Albany Poets is a local organization whose goal is to promote the poets and poetry of Upstate New York. Albany Poets hosts open mics, poetry readings, slams, music and spoken word events, and the annual Albany Word Fest to increase participation and attendance in the local arts community. Albany Poets’ website,, is the most comprehensive resource in Northeast for news and events listings for poetry and spoken word. Albany Poets also publishes a free quarterly literary zine, OTHER:, which showcases poetry, fiction, art, and more from not just the Albany area, but all over the country.

Albany Poets mission is to give everyone the platform to share their poetry with the world. Whether it is at an open mic, on a website, or in print, Albany Poets strives to integrate poetry and spoken word into the Capital Region.



The mission and purpose of Albany Poets is to increase awareness and activity of the art of poetry and spoken word in the Albany, NY area. Albany Poets wishes to accomplish this by hosting poetry events, readings, open mikes, and workshops around the upstate New York area in order to promote the art and increase participation by both established poets in the community as well as new writers and performers. We wish to utilize the colleges and universities around the area in order to develop programs and events with students in an attempt to draw attention to Albany as a literary and cultural hub in the Northeast US.

Albany Poets will also utilize its web presence ( as a way to showcase local talent in the areas of poetry and spoken word. The web site will also act as a community center, where visitors can find get information on poets, readings, events, and links of interest to the art. The website will feature a monthly calendar to highlight the numerous literary events in the Albany area. Visitors can also register to be included in official email lists.



Thom Francis

Thom has been involved in the Albany poetry and spoken word community for ten years. In that time, Thom has published four volumes of his poetry and is currently working on a new book/CD project entitled there. Thom has been featured at such open mics and events as The School of Night (Valentines), Vox (Albany Center Galleries), Web of Consciousness (C@fe Web), Live from the Living Room (Capital District Gay & Lesbian Community Center), Open Spoken (Colony Café, Woodstock), Kill Your TV, Feed Your Ears (Lark Street Bookshop), Third Thursday Poetry Open Mic (Lark Street Bookshop), and the Albany Word Fest 2001, 2002 (Thacher Park), and 2003 (Valentines).

In 2000 Thom was approached by Albany area poet R.M. Engelhardt to serve as Co-Director of They worked together in bring more attention to the Albany poetry and spoken word scene by posting a reading calendar and featured poets on the organization’s website as well as organizing the first three Albany Word Fests.

In late 2003 Thom saw that things in the organization needed to be refocused and began working on a business plan that would better serve the upstate New York poetry community. With that, Thom brought together the Board of Directors, a new mission, a new website, and a new name…Albany Poets was born.

Since then Thom and the Board have been working hard to bring attention to not only the poets and poetry of this city, but bring attention to the city as a whole. The goal is not just to promote the artists of Albany to the world, but to also promote Albany as a place to come as a spoken word artist and perform. Thom is building relationships with poetry organizations in New York City, Boston, and other cities in the Northeast in order to make the poetry community even larger and to bring fresh new poets to this area as well as have Albany poets perform to a broader audience.

Thom serves as the President of Albany Poets with a strong passion and undying vision to make Albany the cultural and literary hub of the Northeast Untied States.


Mary Panza

Mary Panza, Vice President of Albany Poets is Albany’s poetry diva. She originated and hosted the poetry open mic at Border’s and has been a driving force in the poetry community for a number of years. Mary has also been active in promoting, hosting, and participating in many arts events throughout Upstate New York.

Mary has been the host of the Singer/Songwriter stage at the annual LARKfest street fair since 2004 and was one of the first poets to perform in the 25-year history of the arts event in 2006. Mary has published a number of poetry chapbooks and was the producer of Volume, a compilation of Albany area poets performing their work at local readings and open mics. Mary is the host of Albany Poets’ monthly poetry open mic, Poets Speak Loud, at the Lark Tavern.

Mary also served as the Poetry Editor for the new Capital Region edition of Chronogram Magazine.