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Albuquerque's Sixth Poet Laureate Announced

Two Year Term Begins July 1.

June 30, 2022 - Mayor Tim Keller and the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program announced the selection of Anna C. Martinez as the city's sixth poet laureate during a celebration on June 29 at the Albuquerque Museum. Martinez begins a two-year term on July 1 succeeding Mary Oishi. 

Anna C. Martinez is a civil rights attorney, legislative analyst, poet, mother, and grandmother. She was born in Los Angeles to a closet singer seamstress and an artist activist at the height of the civil rights movement. Martinez was then raised in her parents’ hometown of Española, NM, the lowrider capital of the world, when her family returned to reconnect with their roots.

Martinez was first published in 2014 in anthologies La Palabra: the Word is Woman with Albuquerque Poet Laureate Emeritus Jessica Helen Lopez, and Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories from the Chicano Soul with artists such as Lalo Alcaraz and Gustavo Arellano. Her first book of poetry Pura Puta, A Poetic Memoir, was recently published and released nationally by Zachary Hively and Casa Urraca Press.

Martinez is currently on the board of directors for Burque Revolt Poetry Slam, LLC, and is the host of Smoken Word open mic at Café Zin. She has held titles as ABQ XXX Haiku Champ, Chicano/a Slam Champ, Mindwell Poetry Slam Champ 2019, has performed with renowned international artists Guillermo Gomez Peña and La Pocha Nostra, and Buddy Wakefield. Martinez recently traveled to Eureka, CA to headline the first annual Redwood Poetry Festival, hosted by Eureka Poet Laureate Wil Gibson. She also hosts poets traveling to Albuquerque, offering her home as a place they can stay free of charge.

"Poetry matters because it is the most accessible and resonant form of art, politics and history, requiring nothing more than pen, paper, and the vision of the poet. Anyone at any age and from any economic background can impact the discourse in their own community and beyond through the activism of poetry. It is the vehicle that transported me from a curious child raised in Española, the alleged “heroin capital of the world,” to the roundhouse at the NM State legislature as a constitutional attorney and legal analyst. Poetry matters because it is the infrastructure of my life," Martinez said.

The Creative Bravos Award winning 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. Consisting of an all volunteers, every two years the APLP Organizing Committee brings together various stake holders to choose a new PL. From there the Organizing Committee introduces the selected poet and helps them during their tenure.