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Save the date for
Nov. 3-5, 2023


All events are in Waco Convention Center, Level 1 in Texas Room 116-117. 

All workshops and open mics are FREE and open to the public.

Sponsored by Community Race Relations Coalition and HEB

Friday, November 3, 2023

7-9 p.m. Open Mic Poetry (open to the public)

Host: Thom Woodruff

Saturday, November 4, 2023

10:30-11:30 a.m.  Panel Discussion with poets Seema Gill, Anne McCrady, and DaRell Pittman Host: Sandi Horton

1-4 p.m.: Feature Reading & Workshop: Seema Gill

1-1:45 pm: reading

Interactive Workshop: Spoken in Color

2-2:45 pm: workshop part one

3-3:45 pm: workshop part two

5:30-7 p.m Distinguished Writers’ Reception (by invitation) Authors’ Book Exchange, Light bites and drinks

7-9 p.m. Anthology Reading (open to the public)

Sunday November 5, 2023

10:30 a.m.-noon Workshop/Performance: Poetry Collaborations with Art & Music

1-4 p.m. Open Mic (open to the public)

WordFest Anthology 2023 - notifications have been sent to all poets who sent a poem
CONGRATULATIONS to over seventy of the best poets in Texas are included in the 2023 Anthology. Other poets selected from the United States are from New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Minnesota, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Ohio, Michigan, California, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Washington. International poets are selected from Mare-Gravier, Beau-Bassin, Mauritus and the United Kingdom.
Poets selected for the 2023 WordFest Anthology are:
Julio Aguilar, Beth Turner Ayers, Alicia S. Azahar, Spartakos Anagnostaras, Robin Tikvah Barratt, Terri Watrous Berry, Chris Billings, Birdman313, Christine H. Boldt, Genet Gaea Bosque, Brian Bowl, Donna Bowling, Doris Brogan, Hugh P. Burke, Claire Vogel Camargo, D Cawthon, C Cimmone, Karen Cline-Tardiff, Sandra Cobb, Abbie Cotrell, Austin Crisman, Charles Darnell, Manuel L. English, Patricia Ferguson, Nancy Fierstien, Lori Hawk Fyfe, Marianne Gambaro. Alan Gann, Elisa A Garza, Seema Gill, Barbara T. Goerdel, D A Gray, Gwendolyn Gray, Amy L Greenspan, John Grey, Michael Guinn, John Hillman, Sandi Horton, Lisa Hubley-King, Cade Huie, Mark Jodon, Sarah Kalmeta, Alshaad Kara, Patricia Fowler Keoughan, Kip Knott, Laurie Kolp, Ailana Larson, Lisa Romano Licht, Catherine L'Herisson, Susan Mardele, Karen Mastracchio, Joan Mazza, Aimie McAllester, LaVern Spencer McCarthy, Anne McCrady, Jermiria McCray, Sylvia S. Medel, Terry Jude Miller, Ann Marie Newman, Michael Owens, Alice Parker , Juan Perez, D Ellis Phelps, Mary Jane Philpy-Dollins, DaRell Pittman, Gerald Plant, Lisa Rhodes-Ryabchich, Betty Roberts, Irene C. Robertson, Darnerio Rodgers, Susan J. Rogers, Barry Rynk, Denise Salerno, Jeanie Sanders, Steve Sanders, Ira Schaeffer, Stephen Schwei, Sandi Stromberg, Megan Stolz, Carol Thompson, Janet Tyner, Loki Vex, Olivia Walker, Sterling Warner, David G. Williams III, Sarah Susanna Wood, Thom Woodruff, Shiny Wu, Robert Wynne, and David Lester Young.
Waco Cultural Arts Fest WordFest Anthology, poets may submit one poem using the theme of 'moon'. The poem should include a title and be 24 lines or less in Times New Roman 12 point font with no line longer than 50 characters. In order to be considered, poems may NOT be previously published. Please send your poem in the body of one email to with your contact information including: mailing address (country if outside of US), phone number at the bottom and your name as the subject of the email. If the submitting poet is under the age of 18, please include school and age beside the name. A special youth section may be included in the anthology. Do not send more than one email. You will receive a confirmation when your poem has been received. Deadline for submissions is July 15, 2023 by midnight. Selected poets for the 2023 Waco Cultural Arts Fest WordFest Anthology will be notified by July 31 of their acceptance
All final poets published will receive a complimentary copy of the 2023 WordFest Anthology at the Festival in Waco. If you are published and are unable to pick up your complimentary copy, you many arrange to have someone else come pick it up for you at the festival.
Please send requests by email:
Otherwise, poets that do not arrange to have their copy picked up will receive an electronic copy to the email provided upon submission.

WordFest Feature Poet for 2023 WordFest is Seema Gill from London, United Kingdom!!!

Feature Poet Seema Gill writes: Perhaps you can throw some light on the shadow masking who I am, but do not strike a match or I might ignite and explode. My name is either Seema or Svera. My edges have been blurred, time erodes memories and embellishes reality. I remember the limiteds freedom as a teenage girl in India, I found solace in my art and writing, especially poetry. Fell in love with a revolutionary poet who was crushed by the rulers. I was heartbroken. Disillusioned in love and thirsting for freedom, I have travelled across the globe, cultures and barriers, walked the tight-rope from India to Denmark, hot-footed across the equator to East Africa, landing in the middle of a provincial town in West Yorkshire, so cool, that it was frozen in a time zone. That’s good. Breathe deeply and keep the inertia going. I call myself an International gypsy, a midnight child born at the time of partition of two countries, who are still hostile to each other. All my life I have opposed racial tension and cultural conflicts. From my disturbance has come a search for peace and harmony which has assisted my metamorphosis into a poet, writer, artist, photographer and video film maker. I have written and performed poetry in India, Denmark, Tanzania, USA, Canada, and England, I have done more than 60 murals working interactively with children in Denmark, USA and many cities in the UK.

You can view some of my art on

WordFest Featured Poet by year
2015 Sarah Cortez
2016 Thom Woodruff
2017 Kayla K Morton
2018 Nathan Brown
2019 Loretta Diane Walker
2020 Michael Guinn
2021 Kathleen Hudson
2022 d ellis phelps

Featured Artist on Anthology Cover:

2016 June Zaner
2017 Mark Kieran
2018 Susan Sistrunk
2019 Julie Milstead
2020 Charles Wallis
2021 Carrie Stout
2022 Cory Lind
2023  Richard Heley
Previous Poets who have presented workshops or facilitated readings at WordFest:
Mike Baldwin
Kay Bell
Jan Benson
Chris Boldt
Nathan Brown
Cassy Burleson
Sarah Cortez
Susan Duty
Jennifer Evans
Mary Evans
Michael Guinn
Joyce Gullickson
Mike Gullickson
Michelle Hartman
Sandi Horton
Ann Howells
Kathleen Hudson
Anne McCrady
Karla K. Morton
D. Ellis Phelps
Steve Sanders
Susan Summers
Loretta Diane Walker
Allyson Whipple
Thom Woodruff
All events are in Waco Convention Center, Level 1 in Texas Room 116-117.
All workshops and open mics are FREE and open to the public.

Friday, Sept 30, 2022
7-9 p.m. Open Mic Poetry (open to the public)
Host: Kay Bell

Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022
10:30-11:30 a.m. Panel Discussion with poets : d. ellis phelps, Thom Woodruff, Chris Billings
Host: Sandi Horton
1-4 p.m.: Feature Reading & Workshop: d. ellis phelps
1-1:45 pm: reading
Interactive Workshop: Silence & sound: Poetic rock & roll
Presenter: d. ellis phelps
2-2:45 pm: workshop part one
3-3:45 pm: workshop part two
Distinguished Writers’ Reception (by invitation) 6-7 p.m. Authors’ Book Exchange, Light bites and drinks
7-9 p.m. Anthology Reading (open to the public)

Sunday Oct. 2, 2022
10:30 a.m.-noon Workshop/Performance: Performing poetry with instruments/percussion led by Rae Denton & Gary Heck
1-4 p.m. Open Mic (open to the public) Featuring Native American flute musicians, poets, and rhythm instruments

Sponsored by Community Race Relations Coalition and HEB