The World Champion of Spoken Word

About Joaquin

Joaquin Zihuatanejo is…

…a poet, spoken word artist, and award-winning teacher. Born and raised in the barrio of East Dallas, in his work Joaquín strives to capture the duality of the Chicano culture. Sometimes brutal, but always honest his work depicts the essence of barrio life, writing about a youth that existed somewhere between the streets of the barrio and the dream wanderings of a boy who found refuge in a world of stories and poems.     Joaquin is a poet who is a uniquely inspiring and articulate teacher that energizes students and adults to discover their voice and share their story.

He’s been called, “one of the most dynamic and passionate performance poets in the country, melding equal parts comedy, poetry, and dramatic monologue into a crowd-pleasing display of verbal fireworks… always thrilling, Joaquín’s hilariously manic presentation is full of compassion and nuance, never sacrificing substance for style.”  Joaquin was a National Poetry Slam Finalist, a Grand Slam Spoken Word Champion, and HBO Def Poet, performing at universities, conferences and poetry slams all over the North America and Europe.  Even with all of this, he’s still essentially a man with two passions in his life: his wife, Aída, and poetry, always in that order.

World Renowned
  • 2008 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion – Besting 77 poets from all over North America, France and Australia
  • 2009 World Cup of Poetry Slam Champion in Paris, France –  Besting 13 poets from 13 different nations
  • Joaquin has shared a stage with Billy Collins, Saul Williams, E. Lynn Harris, Alicia Keys, and Maya Angelou among many others.

Joaquin has taken a break from his teaching position to tour North America and Europe teaching workshops and performing his one-man spoken word show at hundreds of colleges, universities, conferences and poetry slams. For more info on Joaquin or to Book him for your next event, click here.

What Joaquin Does


 Powerful, dynamic, captivating performances that have earned standing ovations all over the globe. In his own unique way, Joaquin bears his soul and takes us on a journey that leaves audiences laughing, crying, and inspired all at once.

Book Performance
Powerhouse interactive writing workshops and webinars that utilize a dynamic mix of performance, group and individual activities that will leave students inspired to embrace the power writing and help them put pen to page and leave an impression.

Book Workshop
Few better than Joaquin at helping students (and teachers) of all ages discover their voice through writing. Through proven techniques, he share with teachers ways to more deeply connect with their students and empower them write.

Book Training
What People Are Saying About Joaquin

Clients & Quotes

Where Joaquin Has Been

Joaquin has visited thousands of middle schools, high schools and colleges across the country.  He has  performed to hundreds of thousands of students, parents and professionals all around the world. He’s been contracted by various agencies and organizations, including but not limited to the following:

University of Iowa
Mutual of Omaha
PA Department of Education
California State University
Oregon State University

What Audiences Say About Joaquin

Joaquin’s performances and poetry have moved and inspired the audiences he has encountered as he has traveled across North America and Europe. He was received praise for the impact of his words in media and print, but nothing is more meaningful than the words he receives from students, teachers and peers. Here are few of things that his audiences say about him and his presentations.

Rudolfo Anaya
Author of Bless Me, Ultima
“Joaquín, your poems are like a satisfying summer rain replenishing a thirsty landscape. They are engrossing, thoughtful, deep with knowledge, and rich in poetic rhythms. You represent a new generation of multicultural poets.”
Jonathan “GNO” White
 University of Texas at Dallas
“As someone who has been on both sides of the curtain, a performer and a person who books talent for our university, in spoken word, performance poetry, and slam, there is Joaquin Zihuatanejo, and then there is everyone else.” 
Erik “Big Poppa E” Ott
 Three-time HBO Def Poet 
“One of the most dynamic and passionate performance poets in the country, melding equal parts comedy, poetry, and dramatic monologue into a crowd-pleasing display of verbal fireworks.  Joaquin’s performances are always thrilling.” 
Mark Williams
 The Bulletin 
“Joaquín, by day an award-winning schoolteacher, has lit the performance poetry scene on fire, winning awards and slam honors from coast to coast; opening a reading for Maya Angelou and sharing a stage with Alicia Keys. 









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Joaquin Zihuatanejo is exclusively managed by CoolSpeak. The Youth Engagement Company.  If you are interested in booking Joaquin for your next event, please click on the button to the right.