Tom Nattell

Poets Speak Loud – 11th Annual Tom Nattell Tribute Open Mic and Beret Toss


Albany Poets will celebrate the 11th anniversary of Poets Speak Loud at McGeary’s on Monday, January 25, 2016. The event will also commemorate and celebrate the life of Tom Nattell, local poet and community activist, who passed away the same day the poetry series began, January 31, 2005. Tom had been scheduled to be the first featured reader at the new series, but died of cancer earlier that day. The open mic was held that night and was a celebration of his life, work and performances.

QE2 Reading with Tom NattellTom brought poetry and spoken word to Albany in a time when there were not 30-plus open mics and readings per month like there is today. The storied QE2 open mic series was “the only game in town” and if you wanted to get up on stage and have people to hear your poetry and spoken word, you made sure you were free on the last Monday of the month. Some of those local poets that were staples of that monthly event, like Mary Panza, Dan Wilcox, Mojavi, Don Levy, and R.M. Engelhardt, have been the driving forces of Albany poetry community, hosting their own open mics and readings, and continuing the traditions that Tom began over 20 years ago.

This very special event will begin with the annual “beret toss” at the Robert Burns statue in Washington Park in Tom’s memory at 7:00pm.

TomNattellAlanGinsbergPoets Speak Loud, an open mic sponsored by Albany Poets, is held at McGeary’s in Albany on the last Monday of each month, hosted by Mary Panza. However, for the anniversary event the host will be Dan Wilcox, poet and host of the Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center. Wilcox was a friend of Nattell’s and both were members of the legendary 3 Guys from Albany, a poetry performance group.

This event will be a classic open mic, in the style of the monthly open mics run by Tom Nattell at the QE2 on the last Monday of each month in the 1980s and 1990s. While it is expected that some poets will read tribute poems to Nattell, or old favorites from past readings, poets are invited to read poems on any theme and share in the spirit of poetry.

Sign up for the open mic will begin at 8:00pm at McGeary’s.

The suggested donation for the event is $3.00; McGeary’s is located at 4 Clinton Square. in Albany, NY. For more information about Albany Poets visit the website: For more information about this event, or about Tom Nattell, contact Dan Wilcox at 518-482-0262 or email to


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