WordFest  is a “festival within a festival” offering an exciting variety of events for written and spoken-word artists of all ages, styles, languages, genres, and levels. Our vision is to produce a rich selection of programs affording festival attendees to participate in three ways:

  • to hear poetry during author readings, open mics, panel discussions, and performances;
  • to practice the craft of poetry through writing workshops;
  • to speak/share works aloud bringing words from the page to the stage via open mics, featured readings, and round-table sharing during workshops.
  • to submit poems for an opportunity to be published in the Waco Cultural Arts Fest WordFest Anthology (details below). All WordFest events are FREE and open to the public of all ages.

Save the Dates for the 2021 WordFest:  Friday, October 15 – Sunday, October 17, 2021

IN-PERSON at the Waco Convention Center!!!!



 Submissions Guidelines for 2021 WordFest Anthology

Submissions accepted June 1 – July 15, 2021. Theme is ‘AIR’.


Submissions will be accepted beginning June 1, 2021. There is no fee for submission. For consideration in the 2021 Waco Cultural Arts Fest WordFest Anthology, poets may submit one poem using the theme of ‘air’. 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 wacowordfest@yahoo.com 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, 2021 by midnight. Selected poets for the 2021 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 2021 WordFest Anthology. 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. After the 2021 festival, you may check back here to find linked copies for purchase on Amazon.


Previous WordFest Featured Poets

2021 ????

2020 Michael Guinn

2019 Loretta Diane Walker

2018 Nathan Brown

2017 Kayla K Morton

2016 Thom Woodruff

2015 Sarah Cortez

Previous Featured Artists on Anthology Cover:

2020 Charles Wallis

2019 Julie Milstead

2018 Susan Sistrunk

2017 Mark Kieran

2016 June Zaner

Previous Poets who have presented workshops

or facilitated readings at WordFest:

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

Anne McCrady

Karla K. Morton

Susan Summers

Thom Woodruff

Loretta Diane Walker

Watch us on Facebook Live Sat. Oct. 3, 2020 from 3:30-4:30 pm .https://www.facebook.com/events/2417252118578348 Over 20 Anthology Poets will be reading their poems ‘live’ from the Martin Museum of Art, Department of Art, Baylor University.

2020 WordFest Schedule Sat. Oct. 3


Dr. Janelle Curlin-Taylor, Jeffrey L. Taylor, The Martin Museum, Sandi Horton, Terri Shuffield, Fiona Bond, Dwight Gray, Juan Perez, Nicole Metts, Lezlie Rogers, and HOT Poets Society

We will be mailing copies of the anthology to USA poets who were published in the 2020 Anthology!

KUDOS TO THE MARTIN MUSEUM DIRECTOR Allison Chew and her staff Chani Jones, Krista Latendresse, Elisa Crowder & Reagan Beck

All events will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2020

from 10 am – 4:30 pm in the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University


For Covid-19 restrictions, please read web page for Martin Museum https://www.baylor.edu/martinmuseum/


WordFest participants will be limited to 30. Please email


wacowordfest@yahoo.com to reserve your space or to be placed on a waiting list.

2020 WordFest Schedule Sat. Oct. 3

10:00-10:30 am Check in at front door wearing a mask

sign in and receive name tag and a tag for your chair

10:30 am-11 am Guided tour of the Martin Museum of Art (led by Allison Chew (museum director)

11 am -noon presentation on Ekphrastic Poetry by WordFest Chairperson Sandi Horton,

then time to write ekphrastic poems inspired by art in the museum, followed by open mic reading of those poems

noon-1:00 pm Lunch on your own – off campus

1:00-1:30 pm Check in at front door wearing a mask

1:30- 3 pm Feature presentation and workshop by 2020 feature poet Michael Guinn

3:00-3:30 pm Break copies of 2020 Anthology will be given

3:30-4:30 pm Facebook Live presentation of the

2020 Anthology Read

Additional copies of the 2021 and past copies are available on line @ Amazon

Waco Cultural Arts Fest participates in AmazonSmile http://smile.amazon.com


Doreen Ravenscroft, WCAF Director

Sandi Horton, WordFest Chairperson

Allison Chew, Martin Museum of Art Director

Michael Guinn, Feature Poet (presentation and workshop)

Steve Sanders, Sound Technology, Facebook Live

The WordFest Feature Poet for 2020 is Mike Guinn. He is a nationally renowned spoken word poet, author, actor and high energy workshop facilitator. His years of experience as a performance poet has lead to numerous theatrical and film opportunities and he is currently appearing in a new series on Amazon Prime now in its second season.  He has several projects in the works and is also set to film his first commercial. He stays busy and has broadened his resume to include motivational speaking and storytelling performances .

The 2020 WordFest Anthology includes U.S. poets from Texas, California, New York, Michigan, North Carolina, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, and New Jersey. International poets represent India, Kenya, and the United Kingdom.

Poets selected for the 2020 WordFest Anthology: Kaye Abikhaled, Julio César Aguilar, Tarik Ahmed ,Sereen Abu Anbar, Beth Turner Ayers, Wendy Baron, Laurel Benjamin, Chris Billings, Birdman 313, Christine H. Boldt, Von S. Bourland, Claire Vogel Camargo, Vanessa Caraveo, Wendy Taylor Carlile, A.J. Chilson, Karen Cline-Tardiff, Linda M. Crate, Janelle Curlin-Taylor, Christopher Danysh, Charles Darnell, Judy DeCroce, Lula Ellis, Manuel L. English, PhD, Nancy Fierstien, Janice S. Fuller, Alan Gann, Christian Garduno, Barbara Terrell Goerdel, D.A. Gray, John Grey, Michael Guinn, Ken Hada, Rose Anna Higashi, Camille Hill, Sandi Horton, Ann Howells, Lisa Hubley-King, Mark Hudson, Christine Irving, Mark Jodon, Ken Jones, David Knape, Laurie Kolp, Mary Anna Kruch, Catherine L’Herisson, Susan Mardele, Jack McCabe, Janet McCann, LaVern Spencer McCarthy, Anne McCrady, Joshua Meander, Sylvia S. Medel, Marianne Mersereau, Nicole M. Metts, Leslie Michaels, Jen Mierisch, Michael Minassian, Zee Mink-Fuller, S. Rupsha Mitra, Kayla Mize, Susan Munsch, Tom Murphy, Ann Marie Newman, Otieno Lawi Ondiek, Michael Owens, Christa Pandey, Alice Parker, Juan M. Perez, DaRell Pittman, Gerald Plant, Jiaan Powers, Betty Roberts, Irene C. Robertson, Susan J. Rogers, Barry Rynk, Cindye Sablatura, Kathryn Sadakierski, Steve Sanders, April Scheffler, Stephen Schwei, Elaine Fields Smith, Bradley R. Strahan, Sandi Stromberg, Jeffrey L. Taylor, Colette Tennant, Carol Thompson, Mark Tulin, Karen Vail, Trevor Wainwright, Loretta Diane Walker, Sterling Warner, Abbie Williams, Thom Woodruff, Christopher Woods, Mantz Yorke, Marilyn Zwicker

WordFest Events 2019

Open Mic at Armstrong Browning Library
Saturday, October 4 at 10:15 a.m.
710 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76706

Armstrong Browning Library
The beautiful Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor University campus.

Armstrong Browning Library and Museum houses the largest collection of poetry written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her husband Robert Browning. WordFest will have an open mic in the Treasure Room of the Armstrong Browning Library on Saturday, October 3 from 10:15 – 11:00 am. We will have chairs, podium and a mic set up in the Treasure Room for our open mic at before the guided tour at 11:00 a.m. Sign-ups for two-minute readings will start at 10:00 a.m. when Armstrong Browning opens.

Author’s Book Exchange
Saturday, October 4, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

Prior to the Distinguished Writers’ reception, poets may bring copies of any of their other published books to exchange with other authors or to place on a display table. Be sure to bring business cards and any flyers for events you are sponsoring.

Distinguished Writers’ Reception
Saturday, October 4, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

The final poets published in the 2020 WordFest Anthology will be invited to a Distinguished Writers’ Reception at 6:00 p.m., Saturday, October 3 where poets will receive a complimentary copy of the anthology and are invited to read their poem.

WordFest Reading
Saturday, October 4, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Poets are invited to attend a public reading of the 2020 WordFest Anthology read by each published poet. The reading is from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 3, 2020 and is open to the public. 2020 Anthology selected poets that are unable to attend the reading can request that their complimentary anthology be picked up by someone attending the festival.

Questions? Please email WordFest Chair, Sandi Horton, or visit our Facebook page for more information.

Previous WordFest Events and Anthologies

With your support we are able to continue selling past anthologies online.
When purchasing, please consider using smile.amazon.com to benefit Waco Cultural Arts Fest and keep the festival free.

The 2019 WordFest Anthology is available for purchase online or during the 2020 festival for $10.

2019 WordFest Anthology

The 2019 Waco WordFest Anthology featured 100 poets from Texas, California, New York, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kansas, New Jersey, Washington, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Rhode Island, plus international poets from Nigeria, India, Canada, Australia and England.

2019 Wordfest featured poet, Loretta Diane Walker.

Selected poets for the 2019 WordFest Anthology: Julio César Aguilar, Elvis Alves, Khadija Anderson, Beth Turner Ayers, Joseph Olamide Babalola, Robin Barratt, Chris Billings, Birdman 313, Joe Blanda, Paul Bluestein, Christine H. Boldt, Guna Borua, Nathan Brown, Hugh P. Burke , Cheryl L. Caesar, Ph.D., Vanessa Caraveo, Claire Vogel Camargo, Jane Chance, Carolyn Chatham, Karen Cline-Tardiff, Diana L. Conces, David Cowen, Linda M. Crate, Doug Croft, Charles Darnell, Margo Davis, Christopher Danysh, Robin Dellabough, Manuel L. English, M. V. Fabiyas, Patricia Ferguson, Nancy Fierstien, Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke, Cynthia Gallaher, Sue Mayfield Geiger, Barbara T. Goerdel , Gene Goldfarb, Linda Goin, Vince Gotera, Jack Granath, D.A. Gray, Gwendolyn Gray, John Grey, Lynn Roberts Grice, Larry D. Griffin, Manaiya Guinn, Michael Guinn, Joyce Gullickson, Lois Heger, Sandi Horton, Ann Howells, Lisa Hubley-King, Cade Huie, Rosemarie Horvath Iwasa, Mark Jodon, Lynn Small Knapp, Laurie Kolp, Lesley Lambton, J.S. MacLean, Don Mathis, Aimee McAllester, Cynthia McCain, Janet McCann, LaVern Spencer McCarthy, Anne McCrady, Leslie Michaels, Zee Mink-Fuller, Sonnet Mondal, Antonia S Murguia, Mick Murray, Susan Musch, Christa Pandey, Alice Parker, Juan Perez, Leni Leanne Phillips, Gerald Plant, Linda Miller Prichard, Lisa Rhodes-Ryabchi, Betty Roberts, LaVonne Roberts, Domingo Rodriguez, Ruth Sabath Rosenthan, Jeanie Sanders, Stephen Sanders, Stephen Schwei, Brian T Sluga, Bradley R. Strahan, Sandi Stromberg, Jeffrey Taylor, Spirit Thom, Carol Thompson, Mark Tulin, Karen Vail, Loretta Diane Walker, Sarah Webb, Janice Whittington, Abbie Williams, Mantz Yorke and Sharon Young.

The 2018 WordFest Anthology is available for purchase online.

2018 WordFest Anthology
    2018 WordFest featured poet and musician Nathan Brown, musician and poet and former Oklahoma Poet Laureate 2013 – 2014.

The 2017 WordFest Anthology is available for purchase online.