The Albuquerque Poet Laureate program has seen five powerhouse poets since the inaugural poet in 2012.
Ten years later, the page has turned and a new chapter begins with Anna C. Martinez.
On Wednesday, Martinez was named the sixth Albuquerque poet laureate during a ceremony at the Albuquerque Museum.
“Wow, I want to thank every single one of you that’s here today supporting me, supporting poetry,” Martinez said after being introduced as the new poet laureate.
She will serve a two-year term in the position beginning July 1 and will lead a community outreach project during that time.
Martinez was born in Española, and is a mother and grandmother.
Aside from poetry, she’s a civil rights attorney and also works with the Legislature.
Martinez follows in the footsteps of Hakim Bellamy, Jessica Helen Lopez, Manuel González, Michelle Otero and Mary Oishi – a group she has learned to know well over the course of her journey in poetry.
Albuquerque is one of many cities – including Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Santa Fe – with poets laureate.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have a state-level poet laureate.
Martinez will get a $5,000-a-year stipend for the position.
Shelle Sanchez, the city’s Arts & Culture director, praised the way the Poet Laureate Program works in Albuquerque.
“It’s a great example of how community and government can and should … work together,” Sanchez said. “… For the past 12 years and two different mayors’ administrations, the mayors have said, ‘Yes, we embrace this program. We support this poet laureate that has been chosen completely by the community, outside of city government.’ And then, the city steps in, lifts up the poet, their work and gives them a contract to do their community project.”