Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program

Promoting the reading, writing, and appreciation of poetry among the creative community.

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The Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program (APLP) celebrates poetry by recognizing a resident poet who makes meaningful connections, honors and serves our diverse community, elevates the importance of the art form, and shares poetry with Albuquerque residents.

APLP is coordinated by an Organizing Committee. The Poet Laureate is chosen by a separate seven-person Selection Committee, through a thorough review of the competitive applications received and a unanimous decision-making process. 

Book of Poems SeriesMichelle Otero - Bosque

Each Albuquerque Poet Laureate holds a two-year residency which gives them the opportunity to carry out their own unique mission and agenda. After their reign, each poet publishes a collection of their poetry. The City of Albuquerque has partnered with University of New Mexico Press and will release a poetry book series, beginning with Bosque, by Michelle Otero and Duende de Burque, by Manuel Gonzalez. Both books of poems will be released Monday, February 15 and are now available for pre-order at local bookstores such as Bookworks, Organic Books, and Treasure House Books & Gifts. 




Manuel Gonzalez - Duende de Burque

Follow us on social media as we will share virtual poetry readings. We will post daily poems written by the City's former poet laureates. Stay tuned for more Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program updates! 

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The National Hispanic Cultural Center is hosting Zoom readings and discussions. Watch and listen to Michelle Otero on Sunday, February 28 at 3 p.m. and then to Manuel Gonzalez on Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 3 p.m. 



Albuquerque Poet Laureates 

As the Inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque, NM (2012-2014), Hakim Bellamy APLP - Hakim Bellamyholds three consecutive collegiate  poetry slam titles at the University of New Mexico and is a national and regional Poetry Slam Champion. His poetry has been published on the Albuquerque Convention Center, on the outside of a library, in inner-city buses and in numerous anthologies across the globe. Bellamy’s public speaking accolades have continued after his title ended. He hosts a variety of public events, can be spotted and heard in local promotional media, and is currently the Deputy Director of Cultural Services Department for the City of Albuquerque.



APLP - Jessica Helen LopezJessica Helen Lopez spent many years running in the slam poetry circuit in the Duke City. In 2014 she was honored with the title as the second poet laureate of Albuquerque and became the first female with the designation. Lopez has twice represented our city as the Women of the World ABQ Champion at national events. She is currently an adjunct instructor at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA).




Manuel Gonzalez, who held the Albuquerque Poet Laureate title from 2016 to 2018, APLP - Manuel Gonzalezis the first representative born and  raised in Albuquerque. He’s a proud Burqueño who spent his reign performing at the Albuquerque Museum and bringing a poetry slam program into high schools. Gonzalez went on to publish his second book, Om Boy, in 2019. He’s represented the City plenty of times on a national level as a member of the Albuquerque Slam Poetry Slam Team.




APLP - Michelle OteroMichelle Otero holds a B.A. in History from Harvard University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. She spent her time as Albuquerque Poet Laureate (2018-2020) working on a collection of bosque poems and co-hosting a monthly series of bosque walks with a different local poet. She’s also a founding member of the TIASO Artist’s Cooperative and Hembras de Pluma, an indigenous and women of color theatre group.





Mary Oishi retired from a career in radio, having worked for KUNM for many years, APLP - Mary Oishishe's always had a passion for the spoken word. She brings a different perspective to her new role as she is the first retired person to hold the position. Oishi plans to spend her two years working with Albuquerque Public Libraries. She sees it as an investment in the community and believes that her writing is a healing process, which also serves as a conduit in building community. Learn more about the City's current poet laureate, watch her announcement video




Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program Organizing Committee

Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program is coordinated by a five-person Organizing Committee, including:
Mindy Grossberg, Artist
Liza Wolff-Francis, Artist
Valerie Martinez, Poet // Founder / Director, Artful Life
Tanesia Hale, Poet // Educator / Adolescent Program Coordinator, Escuela del Sol Montessori
Don McIver, Poet // ACE Manager, CNM

The APLP Organizing Committee received a 2020 Creative Bravos Award for their contributions to Albuquerque's creative economy. For more information about the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program visit their website