How to get your poetry fix in Albuquerque
Here’s a sampling of what Burque offers the verse-addicted. For special events, see our Arts Calendar. Did we miss out on something? Get in on the discussion at alibi.com and let everyone know.
How Do We Love Poetry? Let Us Count the Ways.
National Poetry Month, Albuquerque-style
Let’s be honest about this: Poetry scares people. It can be a challenge to understand and refers to French people a lot. School doesn’t help, since most of the time teenagers are forced to read “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and count syllables in Robert Frost’s work. While I now, as a poet, enjoy both of those things (in terribly small, occasional doses), at 16 I would have rather read transcripts of “The Lawrence Welk Show” than study poetry.
(Photos in Voices by Lou Holmberg & Jeff Buckles)
A history of the poetry scene in Albuquerque
All this wonderful verbal poetry activity Albuquerque enjoys is the icing on the cake that came before it. In coffeehouses like the Purple Turk across from Johnson Gym, Louis Greenfield’s Bookstore & Coffeehouse downtown, The Grave near Old Town, poetry readings started to pop up here in Albuquerque following the San Francisco Renaissance late ’50s. The University reading performances such as Allen Ginsberg in the Anthropology Hall packed to the ceiling energized young poets. Robert Creeley teaching at UNM was a magnet for poets as was his home in Placitas visited constantly by major poets crossing the country. Bookstores—the Yale Street Grasshopper run by Phil Mayne which turned into the Living Batch Bookstore, Salt of the Earth & Full Circle Bookstores —featured almost endless readings & gatherings.