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Poets From Across the Nation to Compete in Albuquerque’s Chicharra Festival

MindWell Poetry hosts 70+ poets at national level poetry slam festival.
March 06, 2024

MindWell Poetry, in partnership with the City of Albuquerque’s Department Arts & Culture, is hosting the Chicharra Poetry Slam Festival, a new national level poetry slam occurring in Albuquerque March 21-24. The festival features more than 70 poets from across the nation for three days of free workshops, themed readings to elevate marginalized voices, and poetry competitions culminating with the top four teams and top four individual poets competing for $5,000 in prizes and the title of champion. New Mexico residents are invited to participate in all the free events, but organizers encourage purchasing tickets for the Finals Stage at

Opportunities for slam poets and spoken word artists to compete at the national level dropped significantly during the pandemic. Now, poets around the nation are working to introduce new forms of competitive events that consider the next generation of talents and the world they occupy. Local poetry organization, MindWell Poetry, is taking up the charge by creating the Chicharra Poetry Slam Festival. They seek to create opportunities for poets of all ages to participate in learning, engagement, and community development by hosting both day and evening events. 

Poets already registered represent Washington, Nevada, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, New Mexico, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, and New York. The event schedule can be found at

“This festival is the result of a decade of planning and dreaming,” says Zachary Kluckman, festival director. “As someone who has attended nearly every national and regional poetry slam event in the nation, I’ve been considering what works and what opportunities we have to try something new, so I am approaching the organization of this festival through the eyes of the poets.”

In order to ensure everyone in the community has an opportunity to learn from these national talents and participate in themed readings, the festival boasts free events on March 21 and 22 that are open to anyone. 

The Finals Stage, where the top four individual poets and top four teams will compete for prizes and the title of champion, will be held at Hiland Theater. Tickets to the finals are available at

MindWell Poetry is an arts collaborative dedicated to creating safe spaces and advocating on behalf of those who have been historically marginalized due to their mental health, health experiences or identities through the creation of events, educational opportunities and outreach programs within all of our underserved communities within New Mexico.