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2022 WordFest – Waco Cultural Arts Fest

Fri. Sept. 30 – Sun. Oct. 2, 2022!!

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All events are in Waco Convention Center, Level 1 in TEXAS ROOM NORTH 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 guests & audience 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 – d. ellis phelps
Interactive Workshop: Silence & sound: Poetic rock & roll
2-2:45 pm: workshop part one – d. ellis phelps
In part one of this generative workshop, we will explore caesura, line break, and sound as rhythm and meaning makers in poetics, considering the ability of these devices to create musically rich & textured poems with layered meaning. We’ll use a writing warm-up to mine for prompts, share discoveries, and explore writing samples.
3-3:45 pm: workshop part two – d. ellis phelps
In part two, we will write to facilitator-provided prompts, share work, plus give & receive soft feedback.
4-6 p.m. enjoy some of the Waco Cultural Arts Festival a
6-7 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 Oct. 2, 2022 

10:30 a.m. – noon Workshop/Performance: Performing poetry with instruments and//or percussion led by Rae Denton & Gary Heck
1pm4 p.m. Open Mic (open to the public)  Featuring Native American flute musicians, poets, and rhythm instruments

CONGRATULATIONS to these poets selected for the 2022 WordFest Anthology: Julio César Aguilar, Melanie Alberts, Beth Turner Ayers, Alicia S. Azahar, Gary Beck, Girly Bennett, Chris Billings, Birdman 313, Christine H. Boldt, Doris Brogan, Claire Vogel Camargo , Paul Causey, A.J. Chilson, Charles Darnell, Nancy W. De Honores, Robert L. Dean, Jr., Rae Denton, Morrow Dowdle, Timothy Fab-Eme, Barbara Goerdel, Jack Granath, Dwight A. Gray, Gwendolyn Gray, John Grey, Gary Heck, Elaine K. Henderson, Sandi Horton, Ann Howells, Lisa Hubley-King, Kathleen Hudson, Cade Huie, Mark Jodon, Karen Kilcup, Laurie Kolp, Gayle Lauradunn, Catherine L’Herisson, Susan Mardele, Denise A. Martin, Don Mathis, Sylvia S. Medel, Zee Mink-Fuller, Ann Marie Newman, Brianna O’Brien, Neal Ostman, Christa Pandey, Alice Parker, Curtis Peeples, Katherine D. Perry, D. Ellis Phelps, Gerald Plant, Fabrice B. Poussin, Lisa Rhodes-Ryabchich, Betty Roberts, Irene C. Robertson, Darnerio Rodgers, Barry Rynk, Jeanie Sanders, Stephen Sanders, Laura Silverwood, Barbara Cardinal Sorge, M. Alis Spencer, Sandi Stromberg, Carol Thompson, Janet R. Tyner, Olivia Walker, Sterling Warner, Jennifer Warren, Maria X. Wells, Peter A.Witt, Sarah Susanna Wood, Thom Woodruff, Mantz Yorke

Feature Poet for 2022 WordFest is D. Ellis Phelps!!!

D. Ellis Phelps’ poems, essays, and visual art have appeared widely online and in print. As an educator, she has taught fine arts in various venues with students of all ages for decades & currently facilitates writing craft workshops for various local libraries.

She is the author of four books of poetry: what holds her (Main Street Rag, 2019), what she holds (Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, 2020), , and words gone wild (Kelsay Books, 2021), of failure & faith (forthcoming, Kelsay Books, 2023) and of the novel, Making Room for George (MSSP, 2016).  She writes and publishes the work of other writers and artists on her blog Formidable Woman Sanctuary. She is founding and managing editor of Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press and of fws:  international journal of literature & art.She is a 2021 pushcart prize nominee and was the recipient of first place awards for editing the anthologies purifying wind and easing the edges and the recipient of a second-place award for her collection what she holds from the Press Women of Texas in 2021 and 2022.  The anthology purifying wind received an honorable mention from the National Federation of Press Women in 2021 as well. 

D. Ellis Phelps
Amazon | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
Formidable Woman Sanctuary

Feature Musicians at WordFest for Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022: Rae Denton-Native Flute & Gary Heck-percussion!!!

Rae “FluteLady” Denton is a Retired Hospice Nurse, Musician and Photographer. She has shared the joy and magic of the Native American Style Flute with her patients and has performed in a variety of venues and festivals.

She found her first flute in 2002 and is a self taught musician playing the Native American Style Flutes, Handpan and now learning Guitar.

Gary Heck is a Retired Hospital Worker, having spent 40 years making sure the Kiddos and their Moms got their favorite meals at a time when comforts are few and far between. He found his way into music after having met Rae at a local performance venue. Gary has taught himself Percussion, Drumming, Handpan and Flutes over the past 9 years.

Together they perform a soulful blend of Flute with Guitar, Handpan and other instrumentation.

Rae has 2 CD’s and together they have one.

All are available for download on Bandcamp and Streaming on Spotify
2 of these cd’s are available in hardcopy.

2005 Wind Speaks featuring her son Jackie Tom Denton
8 Sign of Things to Come with Paul Warren, guitarist
014 Enter the Storm with Gary Heck and Friends

Indian Summer Spirit Award 2009
CD Sign of Things to Come

WordFest Anthology 2022 submissions accepted June 1 – July 15, 2022.   Theme is ‘EARTH’.
2022 WordFest Anthology
All final poets published will receive a complimentary copy of the 2022 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.

Submissions were accepted beginning June 1, 2022. There is no fee for submission. For consideration in the 2022 Waco Cultural Arts Fest WordFest Anthology, poets may submit one poem using the theme of ‘earth’. 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 was July 15, 2022 by midnight. Selected poets for the 2022 Waco Cultural Arts Fest WordFest Anthology will be notified by July 31 of their acceptance.

Previous WordFest Featured Poets

2021 Kathleen Hudso

2020 Michael Guinn

2019 Loretta Diane Walker

2018 Nathan Brown

2017 Karla K Morton

2016 Thom Woodruff

2015 Sarah Cortez

Previous Featured Artists on Anthology Cover:

2021 Carrie Stout

2020 Charles Wallis

2019 Julie Milstead

2018 Susan Sistrunk

2017 Mark Kieran


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
Steve Sanders
Susan Summers
Loretta Diane Walker
Allyson Whipple
Thom Woodruff