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The Home of Hakm's B-Side e-alter ego...his auxiliary brain or external hard drive...

#LeavingOurMark … I am humbled by this opportunity from the City of Albuquerque and the chance to collaborate with such wonderful artist and people. I even learned how to tile and put in some work on the wall. We got a chapbook with this poem, many more of mine and some from the mosaic muralist as well. We’ll be giving them away free at the event on the  evening of June 22nd at 5:30pm, get there early…after 200 are gone, they are GONE! Join and share the event, here! http://on.fb.me/10GQ4id

#LeavingOurMark … I am humbled by this opportunity from the City of Albuquerque and the chance to collaborate with such wonderful artist and people. I even learned how to tile and put in some work on the wall. We got a chapbook with this poem, many more of mine and some from the mosaic muralist as well. We’ll be giving them away free at the event on the  evening of June 22nd at 5:30pm, get there early…after 200 are gone, they are GONE! Join and share the event, here! http://on.fb.me/10GQ4id

New event added to my schedule. You won’t find this under the “What’s Next?” tab. I get to introduce my sister Jessica Helen Lopez, who gets to interview Jimmy Santiago Baca, AND YOU GET TO WATCH IT!

Get your tickets here at www.KiMoTickets.com or call 505.886.1251 to order by phone.

Reserve Seats: Adults-$10 Seniors-$8 Students-$5

Look what landed on ye olde desktop today! SWEAR gets a book review in Local iQ. But this endorsement from a young, Black & gifted 7 year-old is like a badge of BADASSERY “My hero is Hakim. He is my tallest best friend. This is some of his line from Roots Revival: ‘Brother you will not sleep brother. The revolution will not be televised.” Love you to Levi, all apologies to Gil Scott-Heron. #GOODGoodFriday
Read the Local iQ book review by Don McIver here.

Look what landed on ye olde desktop today! SWEAR gets a book review in Local iQBut this endorsement from a young, Black & gifted 7 year-old is like a badge of BADASSERY “My hero is Hakim. He is my tallest best friend. This is some of his line from Roots Revival: ‘Brother you will not sleep brother. The revolution will not be televised.” Love you to Levi, all apologies to Gil Scott-Heron. #GOODGoodFriday

Read the Local iQ book review by Don McIver here.

Inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque Releases His First Collection of Poems
A 35 year-old press helps get the 34 year-old author into the history books.
 
With more than 35 years and 100 titles to its credit, West End Press is fiercely independent publishing house founded in New Your City and now based in Albuquerque, NM. Joining a roster of distinguished West End Authors (such a Pablo Neruda and Meridel le Sueur), Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy was also founded in the Northeast and now based in Albuquerque.
Though West End Press invited Bellamy to submit a manuscript many months before Bellamy was selected as Albuquerque’s first poet laureate, SWEAR is in print eleven months into his two-year appointment. With a book release party and reading announcement coming soon, here is what West End Press had to say about its newest author:
In his debut collection of hard-hitting poems, Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy addresses the issues important to our day—politics, work, and art. Bellamy moves from a free-thinking attitude of deliverance to a provocative new space where the reader can reflect on the poet’s inquisition of the 1%, working class life in urban and rural America, and the transcendent value of hip hop as one of our top exports and global contributions.
Here are a few endorsements of the book:
SWEAR politicizes the human condition in a manner that balances the abstract with the concrete. Bellamy’s work is polemic like Amiri; satiric like Nietzsche; iconoclastic like Mao; passionate like Neruda. Ministering without preaching, Bellamy’s sense of metaphor whistle-blows on the top-down without fear of consequence.
Bruce George
Co-Founder of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on HBO
 
Hakim Bellamy is a man engaged with the world. His words are more direct than lyrical. His poems are warning signs, headlines and prescriptions. From government to Occupy-the economic and political blues finds Bellamy wearing Langston’s hat and coat. Here is the same type of urgency Hughes felt in the 1930s after the Harlem Renaissance. Today our eyes turn to Albuquerque. SWEAR will tell you what’s coming next.
E. Ethelbert Miller
Author, activist, and director of the African American Center at Howard University
 
SWEAR is the physical embodiment of life in the digital age. Bellamy leaves no modern experience undisturbed. His observations, calling upon historical documents, economic structures, and political games, work to examine social and cultural norms that aren’t so normal. Swear’s themes cut through cultural, ethnic, and gendered models to thread together the human occurrences that binds us all while unveiling a pattern of institutional and systemic change. Bellamy creates an active reading experience, compelling the reader to envision how each word, clause, and statement speaks to a 21st century world, without the blinders of complacency and with an eye towards hope. Beyond simple rhetoric and a pithy turn of phrase, Bellamy takes the time to give voice to an America that is often overlooked. He embeds himself in each work, without making the works about him. I highly recommend this book.
Sonia Gipson Rankin
Director of African American Studies, University of New Mexico
 
For more endorsements and information (including the electronic press kit) about SWEAR, visit www.beyondpoetryink.com. Distributed by University of New Mexico Press, review copies and author interviews can be requested from West End Press by contacting Amanda Sutton at Amanda@westendpress.org. For more information on Hakim Bellamy, please visit www.hakimbe.com.

Inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque Releases His First Collection of Poems

A 35 year-old press helps get the 34 year-old author into the history books.

 

With more than 35 years and 100 titles to its credit, West End Press is fiercely independent publishing house founded in New Your City and now based in Albuquerque, NM. Joining a roster of distinguished West End Authors (such a Pablo Neruda and Meridel le Sueur), Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy was also founded in the Northeast and now based in Albuquerque.

Though West End Press invited Bellamy to submit a manuscript many months before Bellamy was selected as Albuquerque’s first poet laureate, SWEAR is in print eleven months into his two-year appointment. With a book release party and reading announcement coming soon, here is what West End Press had to say about its newest author:

In his debut collection of hard-hitting poems, Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy addresses the issues important to our day—politics, work, and art. Bellamy moves from a free-thinking attitude of deliverance to a provocative new space where the reader can reflect on the poet’s inquisition of the 1%, working class life in urban and rural America, and the transcendent value of hip hop as one of our top exports and global contributions.

Here are a few endorsements of the book:

SWEAR politicizes the human condition in a manner that balances the abstract with the concrete. Bellamy’s work is polemic like Amiri; satiric like Nietzsche; iconoclastic like Mao; passionate like Neruda. Ministering without preaching, Bellamy’s sense of metaphor whistle-blows on the top-down without fear of consequence.

Bruce George

Co-Founder of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on HBO

 

Hakim Bellamy is a man engaged with the world. His words are more direct than lyrical. His poems are warning signs, headlines and prescriptions. From government to Occupy-the economic and political blues finds Bellamy wearing Langston’s hat and coat. Here is the same type of urgency Hughes felt in the 1930s after the Harlem Renaissance. Today our eyes turn to Albuquerque. SWEAR will tell you what’s coming next.

E. Ethelbert Miller

Author, activist, and director of the African American Center at Howard University

 

SWEAR is the physical embodiment of life in the digital age. Bellamy leaves no modern experience undisturbed. His observations, calling upon historical documents, economic structures, and political games, work to examine social and cultural norms that aren’t so normal. Swear’s themes cut through cultural, ethnic, and gendered models to thread together the human occurrences that binds us all while unveiling a pattern of institutional and systemic change. Bellamy creates an active reading experience, compelling the reader to envision how each word, clause, and statement speaks to a 21st century world, without the blinders of complacency and with an eye towards hope. Beyond simple rhetoric and a pithy turn of phrase, Bellamy takes the time to give voice to an America that is often overlooked. He embeds himself in each work, without making the works about him. I highly recommend this book.

Sonia Gipson Rankin

Director of African American Studies, University of New Mexico

 

For more endorsements and information (including the electronic press kit) about SWEAR, visit www.beyondpoetryink.com. Distributed by University of New Mexico Press, review copies and author interviews can be requested from West End Press by contacting Amanda Sutton at Amanda@westendpress.org. For more information on Hakim Bellamy, please visit www.hakimbe.com.

I am proud to be recognized by the New Mexico State Legislature on the floor of the State Senate, thanks to Senator Tim Keller. I am equally proud to be part of the International Day/Asian American Day at the State Legislature festivities…where politics and poetry play nicely. Thank you New Mexico!

I am proud to be recognized by the New Mexico State Legislature on the floor of the State Senate, thanks to Senator Tim Keller. I am equally proud to be part of the International Day/Asian American Day at the State Legislature festivities…where politics and poetry play nicely. Thank you New Mexico!

Some people you love.
Some people you don’t.
And the rest somewhere in between…will be performing LIVE at the Moonlight Lounge.

I’ve known Justin and Olivia for quite sometime. It’s been an honor to see them grow. Now, I get to help welcome them back to Burque for the 1st time since they mved to NYC! Yes, THAT NYC. Come join us, pre-sale tix are half price here.

Some people you love.

Some people you don’t.

And the rest somewhere in between…will be performing LIVE at the Moonlight Lounge.

I’ve known Justin and Olivia for quite sometime. It’s been an honor to see them grow. Now, I get to help welcome them back to Burque for the 1st time since they mved to NYC! Yes, THAT NYC. Come join us, pre-sale tix are half price here.

This poem was originally published at Truthout.org.


Citizen’s United – by hakim bellamy

If we kidnapped 
THEIR children 
They would find us

If we put guns 
In the hands of those young 
They would tag them 
“Child soldiers”

But here 
We prefer to leave them 
Clinically depressed 
And decorate them in marine

There is a name 
For people who will take 
The very bread 
Off of our dinner table 
And put it in their pocket

They are toast 
Like champagne flutes 
Are the new silvers spoon

Like what they will be 
When the revolutions 
And the riots 
Catch up with them

Tomorrow morning 
When humanity 
Has the munchies 
And eats presidential candidates 
For breakfast

When their war chest 
Can fill the holes 
In our country’s 
Debt, deficit & addiction

But. 
They’d rather 
Raise money 
To argue about it 
Than raise sleeves 
To fix it

Politicians are NOT people too, Mitt 
LOOK AT YOU!

And they’re not Jesus either, Barrack 
If you remember 
He ran the moneychangers out of the temple 
Not into his cabinet

If you remember 
He was Guantanamo’s blueprint

He was no popularity contestant 
He had no friend in the Pharaoh, Pharisees or FED 
He told them 
Where they could shove 
Their opinion poll 
And they hung him from it

Back in the day 
When Romans used to lynch Jews 
With perpendicular sticks

And you remember 
They make sure you do

Cause from the dome of the United States Capitol 
To the Pantheon bars of the White House 
Boy, 
They gon’ make sure that you know 
Where Black people are supposed to live

Corinthian columns 
At the halls of Congress 
With no reparations 
Or apologies

Depicting corn cobs 
To symbolize 
Our stolen bounty

Tobacco leaves 
To symbolize 
Our stolen “Help”

Our stolen wealth

If you remember 
He did not run for office 
He ran for his life

What ever happened? 
To public servants 
Instead of self-serving

When did it stop 
Being about “We the People”

And start 
Being about winning

When did the Catholic’s 
Social doctrine 
And the athiest’s 
Social justice 
Both translate to 
“Go to Hell”?

Why do we wait for them? 
For education 
And elections

And then wonder 
Wh we won’t teach us 
To elect ourselves

What if 
Every lawn’s 
Campaign sign 
Read “Peace”

What if 
On November 6th 
We’d agree

To agree

What if 
I were to say 
I’ll only believe 
In a government 
That believes 
In me

What if the citizens 
Were really united 
And each one of us 
Decided

That I’d vote for me.

© Hakim Bellamy September 17th, 2012

For Rasheed and for Occupy

I am continually grateful to this community for allowing me to be the vehicle for which “artistic creation” and “dreams” have been given a prominent presence in the media. Now, (the business part) if you are a foundation, philanthropist, angel investor in social entrepreneurship or a venture capitalist…PLEASE contact me. I peddle in dreams and I specialize in making them come true…preferably for others…and if I am lucky, for myself.
Thank you Adrian Gomez and Pat Vasquez-Cunningham of the Albuquerque Journal.
You can click through the picture to the story at ABQJournal.com or you can read the article text below. - hb

VIVID DREAMS
by Adrian Gomez
Hyper-creative. Dreamer. Passionate. These words are what Hakim Bellamy uses to describe himself.
“I’m an idea factory,” he quips during a recent interview. “I have the visions, but it takes an entire group of people help me fulfill these visions. Other people have venture capitalists. I’m a dream capitalist.”
Bellamy, a New Jersey native but an Albuquerque resident since 2005, was on April 14 named Albuquerque’s poet laureate, the city’s first.
With the announcement the Duke City joins the ranks of Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Santa Fe as cities with poet laureates. There are also 42 states, New Mexico being one, that have state-level poet laureates.
“It’s a big deal and I take the honor very seriously,” he says. “There’s an opportunity for me to set the standard with this position. I have the honor for two years and I have to just get going.”
With the addition of poet laureate, Bellamy has to balance a few other titles with it — community leader, visionary, writer and dad.
“I feel like I’m always going, but that’s a good feeling to have,” he says. “There’s always time for my poetry at 3 a.m. when the entire world is quiet.”
Bellamy’s first task at hand is bringing poetry into the public schools.
“My goal is to make poetry matter to people and places it doesn’t matter,” he says. “We have to get children involved with poetry at a young age just so they experience it.”
One of Bellamy’s goals is to have poetry included in more city activities.
“I want more people to be comfortable with consuming poetry,” he says. “I want to get local businesses involved in putting poetry out there. Maybe go to your favorite eatery and see a poem posted at the front.”
Bellamy also wants to instill that fact that everybody’s life is interesting.
“I talk with kids and they think that there is nothing to say about their life,” he explains. “But each life is unique and interesting. That’s what makes this world great. You can grow up in the same town or household, yet have a different view to life.”
While Bellamy is proud of the honor of poet laureate, he admits there was a point when he wasn’t going to apply. He was asked to be part of the committee that chooses the winner but declined.
“There was a point when I felt because I wasn’t a native New Mexican, I didn’t deserve to apply,” he says. “I talked to my friend Carlos Contreras about it and then I started getting calls from other poets encouraging me to apply.”
Bellamy says the process was rigorous and detailed.
“There were so many parts that I wanted to get it all done correctly,” he says.
Don McIver, a member of the organizing committee for the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program, says after the rigourous application process, there were six complete applications. The Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program celebrates poetry by offering a resident poet who makes meaningful connections, honors and serves our diverse community, elevates the importance of the art form, and shares poetry with Albuquerque residents.
“Hakim is a great choice for poet laureate,” McIver says. “Not only is a he a good poet, a good performer, but he understands the public role a poet laureate must play in service to the larger poetry community and Albuquerque.”
Bellamy is certainly no stranger to the poetry scene in Albuquerque, and it all started after he followed his then-girlfriend to the Duke City.
He is a national and regional Poetry Slam Champion and holds three consecutive collegiate poetry slam titles at the University of New Mexico.
He has been published in various anthologies in Albuquerque and is the co-creator of the multimedia hip-hop theater production “Urban Verbs: Hip-Hop Conservatory & Theater.”
“When I moved here, I wanted to immerse myself in everything,” he says. “Seven years later, I’m still immersed in all of it and I’m still enjoying myself. I miss the ocean at times but now I’ve got mountains.”
Bellamy says he got interested in poetry at a young age and credits his parents with the influence.
“They were reading Gil Scott-Heron and listening to Sly and the Family Stone when I was growing up,” he says. “But then as I was growing up, I started listening to more hip-hop and rap and loved the words of A Tribe Called Quest and bands like those. They were rapping and giving me a glimpse into their life without the profanity. I was instantly hooked.”
As Bellamy moves forward with his new position, he hopes to positively represent the city.
“It’s going to be a lot of work, and raising money for functions is the biggest challenge,” he says. “The truth is that it takes a lot of people to help me balance everything that I do and I am grateful to have them in my life.”
In addition to Bellamy taking on this new responsibility, he also will keep his day job as the strategic communications director for the Media Literacy Project at Albuquerque Academy.
“The job helps keep the academic side of me intact,” he says. “I get to delve into creating curriculum for future students, and that’s an amazing feeling.”

I am continually grateful to this community for allowing me to be the vehicle for which “artistic creation” and “dreams” have been given a prominent presence in the media. Now, (the business part) if you are a foundation, philanthropist, angel investor in social entrepreneurship or a venture capitalist…PLEASE contact me. I peddle in dreams and I specialize in making them come true…preferably for others…and if I am lucky, for myself.

Thank you Adrian Gomez and Pat Vasquez-Cunningham of the Albuquerque Journal.

You can click through the picture to the story at ABQJournal.com or you can read the article text below. - hb

VIVID DREAMS

by Adrian Gomez

Hyper-creative. Dreamer. Passionate. These words are what Hakim Bellamy uses to describe himself.

“I’m an idea factory,” he quips during a recent interview. “I have the visions, but it takes an entire group of people help me fulfill these visions. Other people have venture capitalists. I’m a dream capitalist.”

Bellamy, a New Jersey native but an Albuquerque resident since 2005, was on April 14 named Albuquerque’s poet laureate, the city’s first.

With the announcement the Duke City joins the ranks of Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Santa Fe as cities with poet laureates. There are also 42 states, New Mexico being one, that have state-level poet laureates.

“It’s a big deal and I take the honor very seriously,” he says. “There’s an opportunity for me to set the standard with this position. I have the honor for two years and I have to just get going.”

With the addition of poet laureate, Bellamy has to balance a few other titles with it — community leader, visionary, writer and dad.

“I feel like I’m always going, but that’s a good feeling to have,” he says. “There’s always time for my poetry at 3 a.m. when the entire world is quiet.”

Bellamy’s first task at hand is bringing poetry into the public schools.

“My goal is to make poetry matter to people and places it doesn’t matter,” he says. “We have to get children involved with poetry at a young age just so they experience it.”

One of Bellamy’s goals is to have poetry included in more city activities.

“I want more people to be comfortable with consuming poetry,” he says. “I want to get local businesses involved in putting poetry out there. Maybe go to your favorite eatery and see a poem posted at the front.”

Bellamy also wants to instill that fact that everybody’s life is interesting.

“I talk with kids and they think that there is nothing to say about their life,” he explains. “But each life is unique and interesting. That’s what makes this world great. You can grow up in the same town or household, yet have a different view to life.”

While Bellamy is proud of the honor of poet laureate, he admits there was a point when he wasn’t going to apply. He was asked to be part of the committee that chooses the winner but declined.

“There was a point when I felt because I wasn’t a native New Mexican, I didn’t deserve to apply,” he says. “I talked to my friend Carlos Contreras about it and then I started getting calls from other poets encouraging me to apply.”

Bellamy says the process was rigorous and detailed.

“There were so many parts that I wanted to get it all done correctly,” he says.

Don McIver, a member of the organizing committee for the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program, says after the rigourous application process, there were six complete applications. The Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program celebrates poetry by offering a resident poet who makes meaningful connections, honors and serves our diverse community, elevates the importance of the art form, and shares poetry with Albuquerque residents.

“Hakim is a great choice for poet laureate,” McIver says. “Not only is a he a good poet, a good performer, but he understands the public role a poet laureate must play in service to the larger poetry community and Albuquerque.”

Bellamy is certainly no stranger to the poetry scene in Albuquerque, and it all started after he followed his then-girlfriend to the Duke City.

He is a national and regional Poetry Slam Champion and holds three consecutive collegiate poetry slam titles at the University of New Mexico.

He has been published in various anthologies in Albuquerque and is the co-creator of the multimedia hip-hop theater production “Urban Verbs: Hip-Hop Conservatory & Theater.”

“When I moved here, I wanted to immerse myself in everything,” he says. “Seven years later, I’m still immersed in all of it and I’m still enjoying myself. I miss the ocean at times but now I’ve got mountains.”

Bellamy says he got interested in poetry at a young age and credits his parents with the influence.

“They were reading Gil Scott-Heron and listening to Sly and the Family Stone when I was growing up,” he says. “But then as I was growing up, I started listening to more hip-hop and rap and loved the words of A Tribe Called Quest and bands like those. They were rapping and giving me a glimpse into their life without the profanity. I was instantly hooked.”

As Bellamy moves forward with his new position, he hopes to positively represent the city.

“It’s going to be a lot of work, and raising money for functions is the biggest challenge,” he says. “The truth is that it takes a lot of people to help me balance everything that I do and I am grateful to have them in my life.”

In addition to Bellamy taking on this new responsibility, he also will keep his day job as the strategic communications director for the Media Literacy Project at Albuquerque Academy.

“The job helps keep the academic side of me intact,” he says. “I get to delve into creating curriculum for future students, and that’s an amazing feeling.”

Photo by Wes Naman/Naman Photography
Click the pic to link through to the article at www.local-iq.com
Be boys?
 B-Girls be present. 
Past and future
. Dance up a revolution of record proportions. 
Wrecking rotations. 
— Hakim Bellamy, “Forty-Fives” 
 
By Mike English
Poet laureates. Old white men. Robert Frost in a snowy field. Starched suits and ties. Women wordsmiths in tailored dresses, clutching podiums. Albuquerque’s new poet laureate breaks that mold — shatters it, really, then dances on the pieces.
Hakim Bellamy, 33, Philadelphia native and New Mexico resident since 2005, was recently selected to represent the Duke City as its first-ever official poet laureate. Bellamy’s two-year tenure started April 14.
 It’s a development that lands Albuquerque in league with cities like Boston, San Francisco and even Santa Fe — all municipalities that recognize the cultural significance of poetry by naming a poet laureate. And it’s a title Bellamy accepts with humility, as well as the determination to serve his colleagues and community by doing all he can to raise the profile of poetry in the city over the next two years.
 
“I’m a poet in the service of Albuquerque now,” Bellamy said in a recent interview with Local iQ.
 
Most would say he’s been that ever since he arrived in town. Bellamy, who works a day job as the strategic communications director for the Media Literacy Project at Albuquerque Academy, is a two-time national champion in the poetry slam scene, and helped lead the Albuquerque Slam team to a national title in 2005. He regularly works with children and adults by conducting poetry workshops and presentations at schools and community organizations. 
 
You’re just as likely to see Bellamy in front of a group of South Valley fourth graders, or promoting the work of a community-focused nonprofit via social media, as you are to see him on stage performing his own poetry. It’s an impressive combination: a dynamic, engaging performer and wordsmith who cares deeply for his adopted hometown and works for the well-being of others who live here.
 
“I love Hakim,” said Don McIver, longtime Albuquerque poet and member of the organizing committee for the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program, the organization that chose Bellamy as poet laureate. “I find Hakim engaging, warm, willing to speak with conviction, yet diplomatic.”
 
What’s more, McIver said, Bellamy is a talented spinner of verses. “As a poet, he’s keenly in tune with rhythm and how the flow of the poem can help/hinder an audience’s interpretation of it,” McIver said. “As a performer, he’s got a great stage presence, is at ease and open.”
 
Bellamy said he got his literary, artistic and performance skills from an upbringing of “artistic militancy” provided by his parents Edward and Carlease, who pushed him to attend everything from tap and flute lessons to performances of The Nutcracker. The family’s collection of records (Gil Scott Heron, Sly and the Family Stone) and books opened a world of rhymes, sounds and ideas.
 
His first forays into word-craft were rhymes over beat tapes that he and friends shared back and forth. “That gave us a love for writing, a passion for language and voice,” he said. Then he saw Def Poetry Jam on HBO, and there were “these cats making it big time doing exactly what I do.” Bellamy’s path began to take shape.
 
When a girlfriend pushed him on stage one night to read his poetry at a Philadelphia event, the response from the audience was immediately positive. While he resisted the compliments, “At that point, I was like, maybe I could be a poet,” Bellamy said.
 
The girlfriend moved to Albuquerque, and he followed. Bellamy showed up at an Albuquerque Slam event at the Golden West Saloon one night in 2005, competed and won. Soon he was a key member of an Albuquerque Slam team that would win a national title. His path was set.
 
Now when Bellamy shows up at events around town, what he often hears is, “You’re the poet dude.” It’s a label he embraces, but as poet laureate, he wants to stimulate a discussion and raise the profile of poetry in Albuquerque. That’s his primary goal.
 
“I want to challenge notions about what poetry is and what a poet is,” Bellamy said. “Being the populist I am, I want more people in the game.”

Hakim Bellamy
Albuquerque Poet Laureate
hakimbe.com • abqpoetlaureate.org


Photo by Wes Naman/Naman Photography

Click the pic to link through to the article at www.local-iq.com

Be boys?
 B-Girls be present. 
Past and future
. Dance up a revolution of record proportions. 
Wrecking rotations.

— Hakim Bellamy, “Forty-Fives”
 
By Mike English
Poet laureates. Old white men. Robert Frost in a snowy field. Starched suits and ties. Women wordsmiths in tailored dresses, clutching podiums. Albuquerque’s new poet laureate breaks that mold — shatters it, really, then dances on the pieces.

Hakim Bellamy, 33, Philadelphia native and New Mexico resident since 2005, was recently selected to represent the Duke City as its first-ever official poet laureate. Bellamy’s two-year tenure started April 14.

It’s a development that lands Albuquerque in league with cities like Boston, San Francisco and even Santa Fe — all municipalities that recognize the cultural significance of poetry by naming a poet laureate. And it’s a title Bellamy accepts with humility, as well as the determination to serve his colleagues and community by doing all he can to raise the profile of poetry in the city over the next two years.
 
“I’m a poet in the service of Albuquerque now,” Bellamy said in a recent interview with Local iQ.
 
Most would say he’s been that ever since he arrived in town. Bellamy, who works a day job as the strategic communications director for the Media Literacy Project at Albuquerque Academy, is a two-time national champion in the poetry slam scene, and helped lead the Albuquerque Slam team to a national title in 2005. He regularly works with children and adults by conducting poetry workshops and presentations at schools and community organizations.
 
You’re just as likely to see Bellamy in front of a group of South Valley fourth graders, or promoting the work of a community-focused nonprofit via social media, as you are to see him on stage performing his own poetry. It’s an impressive combination: a dynamic, engaging performer and wordsmith who cares deeply for his adopted hometown and works for the well-being of others who live here.
 
“I love Hakim,” said Don McIver, longtime Albuquerque poet and member of the organizing committee for the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program, the organization that chose Bellamy as poet laureate. “I find Hakim engaging, warm, willing to speak with conviction, yet diplomatic.”
 
What’s more, McIver said, Bellamy is a talented spinner of verses. “As a poet, he’s keenly in tune with rhythm and how the flow of the poem can help/hinder an audience’s interpretation of it,” McIver said. “As a performer, he’s got a great stage presence, is at ease and open.”
 
Bellamy said he got his literary, artistic and performance skills from an upbringing of “artistic militancy” provided by his parents Edward and Carlease, who pushed him to attend everything from tap and flute lessons to performances of The Nutcracker. The family’s collection of records (Gil Scott Heron, Sly and the Family Stone) and books opened a world of rhymes, sounds and ideas.
 
His first forays into word-craft were rhymes over beat tapes that he and friends shared back and forth. “That gave us a love for writing, a passion for language and voice,” he said. Then he saw Def Poetry Jam on HBO, and there were “these cats making it big time doing exactly what I do.” Bellamy’s path began to take shape.
 
When a girlfriend pushed him on stage one night to read his poetry at a Philadelphia event, the response from the audience was immediately positive. While he resisted the compliments, “At that point, I was like, maybe I could be a poet,” Bellamy said.
 
The girlfriend moved to Albuquerque, and he followed. Bellamy showed up at an Albuquerque Slam event at the Golden West Saloon one night in 2005, competed and won. Soon he was a key member of an Albuquerque Slam team that would win a national title. His path was set.
 
Now when Bellamy shows up at events around town, what he often hears is, “You’re the poet dude.” It’s a label he embraces, but as poet laureate, he wants to stimulate a discussion and raise the profile of poetry in Albuquerque. That’s his primary goal.
 
“I want to challenge notions about what poetry is and what a poet is,” Bellamy said. “Being the populist I am, I want more people in the game.”


Hakim Bellamy
Albuquerque Poet Laureate
hakimbe.com • abqpoetlaureate.org

March is Women Makin’ History Month a Jazzbah!

Jazzbars w/ Hakim Be & Friends will be “front-woman’d” by Donne “The Wychdokta” Lewis

A bar is a measure of music…Whether it be the bars on the sheet music of a jazz musician or the hot 16 of an MC, every generation measures itself in song. Every month at Jazzbah, a few musicians and a poet or two will give you another moment to remember…We don’t bridge the gap between Hip-Hop and Jazz, we eliminate it.

On the first Tuesday of every month at Downtown Albuquerque’s newest jazz club, hip hop’s genetic precursor and future are on display. Jazzbah Presents: JazzBars with Hakim Be & Friends is a throwback to the era of jazz poetry from which hip hop emerged. Flirted with by the likes of T.S. Eliot and E.E. Cummings; conceived by Black poets in the 20s; and maintained by Beat generation poets in the 50s, jazz poetry has been said to be reborn in hip hop music and at poetry slams.

Tapping under the tutelage of Diane Walker, Buster Brown and Savion Glover; Donne “The Wychdokta” Lewis will be co-hosting Jazzbars this month with Hakim Be. Using foot, voice and verb, Lewis is joining the March line up for Jazzbars to make sure Women’s History Month does not go un-“funkdafied.” A former member and contributing choreographer to DC Tapestry (a Washington D.C. based dance company); Lewis has performed at the 930 Club, The Smithsonian Museum and at Capitol Hill on stage with the late Ray Charles.

Joining “The Wychdokta” is her long-time collaborative partner Stuart “Fish Out O Water” Smith. Percussionist, guitarist, accompanist and dancer, Smith practices many styles “creative martial arts.” “I’ve played for and with international phenomena in the world of dance and music,” says Smith. “Flamencas from all over Spain and Central and South America, Hoofers (tap) from NY, DC, to Chi-town through KC to LA. Swing on djembe, hip-hop on the floor, Bularias on concert toms, Mozart on djun and goncoqui.” Smith has been accompanying university level modern dance classes for over a decade, as a result Jazzbah will remove a few tables to accommodate Smith’s open invite to the dance students at UNM!

The final “& Friends” request from Hakim Be was extended to bassist Eric Owens. Since the age of 14, Eric Owens has been playing in local clubs and bars. No stranger to the road, Owens toured with Quincy Street Records underground alternative band New London for four years. Then he joined southern rockers Six Gun Overload and opened for acts like Foghat, Nazareth and Molly Hatchet. Adding to the dance floor theme of March Jazzbars, Owens says, “Life in the pocket is where it’s at. If I don’t see butts moving and heads bouncing I’m not doing my job!”

JazzBars with Hakim Be & Friends: Women Makin’ History Month will take place at the Jazzbah on March 6th for two shows (7:30pm/9:30pm). Chef Pacheco will be on fine dining and Master Mixologist Denial Gonzales on “sizzurp” duty. As always, tickets are $12 for both shows. FREE w/ valid student I.D. Baseball hats are a no-go, this is cultura with white tablecloths.  -hb


Make sure you let us know if you are joining us Tuesday March 6th for 7:30pm and/or 9:30pm shows at our Facebook Event Page!