Mark Smith starts the poetry slam in Chicago.


The First National Poetry Slam Championships take place in San Francisco.


Fall: Poetry & Beer started by local poet Jim Reily at Downtown’s Beyond Ordinary nightclub. Soon after Reily moves the alcohol-soaked open-mic around the block to the late, great Fabulous Dingo Bar.


Summer: Lollapalooza’s Third Stage takes poets across the country. Poetry slams are held at each stop on the tour. Albuquerque poet Juliette Torrez starts the tour as a volunteer on the Third Stage but eventually takes over as Stage Manager by the end of the summer.

Fall: Juliette returns to Albuquerque fresh from the Lollapalooza tour. Takes over Poetry & Beer from Reily and introduces Albuquerque to poetry slam. Torrez also brings in Slam luminaries Bob Holman and Hal Sirowitz.


June: Kenn Rodriguez the inaugural Taos Poetry Circus Slam championship. The first Poetry & Beer Grand Slam is held. Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. wins the first-ever Albuquerque City Championship. Joining Sanchez on the inaugural Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team are Jim Stewart, Dr. Bob Wilson and Poetry & Beer co-host Matthew John Conley and alternate Kenn Rodriguez.

August: Team ABQ attends the National Poetry Slam championships in Ann Arbor. The team finishes in 18th place, making it to the semi-finals on its first trip to NPS. Asheville, NC (with future Albuquerquean Danny Solis on board) wins the national Championship. Boston’s Patricia Smith wins her fourth individual title in six years.


January: the first Albuquerque Poetry Festival climaxes at the Kimo Theater in Downtown Albuquerque. Austin firebrand Wammo wins the APF slam title.

March: Juliette Torrez moves to San Francisco. Matthew John Conley takes over the reins of Poetry & Beer.

May: The second Poetry & Beer Grand Slam concludes with Jim Stewart(???) winning the ABQ City Championship. Matthew John Conley, Dr. Bob Wilson, alternate Traci Paris join him on the team.

June: Kenn wins his second consecutive Taos Poetry Circus Slam championship.

Late July-August: The team does a brief tour of Northern New Mexico, Team ABQ goes on to Portland for the NPS championships. The team finishes in 16th place, again making the semi-finals where it is narrowly beaten by eventual national champion, Providence, R.I. Patricia Johnson of Roanoke, Virg. wins the individual championship. The whole festival is documented by a slew of videographers. Filmmaker Paul Devlin uses the footage to make the movie “SlamNation.” Omits Albuquerque from the shot of the scoreboard on semifinal night showing how close Providence came to losing (no sour grapes here. No sir.)


February: The second Albuquerque Poetry Festival is held. Newcomer Amy Helms win the youth slam.

May: Danny Solis wins the Albuquerque City Championship. Kenn Rodriguez, Matthew John Conley, Amy Helms, alternate Jim Stewart, coach Traci Paris make up the rest of the team.

June: Danny wins the Taos Poetry Circus Slam championship.

The Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team, consisting of Kenn, Danny, Traci and Jim places second at the Chili Pepper Regional Poetry Slam in Los Angeles. Kenn places second in the individual competition, coming in behind behemoth LA poet Jerry Quickley.

August: The team places fifth at the NPS Championships in Middletown, Conn., missing the finals by mere points. Among the highlights are a hotly-contested semi-final bout between Team ABQ and Danny’s former poetry haunts, Asheville, NC and Boston. ABQ prevails in the match, but misses the finals. A team sponsored by spoken word record label Mouth Almighty wins the national title. Cleveland’s Da Boogieman wins the national individual title.

September: Kenn begins the all-ages open-mic and poetry slam at R.B. Winning Coffee Co. First dubbed “Son of Slam”, the reading eventually is renamed Mega All-ages Slam, which is shortened to MAS Poetry.


February: The third Albuquerque Poetry Festival ends with Danny Solis winning the APF Grand Slam. Esther Griego wins the youth slam.

May: Kenn wins the Albuquerque City Championship. The rest of the team consists of Danny Solis, Eirean Bradley, Matthew John Conley, alternate/coach Sabrina Hayeem-Ledani, coach Esther Griego, alternate Mike 360.

June: Eirean wins the Taos Poetry Circus Slam championship.

August: The team comes in eighth in the nation at the National Poetry Slam championships in Austin, Texas. Among the highlights are defeating host Austin in its home venue, the Electric Lounge, before a standing-room only audience. New York City’s Nuyorican Cafe wins its first national championship. Chicago’s Reggie Gibson wins the individual championship.

September: After the untimely closing of the Fabulous Dingo Bar and departure of slammaster Matthew John Conley, Poetry & Beer, now curated by Kenn, moves to Sprockets Pub in the University District of ABQ.

December: Danny and Eric Bodwell take over Poetry & Beer.


February: Eirean Bradley wins the APF Poetry Slam.

May: Danny Solis wins his second ABQ City title as the finals are held at The Launchpad after the demise of the Dingo Bar. The team that eventually makes it to Chicago consists of former San Francisco slammaster-current Santa Fe resident Gary Mex Glazner, Tamara Nicholl, Ken Hunt and coach Eric Bodwell. Poets Joanne Young and Coy King qualify for the team, but do not go to Chicago.

June: Joanne wins the Taos Poetry Circus slam.

August: After a tumultuous summer, Team ABQ misses the semi-finals for the first time. San Jose, Calif. and San Francisco share the national championship, ritualistically tearing the old trophy in half at the end of finals night. New York City resident (and Trinidad-native) Roger Bonair-Agard wins the individual championship.


May: Tamara Nicholl becomes the first woman to win the ABQ City Championship as the Grand Slam is held at Poetry & Beer’s new home, Burt’s Tiki Lounge. Aaron “MC Murph” Trumm, Esther Griego, Manuel Gonzalez, alternate Andrea Guest make up the rest of the team, which is coached by Eric Bodwell and advisors Kenn & Danny.

July: Team ABQ places second behind San Antonio at a regional poetry slam in San Antonio. Danny, Kenn and fellow local Amy Mullin jump on the SlamAmerica bus. The bus tour, the brainchild of Gary Glazner, travels the country from Seattle to Providence, R.I., site of NPS 2000.

August: Team ABQ places 24th, again missing the semi-finals. Highlights include a preliminary match against Hollywood, Kalamazoo, Mich. and Atlanta. A team reading of Manuel’s poem “The Fist” garners a 29.7 out of 30. New York City’s Urbana team wins the national championship, narrowly defeating surprise finals entrant San Antonio. Vancouver, B.C., Canada’s Shane Kocyzan wins the individual championship. Danny wins his first “Slammasters Slam” title.


February: The ABQ Poetry Slam Council is convened to help strengthen the poetry slam in ABQ . A third venue, Insomnia Cafe, is inaugurated by host/slammaster The Outsider. MAS Poetry is reinstated as a monthly all-ages slam at R.B. Winning Coffee Co.

March: Poetry & Beer moves out of Downtown again to Club Rhythm & Blues in Nob Hill.

April: Kenn coaches the Taos High Poetry Slam Team at the National Youth Poetry Slam Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Andrea, Danny, Esther and Kenn help coordinate and coach young South Valley poets as part of the first South Valley schools poetry slam. Poets from School on Wheels and Harrison and Polk Middle Schools participate. Mayor Jim Baca introduces the event, but leaves before any poetry is read. Poetry wins anyway.

May: The ABQ Poetry Slam’s Grand Slam is held at an all-ages venues (long-time supporters R.B.Winning Coffee Co.) for the first time. Over 120 attend, watching Sina become the second woman to win the ABQ City crown. Carlos Contreras (who at 17 is the youngest team member to date,) Mike 360, Kenn and alternate Sarah McKinstry-Brown join her on the team, which is coached by Danny and managed by Eric Bodwell.

July: Team ABQ dominates at the Route 66 Festival’s four-team invitational slam, defeating the Danny Solis All-Stars (consisting of Danny, Sarah, and 2000 team members Manuel and Esther), as well as teams from Denver and Flagstaff.

August: Team ABQ places 18th, missing the semi-finals by two spots. Participates in the first ever “Demonstrations Slams” preceding the semi-finals. Defeats Providence, R.I. Highlights include a team reading of the collaborative poem “Love Train,” which is broadcast on KOMO-TV’s Friday evening news. Dallas, Texas wins its first national championship in its third trip to the finals. Nuyorican Cafe champion (and native Chicagoan) Maya del Valle wins the individual championship.


NPS competed in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2003 and beyond

Coming soon……