely beautiful at the same time, and I need both of these things as much as I need air. The national stage is a place that allows for these things.”

The National Poetry Slam is a 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 three teams; Chicago (birthplace of slam), New York (Nuyorican), and San Francisco (host city). 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 performed on stage at the National Poetry Slam. A few of them like Mighty Mike McGee, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Shappy Seasholtz, Regie Gibson, Patricia Smith, Taylor Mali, Jive Poetic, and Andrea Gibson have even performed on our local stages here in Albany at venues like Valentine’s, Caffe Lena, Bayou Café, and The College of Saint Rose.

Representing Albany as Team Nitty Gritty in Oakland are local poets Elizabeth Gordon (aka Elizag), Amani, Daniel Summerhill, and Poetyc Visionz. These four phenomenal talents have worked hard and been integral to the success of the slam series all year

Elizag put it perfectly when she said, “I want to go to Nationals to be part of that amazing community and to add my unique upstate NY baby boomer voice to the many voices that’ll be there. This is an awesomely upbeat talented team and we will make Albany proud, but we gotta get there first.”

We are asking our community to help us send the team to Oakland by donating to the cause. We are hoping to raise $4000 to assist with travel and lodging costs by the time the team hits the road.

We have set up a Go Fund Me page ( to make it super-easy to donate or you can send a check, payable to Albany Poets, to 84 South Pine Ave., Albany, NY 12208.

I 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 with that 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!”