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Junkyard Dogs by Damien Flores

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Junkyard Dogs is the debut poetry collection by National Poetry Slam champion Damien Flores. His poems evoke the Old Town Albuquerque of his youth, growing up in a large, complicated Catholic family, and his relationships with his family and the city of his upbringing.

With appearances from Juana Henrieta and Manuel Leyba, Tony Mares, Freddy Fender, and Johnny Tapia, Flores pays homage to the people and places of the Duke City.

6 x 9 in. * 108 pages * ISBN: 978-0-9970353-2-2

Damien Flores hails from nowhere but Albuquerque, Alburque, the Duke City, El Duque, La Plaza Vieja, La Ruca, Old Town, New Mexico, United States of Atzlán.

He earned his degree in English and Chicano Studies from the University of New Mexico. He was named NM Hispano Entertainer’s Association’s Poet of the Year in 2007 and 2008. He has performed for TEDxABQ, and across the country as a key member of ten poetry slam teams, including four national champions: ABQSlams 2011 and 2016 (National Poetry Slam Group Piece Champions), and UNM Loboslam 2006 and 2008 (College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational).

His poems appear in two chapbooks, A Novena of Mud and El Cuento de Juana Henrieta, published by Destructible Heart Press. His work has been featured in Bomb Magazine, The Daily Lobo, Duke City Fix, El Palacio, Albuquerque: The Magazine, and An Underground Guide to Alburquerque, and anthologized in Malpaís Review, De Veras: Young Voices From the National Hispanic Cultural Center, The 2006 National Poetry Slam Anthology, and A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Poetry Slam Scene.

He teaches at The University of New Mexico and the Native American Community Academy, and hosts the Spoken Word Hour, Sunday nights on 89.9 KUNM-FM.

“Through the voices of ‘our breathing ancestors,’ Flores bring to life generations of nuevomexicanos and Chicanos that have shaped the Burque landscape. His poetry reminds us that this space if filled with the hearts and souls of those who have come before us and continue to inspire us through storytelling. His poetry echoes life lessons of love and loss, heroic deeds, and the everyday triumphs of those we hold in high esteem and those that often are forgotten.”–Dr. Vanessa Fonseca, Asst. Professor of English, Arizona State University

“Damien Flores is a griot of his comunidad chronicling lives worth ‘nothing and everything.’ He sings songs of saints, whispers prayers of barrio boxers, chants testemonios of junkyard dogs, recites raza histories real and imagined, and dances with ghosts claiming space for them among the living. Like John Henry reincarnated as Juana Henrieta, Flores’ characters are defiant homes on gentrified blocks battling for survival. These cuentos, “smooth as a new Cadillac,” are crafted with rhythm, soul, and honesty. But above all, they are written with love from the heart of a powerful storyteller. Junkyard Dogs excavates proud bones which refuse to remain buried.”–Amalia Ortiz, HBO Def Poet and author of Rant. Chant. Chisme

“Damien Flores is the kind of poet that feels right at home in the company of the dispossessed and outcast, in the loco streets of La Ruca, where he was raised and on the smoke hazed stages across the spoken word barrios where brujo poets are welcomed and celebrated. His poemas are like canticos and mystical orations that capture the spirit of our ancestors, nuestro antepsasados, in a manner that must startle even them. You are ahead of us now hermanito. May your words guide the way.”–Levi Romero,, author and New Mexico Centennial Poet