Thursday, August 14, 2008

Valerie Martinez Named Santa Fe Poet Laureate

News Flash

Valerie Martinez Named Santa Fe Poet Laureate for 2008-2010

The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission has named poet, playwright, essayist, teacher and community artist Valerie Martinez as the City of Santa Fe’s new Poet Laureate.

Valerie Martínez’s first book of poetry, Absence, Luminescent, won the Larry Levis Prize and a Greenwall Grant from the Academy of American Poets. Her second book, World to World was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2004. Martinez’s poetry, translations, and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines as well as many anthologies of contemporary poetry.

Martinez is the city’s second Poet Laureate, taking the reigns from Poet Laureate Arthur Sze whose term is now complete. Not wasting any time, Martinez’s first public appearance as Poet Laureate was at the Inauguration Ceremony for newly elected City officials on March 10, 2008.

The Poet Laureate program of the Santa Fe Arts Commission, established in 2005, strives to promote a meaningful poetic presence as part of the diverse cultural fabric of the city. This is an honorary position given to a person who has established a presence in the world of poetry, has demonstrated a commitment to and passion for poetry, and embraces the opportunity to engage in civic discourse.

The objectives of Santa Fe’s Poet Laureate Program are to:

• Enhance the presence of literary arts in Santa Fe. • Create a focal point for the expression of Santa Fe’s culture through the literary arts. • Contribute to the continued growth of the individual Poet Laureate. • Raise awareness of the power of poetry and the spoken word. • Provide a forum for cross pollination of art forms. • Celebrate the spirit of the people and the special qualities of our city. • Create a unique program that will become a model for other cities. • Create, over a period of time, a body of work that commemorates the life of our city.
Funding for the Poet Laureate Program has been established through the Santa Fe Literary Education Fund, an endowment at the Santa Fe Community Foundation.


Martínez has a B.A. in English from Vassar College and an M.F.A. in Poetry from The University of Arizona. She has taught at the University of Arizona, Ursinus College, New Mexico Highlands University, University of New Mexico, and in the rural schools of Swaziland. Martinez is currently Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing and Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of Santa Fe.

Her books include Absence, Luminescent; World to World; A Flock of Scarlet Doves; and Reinventing the Enemy's Language.

An excerpt from Martínez's new work, “Each and Her” (a book-length poem) is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review (APR), Mandorla, and JUNTA: Contemporary Avant-Garde Poetry by Latino/a Writers. Her essay about Joy Harjo (along with poems by Harjo and Martínez) currently appears in the anthology “Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections” (University of Iowa Press, 2007).

For more information about the work of Valerie Martinez, please visit her Website:

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