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Albuquerque's Seventh Poet Laureate Announced

Damien Flores embodies troubadour spirit that has established Albuquerque as a prominent center for poetry.
July 07, 2024

The City's Department of Arts & Culture and the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program announced the selection of Damien Flores as the city's seventh poet laureate during a celebration on July 7 at the Albuquerque Museum. Flores, a proud native of Old Town Albuquerque and alumnus of Albuquerque High School and the University of New Mexico, succeeds Anna C. Martinez (2022-2024).

“I've known our incoming poet laureate since he was a teenager finding his poetic voice, and I'm eager to witness the depth and vision he'll bring to our program in his role over the next two years,” said Dr. Shelle Sanchez, director of Arts & Culture.

“Our city, and our people, are rooted in artistic traditions that go back generations. It’s part of who we are,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Damien has made his mark representing Albuquerque around the country, and our community benefits greatly from his ongoing contributions to our unique culture.”

Flores has garnered acclaim as a member of the National Champion Albuquerque Poetry Slam and UNM Loboslam teams. He is a multifaceted artist, excelling as an award-winning author, comedian, radio broadcaster, and educator.

Flores embarked on his poetic journey as a teenager with aspirations of becoming a published writer. His dedication and talent have earned him the prestigious 2024 Chatter Fellowship and the NM Writer’s Grant in recognition of his literary and community contributions. Twice honored as Poet of the Year by the New Mexico Hispano Entertainer's Association, Flores also received the Lena Todd Creative Writing Award from the UNM English Department.

In addition to hosting the Spoken Word Hour on 89.9 KUNM-FM, Flores is also an educator with more than 15 years of teaching experience in Albuquerque. Flores has selected to develop a poetry curriculum to be taught in New Mexico public schools as his Poet Laureate Community Project.

"As a teen, I was deeply inspired by the book Hip Hop Poetry & The Classics, edited by award-winning poet & teacher Michael Cirelli," Flores explains. "The book is both an anthology and study guide, complete with creative writing prompts, reading comprehension questions, discussion topics, and lesson plans. My vision is to create a similar text, featuring diverse New Mexican authors to be used in classrooms to help teachers instruct poetry and students to further understand, appreciate, and write poetry."

"The strength of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program is that it relies on the strength of the Albuquerque poetry community,’ said Don McIver, Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program committee member. “Damien will bring a new perspective of the power of poetry to speak for all of Albuquerque.”

Learn more about the Albuquerque Poet Laureate program, including how poet laureates are selected, at