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City of Albuquerque Arts & Culture Presents Valerie Martinez Reading from COUNT

Free event is open to the public April 30 at the Albuquerque Museum.

April 18, 2023 - April is National Poetry Month, and Albuquerque writers and readers can celebrate with events throughout the city.

On Sunday, April 30 at 1 p.m., poet Valerie Martinez will read from her book-length poem, Count, with musical accompaniment from the world premiere of “As the Waters Began to Rise,” a vocal work composed by UNM’s Peter Gilbert. The event will take place at the Albuquerque Museum’s Ventana Salon, in partnership with the Museum Store It is free and open to the public.

Count is a book-length, eco-poem that confronts the tragic reality of climate change. The book contains 43 sections of myth-gathering, accounts of climate devastation, personal narratives, descriptions of flora and fauna, references to works of eco-art, and evocations of children, so as to shed light on climate change. Martinez uses earth wisdom and culture to help guide readers through the crises.  

The title comes from the book’s central metaphor— the process of counting: counting down to extinction, counting the wonders of the world, and counting our way back to the balance we need to save the world from climate destruction. Filled with a sense of grief and sorrow, Count also offers the hope that future generations will be able to live on a healthy planet. 

The book will be for sale at the museum bookstore on April 30 and Martinez will sign books after the reading. The first 10 attendees who arrive after 12:30 p.m. will receive a free, signed edition of Count.

Valerie Martinez is a poet, collaborative artist, arts administrator, and educator. She taught literature and creative writing at the college/university level for twenty-three years. Martinez is the author of six books of poetry and was City of Santa Fe Poet Laureate from 2008-2010. Currently, she is the Founding Director of Artful Life, dedicated to creative, community collaboration and the creation of place-based works of public art. Martinez has a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona. She has lived in Albuquerque since 2005. Learn more about her work at www.valerie

As a collaborative artist, Martinez has worked with writers, artists, dancers, composers, and musicians on a wide range of projects, the most recent of which was the world premiere of As the Waters Began to Rise, a vocal work by composer Peter Gilbert based on sections of Martinez’s Count. The work was originally performed in April of 2022 by Ekmeles as part of the 2023 Robb Trust Composers Symposium. Peter Gilbert currently teaches music composition at the University of New Mexico. He has held artist residencies around the world. Accolades and commissions have come from the Barlow Foundation, New Music USA, the Russolo Foundation, Kennedy Center Education, the Look & Listen Festival, the Third Practice Festival, IMEB Bourges, and the Washington International Composers Competition.