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LOOKING FOR "LOVE"

By Ana Williams

On Thursday, February 14th, 2019, also known as Valentine’s Day, I had the privilege of attending a NYS Writers Institute event appropriately titled “Writing Love”. My initial thought when seeing the title for this event was, I guess I will be sitting through a discussion on how one “finds love”, the dos and don’ts in a relationship, etc. However, when the discussion began to develop into an alluring conversation, and more questions were being asked, my initial thought on the evenings scheduled authors were challenged.

 
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A WORD ON RESPECTING YOUR CREATIVE COMMUNITY

By Brandon Alpert

On Friday, February 16th, SUNY Albany hosted four renowned creative artists/authors in the University Art Museum.  It was a small affair, which consisted of a few rows of dedicated fans and artists encircling the panel. The audience’s eagerness was palpable in the room while they waited with anticipation for the event proper to begin.  Finally, the honored guests were introduced, there was illustrator Robin Mørk, poet Sam Cha, and photographer and media artist Danny Goodwin.  Christopher Castellani was also expected to be in attendance but unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute.  

 
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A Place to feed your soul… and your belly!

By Ana Williams

On Monday February 25thI attended Poetic Vibe, an AMAZING weekly event hosted by D. Colin at Troy Kitchen. – For someone who writes a lot of poetry one would think that I have attended a lot of open mic events, however, that is far from the case. – On my journey to Troy I wasn’t sure what to expect at this open mic. Upon my arrival to Troy Kitchen, I made my way to the lounge area where I was captivated by the scenery, and the amazing scents of food next door. 

 
Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/MikeChristakis/status/1095847818265350144

Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/MikeChristakis/status/1095847818265350144

UALBANY 2019 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION FEAT. REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER II

By Allie Catalano

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration held by the University at Albany is an annual event to further expand the knowledge of racism that persists even since Dr. King’s death. The event was held in the Campus Center Ballroom to accommodate a large crowd brought in by this year’s keynote speaker Rev. Dr. William Barber II.

 
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NOAH DAVID ROBERTS: “SLIME THING [AND OTHER POEMS]”

By Karlie Flood

VOICE LESS readings is an open mic that began in March 2017 and is held every Thursday night at the Green Kill Gallery in Kingston, NY. VOICE LESS seeks to “give those who feel like their art is not heard, a place where they can share, listen, and become inspired.” According to host Noah David Roberts, the open mic is “a place for those without a place.”

 
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WE'RE ALREADY LOOKING FORWARD TO 2019 WITH THE TROY POETRY MISSION!

By Jeff Doherty

The Troy Poetry Mission held its last meeting of the year on the 28th of November, making sure to end the year with a bang, with Nancy Dunlop as the star feature and other familiar faces joining in voicing their latest creations. The poems were affected by a turbulent year filled with protests, prosecutions, and personal strife that gave the atmosphere a somber mood, as well as glimmers of hope, with interludes from the hosts R.M. Engelhardt and James H. Duncan.

 
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OLYMPIC GYMNAST ALY RAISMAN VISITS THE UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY

By Karlie Flood

Aly Raisman visited the University at Albany on Monday, December 3rdas a part of the NY Writers Institute Speakers Series to discuss her recently published memoir, Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything, a documentation of her journey to the Olympics. Raisman had trained her entire life for the Olympics. Raisman was the team captain of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team in 2012 and 2016, and a six-time medalist. She was also one of the 156 women who testified against Olympic Doctor Larry Nassar in the largest case of sexual abuse in sports history.

 
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IN LOVING MEMORY...

By Jeff Doherty

The Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize is an international prize devoted to poetry. There are monetary prizes for different levels of poetry, but I wasn’t interested in following the money; I wanted to know who created this prize, why it was created, and to find out who Stephen A. DiBiase was. Above all, I wanted to know what made it different from the numerous other prizes I’ve found online. I got to talk to Bob Sharkey, the man behind the prize’s creation, and learn about the storied past of Sharkey, DiBiase, and the tenets of the prize itself.

 
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FROM THE HOMEFRONT TO THE FRONTLINE AND BACK

By Jeff Doherty

Two of the classic stories told about the human experience revolve around war: going to war and coming back. Ryan Smithson is the embodiment of both stories, and has aimed to express the nuances of service, from the positives to the negatives. He presented his memoir, Ghosts of War: The True Stories of a 19-Year-Old GI, and his newest book, 10 Klicks South of Whiskey, a historical fiction centered on the endeavor of a pickpocket turned GI fighting ISIS, and the horror of his superior’s fatal mistake. 

 
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SCI-FI: AN UNDERREPRESENTED GENRE

By Octavia Findley

The Linda Norris Auditorium in Milne Hall was packed with students and faculty alike as the Science Fiction Symposium got underway. This event kicked off a weekend of film screenings, lectures, and student shorts, all under the banner of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein published, no less, on Halloween.

 
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"AN EXQUISITE CORPSE, LIKE ME!" - HALLOWEEN POETRY

By Jeff Doherty

“An exquisite corpse, like me!” That was how R.m. Engelhardt started the reading hour for Quoth The Raven Troy Poetry Mission Halloween, an event that takes places every last Wednesday, with featured poets, and drinks from the bar a floor below. In a room with wood flooring, and rail tables on the second floor of Elixir No. 16 were poets who shouted, sang, and applauded poems old and new.

 
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WITH PEN IN HAND: WRITING WORKSHOP AT THE ALBANY PUBLIC LIBRARY, HOWE BRANCH

By Karlie Flood

“With Pen in Hand” could’ve meant anything: a calligraphy class, a note-taking skill seminar, or an Office Depot advertisement. However, on Monday afternoons from 1:30 – 3:30 pm, at the Albany Public Library - Howe Branch, it refers to a weekly writing workshop! The description for the event on the Albany NY Library events calendar states: “learn how to express yourself clearly and imaginatively, share your work, and respond to the stories of others. Attend any or all sessions.” I wasn’t quite sure what this meant or what the workshop would be like, but I did not expect to find a hidden literary community full of light, talent, and passion in the South End of Albany.

 
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WENDY CHIN-TANNER - HOSTED BY THE REV!

By Octavia Findley

A small stage was set up against the interior wall of the Carol Ann Donahue Collection (Poetry) room at the Shea Learning Center in Troy. The lights were dimmed, and the twenty seats and an alcove made a comfortable space for the poetry lovers who gathered. Matthew Klane, faculty advisor for The Rev, Sage College’s literary magazine, introduced Wendy Chin-Tanner, citing her many achievements as: a founding editor at Kin Poetry Journal, poetry editor at The Nervous Breakdown, and co-founder of A Wave Blue World, an independent publishing company for graphic novels. After a round of applause, she stood and crossed the maroon carpet, taking the spotlight. 

 
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EVAN NARCISSE: FAN, CRITIC, CREATOR!

By Jeff Doherty

Evan Narcisse co-authored the comic series “Rise of the Black Panther”, along with Ta-Nehisi Coates; the culmination of a long journey Narcisse has been on since he was young. He has developed from fan, to critic, and now to a creator who has contributed to the long legacy of his favorite superhero, Black Panther. He spoke to a live audience about the history of Black Panther, and the writing that preceded the blockbuster hit. He also commentated on the film as it played and contextualized some of the hidden aspects that could be overlooked.

 
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LOCAL WRITERS @ HVCC

By Octavia Findley

In light of the inconstant rain, there was a good turnout at “An Evening with Local Writers” held by Hudson Valley Community College. The event’s date was shared with National Coming Out Day, and Richard Hartshorn, a faculty member at the college and a poet in his own right, paused to remark on the criteria for submission for a local publication. “’No swearing, graphic violence, explicit sexual content, or LGBTQ…’” He sighed, “There are clubs that will let you publish without supporting oppression.” A hum of acknowledgement made it across the auditorium chairs before Hartshorn began the night’s reading.

 
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WORLD WITHOUT TIME

By Octavia Findley

The scent of drip coffee lead me to the Large Auditorium of the Albany Public Library’s Washington Branch, the announcements for other events to follow were already being said over a thankfully moderate microphone. I sat in the back, politely declined the welcoming offer of further caffeinating myself, and reached for my pad and pen, ready to join the convivial space.

 
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A PIECE OF ALBANY'S SOUL VISITS THE BOOK HOUSE

By Octavia Findley

The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza was relaxed in the Sunday afternoon haze of October 7, 2018 until William Kennedy, accompanied by Paul Grondahl and Suzanne Lance came on the scene. A round of cheering followed their entrance, before the rustling of bags and zippers filled the room, a generous line forming in front of the low table even before Kennedy had a chance to sit down for his book signing. 

 
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ALBANY POETS’ “BRASS TACKS” SHINES AT THE LOW BEAT

By Karlie Flood

Filled with clapping, snapping and laughter, the environment at Albany Poets’ newest event Brass Tacks, “an open mic on the first and third Tuesday of the month in a rock and roll bar,” was supportive and comfortable. There were regulars who you could tell attended routinely, and some who were attending for the first time, but that did not matter. Everyone was gathered for the same reason: poetry. “Our open mics have had a good crowd; a lot of people come once and come back. Sometimes, it’s a person’s first poetry show and they’re nervous until they get on stage,” said Thom Francis, the President of Albany Poets. 

 
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MYSTERY WRITER'S REVEAL THE MYSTERY OF THEIR WRITING

By Jeff Doherty

The Albany Book Fair hosted by the New York State Writer’s Institute gathered together a number of speakers, vendors, and panels; one of them being a mystery writing panel, hosted by Laura Lippman, Walter Mosley, Joseph Finder, and Linda Fairstein. The authors went through a myriad of topics, guided by the emcee as well as the audience members who asked some intriging questions. 

 
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THIS YEAR'S NEW YORK STATE AUTHOR AND POET!

By Octavia Findley

A New York state of mind was the defining feature of Friday night’s Award Ceremony, presenting the honor of State Author to Colson Whitehead and State Poet to Alicia Suskin Ostriker. The murmurs of the audience slowed to a hush as the previous award recipients came in like a wave, chatting and laughing amongst themselves like old friends. The welcome was steeped in the history of the thirty-fifth anniversary of the New York State Writers Institute, with many tributes to William Kennedy, who raised his cane in salute as the applause thundered at first mention of his name.

 
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BANNED BOOKS IN AMERICA?

By Jeff Doherty

Banned books are as American as the Declaration of Independence, yet the history of banned books is not known to most. Jennifer Ward of the Albany Public Library’s Bach Branch created a display to inform library-goers about the history of banned books, as well as some banned books even casual readers may know of. Even a few books kids read in school for class have ended up on the banned lists.

 
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SEAN PENN VISIT'S ALBANY!

By Tom Chuchta

The students awaiting Sean Penn’s visit to the University at Albany Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall buzzed with nervous excitement. In the second row the energy was palpable and intensified as Penn’s first (partially secret) 4:15 Conversation/Q&A session drew closer. With some protests expected, New York State Writer’s Institute staff elected to host a less public session with Penn at 4:15 for students and teachers who read Penn’s recently published novel: Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, as a part of their semester’s curriculum. Penn would go on to give another talk that same evening at 7:30.

 
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LOCAL POETRY GROUP SEEKS TO GATHER THE “DISPOSSESSED” 

By Karlie Flood

On September 15th, the Hudson River Coffee House in Albany hosted the bi-monthly “St. Rocco’s for the Dispossessed” reading. The September reading featured Mitch Manning, Julian Mostachetti, and Co-Editors of The Doris Billie Chernicoff and Tamas Panitz. 

 
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AUTHOR AND SLAM POET ELIZABETH ACEVEDO VISITS UALBANY

By Karlie Flood

Elizabeth Acevedo walked onto stage with flowered pants, wild curls, and Converse, visiting the University at Albany as a part of the Writer’s Institute Visiting Writers Series on September 6th, 2018. She began her set with a poem.

 
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THE GRACIOUS MARC GUGGENHEIM

By Jesse Seidel

 On the Friday, April 20th I attended as exclusive Q&A session with prolific comic book and screen writer Marc Guggenheim! Guggenheim is best known as a writer for the CW series Arrow, as well as the script of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.


 
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WORLD VIDEOS OUT OF THIS WORLD

By Jesse Seidel

Tuesday, March 6th, dozens of freshmen flocked to UAlbany Campus Center Ballroom, to participate in the World Video Awards. As part of the University at Albany's Living Learning Communities each world, or cluster of students with shared interests such as the World of Writing, World of Zombies or World of Community Service create a video to promote their own L-LC and to highlight their points of purpose. 

 
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KENNEDY'S AMAZING CONTRIBUTION

By Jesse Seidel

January 31st marked the celebration of the 90th birthday of William Kennedy, as well as, the 35th anniversary of the New York State Writers Institute that he founded. Professors, students, and avid fans of literature showed up in droves at Albany's City Hall for the celebration. 

 
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SOCIAL GATHERING AT THE SOCIAL JUSTICE BUILDING

By Jesse Seidel

Thursday. February 15th, I had the pleasure of attending, Third Thursday, the monthly poetry event at Albany’s Social Justice Building at 33 Central Avenue. This gathering happens every third Thursday of the month at 7:30pm. It is hosted by Dan Wilcox. This particular reading was also attended by Bunkong Tuon. Author of Gruel, whose featured reading marked the halfway point of the event.

 
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THE WIT OF EMILY WITT

By Jesse Seidel

Thursday, February 8th, I attended Emily Witt’s Presentation/Q&A Session which was held partly in conjunction with Sexuality Month. (Sexuality Month is a program that is put on annually on UAlbany’s campus by Counseling and Psychological Service and Middle Earth.) Times Union Columnist Jo Paige was present to introduce Witt and gave a short speech about how she was skeptical of Emily Witt’s work at first. She was pleasantly surprised to be wowed at the relatable way Witt speaks in her book ‘Future Sex’.