Current Season

Fall 2001 Calendar

A Very Special Event: What is Afghanistan?

Spring 2001 Calendar

Fall 2000 Calendar

Spring 2000 Calendar

All Poetry Center events are videotaped and made available to the public through our American Poetry Archives collection. The first Complete Catalog in over a decade detailing available Archives tapes will be published in late 2001, including videos from 1974 forward, and audiotapes dating from the early years of The Poetry Center, from its founding in 1954 through the early 70s. MEMBERS WILL BE MAILED A FREE COPY OF THE CATALOG ON PUBLICATION.

READINGS that take place at The Poetry Center are free of charge. Except as indicated, a $7 donation is requested for readings off-campus. SFSU students & Poetry Center (with exception of October 15th Benefit Reading featuring Lawrence Ferlinghetti) get in free.

The Poetry Center’s programs are supported by funding from Grants for the Arts-Hotel Tax Fund of the City of San Francisco, the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Poets & Writers, Inc., as well as by the College of Humanities at San Francisco State University, and by donations from our members. Join us!

The Poetry Center's Spring 2002 reading schedule


February 7 Claudia Keelan & Liz Waldner

February 14 Susan Gevirtz & Jocelyn Saidenberg

March 6 Myung Mi Kim & Geoffrey O'Brien

March 7 Ed Friedman & Ange Mlinko

March 14 Luis H. Francia

March 16 Stephen Rodefer & Chris Stroffolino

March 21 Alan Halsey, Geraldine Monk & Martin Corless-Smith

April 11 Jay Wright

April 18 Kevin Davies & Kevin Killian

April 25 Kazuko Shiraishi & Wadada Leo Smith

May 2 Student Awards Reading

May 2 Murat Nemet-Nejat

May 9 Andrew Levy & Bob Harrison: CRAYON Reading




A special evening with
Claudia Keelan & Liz Waldner

Thursday February 7, 2002, 4:30 pm, Free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

CLAUDIA KEELAN is the author of three books of poetry: Refinery (Cleveland State, 1994), The Secularist (Georgia, 1997), and most recently Utopic (Alice James Books, 2000, winner of the Beatrice Hawley Award). Alice Notley writes of Utopic: "These are beautiful, anguished political poems. They emerge from a Southern past, and a Western desert present in whose palpable solitude Keelan writes for both herself and the many. Utopic is an unanticipated accomplishment." Claudia Keelan lives in Las Vegas, where she teaches at the University of Nevada.

LIZ WALDNER’s books include Homing Devices (O Books, 1998), A Point Is That Which Has No Part (U Iowa, 2000, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize and Academy of American Poets Laughlin Prize), and Self and Simulacra (Alice James, Beatrice Hawley Award winner 2001). Etym(bi)ology (Omnidawn), and Dark would (the missing person) (Georgia) are both forthcoming in 2002. She lives in Seattle. "Liz Waldner is a poet of high wit, high intelligence, and great musical rigor—she may be our Postmodern Metaphysical poet plummeting deeper and deeper with each book into the questions of self, sexuality, and knowing." —Gillian Conoley

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Susan Gevirtz & Jocelyn Saidenberg

Thursday February 14, 2002, 7:30 pm, $7.00 Donation
@The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (At Geary)

SUSAN GEVIRTZ is one of the outstanding writers to come out of the Bay Area literary scene over the past years. As a founding coeditor of HOW(ever), the first magazine in the U.S. dedicated to innovative women’s writing, as a critic (notably on the work of British modernist novelist and film-writer Dorothy Richardson, among others), as teacher, and as author of several remarkable books of poetry, most recently Black Box Cutaway (Kelsey St. Press) and Hourglass Transcipts (Burning Deck). She lives in San Francisco.

JOCELYN SAIDENBERG’s books are CUSP (Kelsey St. Press, 2001), winner of the Frances Jaffer Book Award, and Mortal City (Parentheses Writing Series, 1998). "CUSP IS A POEM OF EXCEPTIONAL SENSIBILITY AND ARDOR," writes Barbara Guest, in majuscule. Saidenberg teaches creative writing at Dueul Vocational Institution, a medium security men’s prison in the Central Valley. At present, she is working on a book commissioned by Atelos Press. Her work has appeared in Raddle Moon, Clamour, Mirage, Tripwire, and Kenning, among other journals. Born and raised in New York City, she currently lives in San Francisco where she edits and publishes Krupskaya books.

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Myung Mi Kim & Geoffrey O'Brien

Wednesday, March 6, 2002, 4:30 pm, free
@The Poetry Center, SFSU, Humanities 512

MYUNG MI KIM is Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. Her three previous books of poetry are Under Flag, winner of the 1991 Multicultural Publishers Book Award, The Bounty (1996), and Dura (1998). Myung Mi Kim reads from Commons, her newest volume, out from UC Press. Myung Mi Kim's Commons weighs on the most sensitive of scales the minute grains of daily life in both peace and war, registering as very few works of literature have done our common burden of being subject to history. Abstracting colonization, war, immigration, disease, and first-language loss until only sparse phrases remain, Kim takes on the anguish and displacement of those whose lives are embedded in history.

"The poems in Commons are at once global and intensely personal and emotional. An immensely talented poet, Myung Mi Kim loves language - its internal rhymes, alliterations, and diverse rhythms. Caught off guard by the beauty and precision of Kim's language and the exquisite images she so deftly conjures, we are drawn unwittingly into a web of fragmentary memories that subvert what we think we know about the violent history that haunts her and never ceases to demand recognition."—Elaine Kim, author of Asian American Literature: An Introduction to the Writings and Their Social Context, and co-editor of Dangerous Women: Gender and Korean Nationalism.

GEOFFREY G. O'BRIEN's poetry has appeared in many journals, including American Letter & Commentary, The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, The Iowa Review, and Volt. Obsessed with work and dream, shot through with weather and color, Geoffrey G. O'Brien's spirited debut, The Guns and Flags Project, pursues the possibility of the lyric itself—whether the voice raised "with melodies/and thinking" can be rescued from the ongoing disaster of progress. In roving five-beat lines the poems pass again and again through scenes of liminality—sunset and dawn, falling asleep and waking up, border crossings—searching there for a potential ethics and politics of vision, a mutating, rhythmic "project" to oppose the inert spectacle of guns and flags. Like Ashbery stoked on sonics, O'Brien insists that the restless, unsatisfied motion of thought must hold the place for an ever-decaying freedom within the state.

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Ed Friedman & Ange Mlinko

Thursday March 7, 2002, 7:30 pm, $7.00 Donation
@The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (At Geary)

ED FRIEDMAN has three new publications out this past year: Away, a limited edition collaboration with visual artist Robert Kushner (Granary Books); Drive Through the Blue Cylinders (Hanging Loose); and The Funeral Journal (Jensen/Daniels), a section from Space Stations, a journal running since 1979. Responding to his earlier book Mao & Matisse, Murat Nemet-Nejat noted a poetry "exquisitely attuned to this historical moment. Its texture embodies the cultural minutiae of its time and its issues. Its easy transparence crackles with them." Ed Friedman grew up in Los Angeles, and he lives in New York City, where he’s Director of The Poetry Project at St. Marks Church.

ANGE MLINKO’s book Matinées (Zoland) was reviewed by William Corbett: "To my parent’s generation a matinee meant sex in the afternoon. The sex in Matinées is between Mlinko and language, and the poems are gratified like Lucky Pierre. They have that rosy look of delight; they take joy and give it. . . . Her work has two qualities that cannot be faked, a sense of humor and life itself." Ange Mlinko moved from Boston to New York City, where she edits The Poetry Project Newsletter.

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Luis H. Francia

Thursday March 14, 2002, 4:30 pm, free
@The Poetry Center

Presented in collaboration with Asian American Studeis, SFSU

LUIS H. FRANCIA’s new book Eye of the Fish (Kaya Press) is a semiautobiographical work combining reportage, travel diaries, and memoirs, with the contemporary Philippines as foreground and background. "Impressive in its scope and ambition, Eye of the Fish is at once a hugely readable travelogue and an indispensable guide to the fascinating and richly varied archipelago." —Amitav Ghosh. Luis Francia is the author of several works published in the Philippines (Memories of Overdevelopment: Review and Essays of Two Decades; The Arctic Archipelago and Other Poems) and editor of Brown River, White Ocean: Twentieth-Century Philippine Literature in English (Rutgers), Flippin’: Filipinos on America, with Eric Gamalinda (Asian American Writers Workshop), and New Asia (Portable Lower East Side) with Indran Amirthanayagam, Kimiko Hahn, and Peter Kwong. He is at work on Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999 (forthcoming from NYU), with media artist Angel Valesco Shaw. Born and raised in Manila, he lives in New York City.

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Stephen Rodefer & Chris Stroffolino

Saturday, March 16, 2002, 7:30 pm, $7.00 Donation
@The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (At Geary)

STEPHEN RODEFER makes a rare return visit to the Bay Area, from his current home in Paris ("Of all the most intensely American of poets, Rodefer is the most European" —Rod Mengham). Two large collections of new poetry appeared during 2000, Mon Canard (The Figures) and Left Under a Cloud (Alfred David Editions, UK)—each incorporating the long poem Erasers. Author of over twenty books of poetry, prose, translations (notably the best Villon in English), plays, essays, fiction, "Stephen Rodefer and his writing are, as we say in French, a force of nature." —Pierre Alferi.

CHRIS STROFFOLINO’s striking new collection of essays on contemporary poets and poetry, Spin Cycle (Spuyten Duyvil) follows his book of poetry Stealer’s Wheel (Hard Press). "Chris Stroffolino’s poems are dizzying in their rapid fire statements and metaphors. . . . Stroffolino is an original and he’s brilliant." —James Tate. Recently moved to Oakland from New York City (after Pennsylvania and Albany, NY), he teaches at St. Mary’s College, in Orinda, CA..

"STROFFOLINO harks back, his poems resonate with history, alive and unending thanks to a Shakespearean Padovan Pennsylvanian mix phenomenal in its lusty brilliance. Tucked back into our bodies by his laughter, we’re at last ready to agree ‘it’s the mind now.’ I don’t think I’m ‘too close to the source to see the image’—to hail this poet as among the foremost of the young who are already giving striking form to a generation’s perplexities." —David Bromige

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An evening with Brithish poets
Alan Halsey, Geraldine Monk & Martin Corless-Smith

Thursday March 21, 2002, 7:30 pm, $7.00 Donation
@The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (At Geary)


Thursday March 21, 2002, 3:30 pm, Free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

An open discussion on New British Poetry

Three of Britain’s outstanding contemporary poets make a rare appearance:

ALAN HALSEY, born in London in 1949, is a poet, book dealer, publisher, and graphic artist, whose remarkable works ("fierce and quiet . . . determined, and without illusion, the kind of poetry we need") include A Robin Hood Book (West House), The Text of Shelley’s Death (Five Seasons), and Wittgenstein’s Devil: Selected Writing 1978-1998 (Stride). He lives with Geraldine Monk in Sheffield.

GERALDINE MONK was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, in 1952, and is celebrated as a reader and performer of "genuine word magic . . . a wonderful poet: revelatory, intense, ever surprising." Her recent books include Noctivagations (West House), Interregnum, a sequence of poems on the Pendle Witches (Creation Books), and The Sway of Precious Demons: Selected Poems (North and South).

MARTIN CORLESS-SMITH is from Worcestershire, England, and has lived in the U.S. since 1992. His books ("highly original" works of "a remarkable emotional range") include Complete Travels, (West House Books 2000) and Of Piscator (University of Georgia Press 1998). His poetry "manages the almost impossible: to make contemporary techniques combine with the traditional in such a way that he turns on its head both the old and the new" (Chelsea). His chapbooks include The Garden : A Theophany OR ECCOHOME a Dialectiocal Lyric (Spectacular Books) and On The Nature of Things... (811 Books), a reading/ erasure of Lucretius's De Rerum Natura. He has also editied an Anthology of Anonymous Middle English Lyrics, forthcoming from Marsilio Press. He has an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a Ph.D from the University of Utah, and is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Boise State University. He also has an MFA in painting. He is married to the poet Catherine Wagner and together they spend half the year chasing around England.

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A special evening with
Jay Wright

Thursday April 11, 2002, 7:30 pm, $7.00 Donation
@The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (At Geary)

JAY WRIGHT is slowly coming to be seen as among the extraordinary American poets currently at work. From his first book, The Homecoming Singer, from Corinth Books in 1971, to his latest, Transfigurations: Collected Poems, out last year from Louisiana State University Press, his poetry has taken on textures and dimensions, voices and urgencies that embody the vast spectrum of African American diasporic experience ranging throughout the Americas. What North American poet contemporary has so engaged the landscapes, mythologies and stories, the layers and dimensions of history running throughout northern, southern and central America—pointing the way to a multipli-sourced, radically exploratory, polyglot spirit-culture?

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1935, Jay Wright played professional baseball before studying literature at the University of California at Berkeley and Rutgers University. His books of poetry include Transfigurations: Collected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2000), Boleros (1991), Selected Poems of Jay Wright (1987), Explications/Interpretations (1984), Elaine’s Book (1986), The Double Invention of Komo (1980), Dimensions of History (1976), Soothsayers and Omens (1976), and The Homecoming Singer (1971). Recipient of many awards and honors, in 1995 he was named a Fellow of The Academy of American Poets. He lives in Bradford, Vermont.

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Poetry Center Book Award Reading

Kevin Davies & Kevin Killian

Thursday April 18, 2002, 4:30 pm, Free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

Selecting KEVIN DAVIES’ book Comp. (Edge Books, 2000) for the latest Poetry Center Book Award, Kevin Killian recognized "a book of great passion and intelligence, entwined together like the two creepy snakes of the caduceus. Davies seems to know all about class, money, politics, labor, and how the debates behind them form our notions of sexuality, power and aesthetics (beauty). He's persuasive, forceful enough to make me believe, and reading his book, one finds page after page of emotional sustenance, the hot fire of anger and the chill of a wonderful mind. "Can’t," "couldn’t," "didn’t," the words used most frequently in Comp., are followed by "if," an enactment of deracination and despair leavened by a subjunctive hope, and by Kevin Davies’ own coruscating wit. He’s the Stanley Kubrick of poetry (and I mean that in a good way), and Comp. is the most invigorating poem I've read in a long, long time."

KEVIN DAVIES was born and raised on Vancouver Island. In the 1980s he was active in the Vancouver poetry community and was a member of the Kootenay School of Writing collective. Since 1992 he has lived in New York City, where he is now employed as a financial proofreader. Pause Button (Tsunami Editions, Vancouver, 1992) and Comp. form the first two parts of his Trilogy of Error, which will be completed by his current work in progress, The Golden Age of Paraphernalia.

KEVIN KILLIAN is a poet, novelist, critic, and playwright based in San Francisco. He has written a novel, Shy (1989), a book of memoirs, Bedrooms Have Windows (1989), and three chapbooks, Desiree (1986), Santa (1995), and The Kink of Chris Komater (1999). In the last few years he has published: a new novel, Arctic Summer (1997), a book of stories, Little Men (1996), which won the PEN Oakland award for fiction, and his first full-length book of poetry, Argento Series (Krupskaya, 2001). With Lewis Ellingham, he is coauthor of the biography Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance (Wesleyan University Press, 1998). With Dodie Bellamy he has edited nearly 100 issues of the SF-based writing/art zine they call Mirage #4/Period[ical]. He has written on the Bay Area art scene for Artforum, Artweek, Framework, etc., and acted in video and theater work for Anne Carson, Abigail Child, Margaret Crane, Cecilia Dougherty, Kota Ezawa, Phoebe Gloeckner, Carla Harryman, Sue Marcoux, Raymond Pettibon, Leslie Scalapino, Sarah Schulman, Leslie Singer, Laurie Weeks, et al. In addition, Mr. Killian is an active member of San Francisco's Poets Theater and has written or co-written thirty plays for them.

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An evening of poetry & music

Kazuko Shiraishi & Wadada Leo Smith

with translators Yumiko Tsumra & Samuel Grolmes

Thursday, April 25, 2002, 7:30 pm, $7.00 Donation
@The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (At Geary)

o KAZUKO SHIRAISHI, one of Japan’s major poets, appears in San Francisco for a very rare West Coast performance. Born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1931, she was taken to Japan by her family just before the war broke out, and began her fiercely independent poetic career among the turmoil and devastation of post-war Tokyo. Influenced by abstract art, experimental literature, and avant garde jazz, she braved the morés of conventional Japanese society to write explicitly about sexual and spiritual freedom. She has performed worldwide, with her poetry translated into more than 20 languages. During the 1970s in the U.S. she recorded with American jazz masters Sam Rivers, Abdul Wadud, and Buster Williams (the LP Dedicated to the Late John Coltrane), and New Directions issued her Seasons of Sacred Lust, edited by Kenneth Rexroth. Let Those Who Appear, a new volume of translations (also from New Directions) takes a giant step beyond the sensational world of her first book in English.

o WADADA LEO SMITH, trumpeter and composer, is an astounding musician of exceptional virtuosity and brilliant spirit. Among many recordings over the past 30 years, recent works for the Tzadik label include the triumphal Golden Quartet (with Anthony Davis, piano; Malachi Favors Magoustous, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums), Reflectativity (with Davis and Favors), and Red Sulphur Sky (solo trumpet works). He has performed with Kazuko Shiraishi in Japan and on the East Coast, and is the first holder of the Dizzy Gillespie Chair at CalArts, Valencia, CA.

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Student Award Reading:
Thursday Afternoon, May 2, 2002, 4:30 pm, Free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

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An evening of contemporary Turkish poetry
Murat Nemet-Nejat

Thursday, May 2, 2002, 7:30 pm, $7.00 Donation
@The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (At Geary)

o MURAT NEMET-NEJAT has been engaged for years in the great project of bringing contemporary Turkish poetry—drawn from a body of work that "is one of these gigantic forces basically invisible . . . in the West"—into English. His translations include: Orhan Veli Kanik’s crystalline lyrics from the 1940s (collected in I, Orhan Veli, Hanging Loose Press); Ece Ayhan’s dark, intensely visionary prose-poems ("a poet of the victimized, of the totally discarded and forbidden") A Blind Cat Black and Orthodoxies (in one volume from Sun & Moon); Küçük Iskender’s staggering Souljam (in manuscript), a long poem that’s somehow violent and tender at once, swirlingly baroque in sensibility; alongside numerous other contemporary Turkish poets, several introduced under the heading "A Godless Sufism" in a recent short anthology (Talisman 14)—the root-work of a larger anthology to be published in 2003.

Murat Nemet-Nejat was born in Istanbul in 1940, to a Jewish family of Persian background, and came to the U.S. in 1959, graduating from Amherst College and Columbia University. His books include The Bridge, a long narrative poem, and a remarkable long essay The Peripheral Space of Photography (Green Integer, 2002). A dealer in antique rugs, he lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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A celebrataion of the magazine CRAYON

Andrew Levy & Bob Harrison with CRAYON contributors

Chris Daniels (reading Fernando Pessoa), Jean Day, Hung Q. Tu, & Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

Thursday May 9, 2002, 7:30 pm, $7.00 Donation
@The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (At Geary)

Thursday May 9, 2002, 3:30 pm, Free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

A free workshop on editing the literary magazine

FOR THE FINAL EVENING OF OUR SEASON, we’re presenting a group reading in celebration of the literary magazine CRAYON, with both editors on hand from out of town, along with a great array of California-based contributors to read from their works. With its fourth issue forthcoming, CRAYON, an annual, is proving to be among the most intelligently edited, handsomely designed, compelling and adventurous literary magazines currently published in the U.S. Order copies via www.spdbooks.org

ANDREW LEVY, CRAYON coeditor, is author of Democracy Assemblages (Innerer Klang), Curve (O Books), Continuous Discontinuous (Potes & Poets) and Paper Head Last Lyrics (Roof Books). Once a drummer, he has collaborated on projects with renowned percussionist Gerry Hemingway. Raised in Indiana, he lives in New York City, where he works for the online alternative news site mediachannel.com.

BOB HARRISON, coeditor of CRAYON, is author of several books of poetry including Split Poems, Broken English (with Dodie Bellamy), and Coup Sticks. He edited Croton Bug, a poetry magazine, from 1992 to 1996, and CORTEXT, a catalog of visual poetry, with Nicholas Frank, in 1996. Born in Panama, he lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

CHRIS DANIEL’s brilliant translations of the great Portuguese modernist Fernando Pessoa (done in collaboration with Dana Stevens) appeared in a large selection in CRAYON 3, alongside an outstanding interview on Pessoa done with Chris Chen. He is at work on the poetry of numerous Brazilian poets, with collections scheduled for publication in the U.S. of works by Murilo Mendes, and Josely Vianna Baptista, and additional works by Paolo Leminski, Orides Fontela, et al., awaiting publication. He lives in Berkeley.

JEAN DAY is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent of which is The Literal World (Atelos, 1998). Sections from her forthcoming book Enthusiasm have appeared in CRAYON, The Germ, Raddle Moon, and Aufgabe, and recent translations appear in Closing the Millennium: The Changing Landscape of Contemporary Russian Poetry (Talisman House). She lives in Berkeley.

HUNG Q. TU is the author of Verisimilitude, his first full-length book of poetry, from Atelos Press. Formerly an editor at Krupskaya books in San Francisco, he presently lives in San Diego.

TSERING WANGMO DHOMPA's work has appeared in the Boston Review, Bitter Oleander, Mid-American Review, Fourteen Hills, et al. Her chapbook Recurring Gestures was published by Tangram Press, and In Writing the Names by A.bacus. She lives in San Francisco.

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The Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives Fall 2001 reading schedule

September 6 C.S. Giscombe & Ishmael Reed

September 20 Sarah Menefee & Benjamin Hollander

September 27 Alan Chong Lau & Shirley Ancheta


October 11 Claudia Rankine & Linda Norton

October 15 Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Benefit for The Poetry Center

October 18 Paul Auster: George Oppen Memorial Lecture

October 25 Bill Berkson & Vincent Katz

October 27 Mark Nowak & Allison Hedge Coke


November 2 Bernadette Mayer & Jack Collom

November 10 Alice Notley

November 29 Pierre Joris

December Mohmoud Darwish (presented by Lannan Foundation): BAY AREA APPEARANCE CANCELLED.

Fall 2001 Venues



What is Afghanistan?: A Reading & Open Discussion
A special evening with Tamim Ansary, Shahi Sadat, and Jennifer Heath

Monday November 5, 7:30 pm, free
@ The Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

The Poetry Center will sponsor a reading and open discussion on Afghanistan, to take place on Monday, November 5th (we are moving with haste as one of the participants will only be in the Bay Area from Nov 1-5). This event will put a human face on Afghanistan, and will focus on the presence and multiple perspectives of two writers from that country, alongside an American writer intimate with Afghan history, politics, and perspectives. Writers are too often ignored as commentators during political upheaval in the U.S., or else limited to functions considered appropriate (e.g., the poet's role since 9/11 has been figured largely as providing consolation for loss). This event will allow writers with a working knowledge of Afghanistan and its people to present their literary work and to comment on and provide personal testimony regarding recent events. WHAT IS AFGHANISTAN?--a question in homage to poet and activist Walter Lowenfels' historic question Where is Vietnam?--will offer a greatly needed opportunity for Californians to become aware of educated perspectives that reach beyond those of political commentators who pursue issues of policy while ostensibly providing information. This event will broaden public understanding and directly address prevailing public ignorance of Afghanistan and Afghan peoples, recent history, and cultures. The evening will include live opening music by Afghan musician Hasib Wais, on rebab (Afghani lute) with dole (tabla) accompaniment.

Confirmed participants:

TAMIM ANSARY: Afghan American writer whose article "An Afghan American Speaks" was broadcast widely over the internet (Craig's list, Salon.com, et al) in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, leading to Mr. Ansary's appearance on national television (e.g., with Bill Moyers) and radio. He has been in the US for 35 years, writing for non-profits in the SF Bay Area, and is the author of many nonfiction books for children, focused on Native Americans, science, and other subjects. He writes a column for online encyclopedia site Encarta.. Mr. Ansary's autobiographical memoir will be published in Spring 2002, and he is presently completing a novel set in Afghanistan.

SHAHI SADAT: Afghan poet, currently a student of International Relations at San Francisco State University, has lived in the U.S. as a political refugee since 1995. Born in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in 1972, he has written several books of poetry, short stories, and aphorisms in different languages--English, German, Hindi-Urdu, Farsi, and Pashtu (Afghani), including Tears of the Heart and From the Breath of Life to the Sigh of Death, 2000 (Afghan Cultural Society, Alameda, CA). In 1998 he received the honor of being named Afghanistan's National Poet and Poet of the Year by the Afghan Cultural Organizations in Exile. A scholarly study of his poetry, conducted by well-known Afghan anthropologist and poet, Abdul Shakoor Rishad at Kabul University, in 1999 was prevented publication by the Taliban. His family lives in exile in Peshawar, Pakistan.

JENNIFER HEATH: novelist, teacher and activist, author of an historical novel about Afghanistan, A House White With Sorrow: Ballad for Afghanistan, 1995 ("a heartrending, heartwarming, very human novel in which a young American woman's life becomes inextricably entwined with the lives and politics of Afghanistan" --Lucy Lippard, art critic & novelist). Ms. Heath lived in Afghanistan for many years, and is involved in various Afghan and anti-Taliban organizations. Her next book is forthcoming from Paulist Press: The Scimitar and the Veil: Extraordinary Women of Islam. She lives in Boulder, CO.

STEVE DICKISON, Moderator. Executive director of The Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives, and lecturer at SFSU. A poet, editor, and writer, he is at work on The Unfolded Fold, an edition of the U.S.-born Canadian poet Robin Blaser's selected talks on poets and poetry from the 1980s and '90s, as well as an edition of the selected writings of Lebanese American writer Etel Adnan. With David Meltzer, he co-edits and publishes the new publication Shuffle Boil, a magazine of poets and music, a tri-annual featuring writings by poets, musicians, and other artists focused on music. Recent Poetry Center programs under his direction have included presentations of writers from Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Bosnia, Phillipines, and an anthropologist focused on Morocco.


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A special evening with
Thursday September 6, 7:30 pm, $7 donation
@ The Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

C.S. GISCOMBE has written several compelling books of poetry—including Here, Giscome Road (both from Dalkey Archive), and Inland (new from Leroy Books)—and a related book of essays following several trips into Canada's remote northwestern wilderness. In his debut work of nonfiction, Mr. Giscombe searches for a possible 19th-century ancestor, a Jamaican miner and explorer whose surname, Giscome, has become "affixed to the geography" of British Columbia. Regarding Into and Out of Dislocation (North Point Press, 2000), Ishmael Reed observed that he "addresses issues that have drawn the attention of African-American writers since the beginning of the tradition, but he does so with original insights. This is because he has explained the universe to which readers of African-American writing have become accustomed and by doing so reveals the agony as well as the beauty of black life in this hemisphere in new ways . . ." Born in Dayton, Ohio, C.S. Gisombe works as an associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, in State College, PA.

ISHMAEL REED'S writings were published in a large selected edition last year as The Reed Reader (Basic Books, new in paperback 2001), in his own words "a sampling of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, songs and theatre published and performed since the 1960s . . . a midcareer report on the progress of a pretty good writer . . ." Terry McMillan, among others, is more forthright in her evaluation, and notes simply that "Ishmael Reed is a genius and one of our most gifted and brilliant satirists, and his fiction, and poetry alike resurrects the dead." Some of Mr. Reed's amazing novels have recently been reprinted by Dalkey Archive Press (among them The Freelance Pallbearers, The Last Days of Louisiana Red, and Yellow Back Radio Broke Down). Recipient of a MacArthur Award among many other prizes, editor and small-press publisher, co-founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, Ishmael Reed lives and writes in Oakland.

"Ishmael Reed has elevated American satire to a new level, on that Mark Twain would appreciate. The sweep of his work has both grandeur and genius, and even when you disagree with him, he has you laughing, often at yourself. His always provocative writing has humanity, humor, power, and vision. A true original." —Jill Nelson (author of Straight No Chaser)

"Ishmael Reed is the Charlie Parker of American fiction." —Max Roach

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An evening with poets
Thursday September 6, 7:30 pm, $7 donation
@ The Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

Two of San Francisco’s more extraordinary poets, Sarah Menefee and Benjamin Hollander are writers each possessed of a singularly distinctive voice. In each of their works, poetry's capacity for ethical encounter repeatedly calls its listeners to witness the world in words. Questions of justice, compassion, and possibilities of active engagement and response recall nearly abandoned purposes of literary art. What is poetry good for? Well, in their words we can find out.

SARAH MENEFEE grew up in Reno, Nevada, and has lived in San Francisco for over twenty years. She’s the author of two full-length books of poetry, I’m Not Thousandfurs and The Blood About the Heart (both from Curbstone Press), as well as numerous small volumes. She has read her work in many situations locally, nationally, and internationally, including two reading tours of Italy, where her poetry was translated and published as Il Sangue Intorno al Cuore (Multimedia Edizioni, Salerno). Ms. Menefee works as a bookseller, and an activist and advocate for homeless and impoverished people’s rights, in San Francisco.

BENJAMIN HOLLANDER was born in Israel and emigrated to New York City in 1958, at the age of six. He has lived in San Francisco since 1978. His books include The Book Of Who Are Was, Translating Tradition: Paul Celan in France (editor), and Levinas and the Police, Part 1 (new from Chax Press). In 1993, he visited the Fondation Royaumont in France, where selections of his poetry were collectively translated into French and appeared as Le Livre De Qui Sont Était (Créaphis). Mr. Hollander has directed The Floating Center for Poetry and Translation, a forum for writers, translators, and scholars engaging in collective translations of contemporary foreign poets. He teaches critical thinking, writing, and other courses at Chabot Community College in Hayward, California.

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An afternoon reading with
Thursday September 27, 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

presented in collaboration with
Asian American Studies, SFSU

Join us when celebrated poet Alan Chong Lau returns to California from Seattle, joining his friend and fellow poet Shirley Ancheta for an afternoon reading of their works at The Poetry Center.

ALAN CHONG LAU’s early book of poetry, Songs for Jadina, won the American Book Award in 1981. His new book, Blues and Greens, subtitled "a produce worker’s journal" —based on Mr. Lau’s experiences working daily in an Asian produce department in Seattle’s international district—is new from the University of Hawaii Press, published in association with UCLA Asian American Studies Center. "In this sensuous, often witty book," notes Gail Tremblay, "one is struck from the first page onward with how completely this poet lives a ‘life considered.’ No one I know writes with more sensitivity about the nature of life and work than Alan Lau, and few poets explore so honestly the nature of living in a community with others who have had to live complex and difficult lives." Also a visual artist, Mr. Lau has illustrated this volume throughout with his ink drawings and sumi paintings.

sign language

When our new worker
from Vietnam wants to take a breather
he signals to me
Holding an imaginary stick in mid-air
he snaps it in half
and grins

SHIRLEY ANCHETA co-edited the poetry anthology Without Names (Kearny Street Workshop, San Francisco), one of the first such collections by Filipino American poets. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Bamboo Ridge, Quarry West, and Premonitions: the Kaya Anthology of Asian North American Poetry. A regular book review contributor to the Seattle International Examiner Reader, she lives in Watsonville, California, and works as an English instructor at Cabrillo College, in Aptos. With Jeff Tagami, Al Robles, and others, she recently presented a program titled "Watsonville Stories" at the San Francisco Public Library.

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An evening with poets
Thursday October 11
7:30 pm, $7 donation
@ The Unitarian Center
1187 Franklin (at Geary)

CLAUDIA RANKINE is the author of three books of poetry: Nothing in Nature is Private, The End of the Alphabet, and—new from Grove Press—Plot. Among a growing number of younger Black poets at work in the U.S. with ties to the Anglophone Caribbean, Ms. Rankine in this latest book arrives at a remarkable multipli-voiced feminine vision. The poetry of Plot is often a "thinking in pictures," in image and dialogue, memory, fragment, and story:

"Still to speak of loss is like dusting a thought much
farther away . . . farther than the moment the atmosphere
cries, I am lost though I am here."

As Barbara Guest writes, "Plot moves as in a picaresque novel, in which the body schemes and frightens, accompanied by Claudia Rankine’s instinct for poetic surprise ." Mary Gordon remarks, "I am awestruck. Quite simply, I have never read anything like Plot. Its stupendous intelligence . . . marks it as a masterpiece." Ms. Rankine teaches at Barnard College and lives in New York City.

LINDA NORTON’s writing finds its way in the interstices where human lives take place in the contemporary urban milieu. Marked distinctly by three American cities—Boston, New York, Oakland—her poetry and prose works are restlessly interrogating, acutely keen to the singular nuance of people’s expressive revelations . . . knowing and wondering, intimate and exposed. Ms. Norton is an acquisitions editor for the University of California Press, and an editor at Five Fingers Review. She has published her poetry, fiction, and non-fiction in Mandorla, Exquisite Corpse, North American Review, and other magazines. She lives in Oakland. Her postcard collages were included in a recent show at the Kitchen in New York, Art for Plot, centered on art inspired by Claudia Rankine’s poetry.

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A solo reading to benefit The Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives
Monday October 15
7:30 pm, $7-12 donation
@ Club Fugazi
678 Green Street
(aka Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd;
between Columbus & Powell, North Beach)

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI presents his poetry—in a rare solo hometown reading at the historic Fugazi Hall in North Beach—to benefit The Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives. Since the publication in 1956 of A Coney Island of the Mind, one of the most popular American books of poetry of the past half-century, with close to a million copies in print, Mr. Ferlinghetti has published fourteen books with New Directions. His latest, How to Paint Sunlight, is just out. As Joel Oppenheimer wrote in the New York Times Book Review, Ferlinghetti writes poetry ". . . in ways that those who see poetry as the province of the few and educated had never imagined. That strength has turned out to be lasting."

Founder of the landmark City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, located on Broadway and Columbus, and publisher of City Lights Books, Lawrence Ferlinghetti was selected as the first Poet Laureate of San Francisco (1998-1999).

Historic Fugazi Hall—since 1974 "Club Fugazi" and the home of the popular musical stage show Beach Blanket Babylon—was the site of numerous poetry readings throughout the Beat era (among other occasions, Allen Ginsberg read his famous poem Howl there). Call the theater for tickets to this Benefit performance: 415-421-4222.

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The George Oppen Memorial Lecture in Twentieth Century Poetics
Thursday October 18
7:30 pm, $7 donation
Special Location
@ ODC Theater
(3153 17th Street at Shotwell)

PAUL AUSTER, from his early friendship and correspondence with the late Objectivist poet George Oppen, to his essays on Oppen’s poetry and on the poetry of Oppen’s friend and contemporary Charles Reznikoff (collected in The Art of Hunger), has brought a sharp, attentive eye and unusual insight to the task of recognizing and naming the rare value to be found in these writers’ works. Mr. Auster, visiting from his home in Brooklyn, New York, will be addressing the extraordinary lyric work of Charles Reznikoff—"a poet of the eye," as he noted concisely in his essay "The Decisive Moment"—for The Poetry Center’s 17th annual Oppen Memorial Lecture. Celebrated internationally for his eight novels and several films, including Smoke and The Center of the World (both with Wayne Wang), he has written several volumes of poetry, including Disappearances: Selected Poems, half a dozen acclaimed translations from French (Joseph Joubert, Mallarmé, Philippe Petit, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Clastres), and edited the remarkable Random House Book of Twentieth-Century French Poetry.

"The tree in the twilit street —
the pods hang from its bare symmetrical branches
motionless —
but if, like God, a century were to us
the twinkling of an eye,
we should see the frenzy of growth."
—Charles Reznikoff (cited in "The Decisive Moment")

Call the theater for tickets @ (415) 863-9834.

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Two events with
Thursday October 25
A Tribute to Rudy Burckhardt
3:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU
7:30 pm, $7 donation
reading from their poetry
@ The Unitarian Center
1187 Franklin (at Geary)

Join us for two special events linking the world of contemporary poetry with the overlapping world of visual arts. During an afternoon presentation on the SFSU campus, poets Bill Berkson and Vincent Katz pay tribute to their late friend, pioneering filmmaker, photographer, and painter Rudy Burckhardt—featuring films and slides of Burckhardt’s utterly memorable and lovingly attentive works. Later that same evening, Mr. Berkson and Mr. Katz—both with bright new collections out—will read from their poetry at San Francisco’s Unitarian Center.

BILL BERKSON’s discerning senses are as evident and welcome in his many writings on contemporary artists as in his uniquely "primitive / American / sophisticate" poetry. A corresponding editor for Art in America, and frequent contributor to Modern Painters, Art on Paper, and other magazines, Mr. Berkson works as professor of art history at the San Francisco Art Institute. His new book of poems, Fugue State, with cover by Yvonne Jacquette, is just out from Zoland Books. Other recent books are Serenade: Poetry and Prose 1975-1989 (with cover and drawings by Joe Brainard), Young Manhattan (prose collaboration with Anne Waldman), and A Copy of the Catalogue (Labyrinth, Vienna). He lives in San Francisco.

VINCENT KATZ is a poet, translator, and critic. His books in collaboration with artists include A Tremor in the Morning (with linocuts by Alex Katz), New York Hello! and Boulevard Transportation (both with photos by Rudy Burckhardt), Pearl (with paintings by Tabboo!), and Voyages (with artist James Brown). He curated, in 1998, the first museum retrospective of Rudy Burckhardt’s work, for IVAM in Valencia, Spain, and last year co-curated, with Lynn Gumpert, Rudy Burckhardt and Friends: New York Artists of the 1950s and 60s for the Grey Art Gallery in New York. Mr. Katz has translated the Latin poems of Sextus Propertius—as the book Charm. Understanding Objects (Hard Press) is his latest book of poetry, "a new turn in the poetry of everyday experience" (Kenneth Koch). He lives in New York City.

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An afternoon reading with
Saturday afternoon October 27
3:30 pm, free
@ Knuth Hall
Creative Arts 132, SFSU

presented in collaboration with
Wordcraft Circle of the Americas Native Writers and Storytellers
(October 26-27 at Knuth Hall)
& American Indian Studies, SFSU

MARK NOWAK is the author of Revenants, a book of poetry, co-editor with Diane Glancy of the acclaimed anthology Visit Teepee Town: Native Writings After the Detours (both from Coffee House Press), and editor of the often extraordinary journal Xcp: Cross-Cultural Poetics, out of Minneapolis. Gerald Vizenor has called his poetry "an original return to a splendid ethos of ancestral word patterns." Mr. Nowak, who grew up in the Polish American neighborhoods of Buffalo, New York, and is an associate professor at the College of St. Catherine in Minneapolis.

ALLISON HEDGE COKE is the author of Dog Road Woman, her American Book Award-winning debut collection of poetry (Coffee House Press). She co-edited two anthologies of Native American poetry and writing for the Institute of American Indian Arts, It’s Not Quiet Anymore and Voices of Thunder, and is completing work on a memoir, Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: a survival narrative (forthcoming from U Nebraska). Prolific as a teacher and activist throughout the Western states, Ms. Hedge Coke is currently project coordinator for the program Mentorship for Incarcerated Youth in South Dakota, and is a board member of Wordcraft Circle of the Americas Native Writer and Storytellers. She lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

"Allison Hedge Coke is a skilled, spirited, young poet who is transforming and honing her social and personal experience and reflection to speak with the voice of a whole people." —Amiri Baraka

"These are songs of righteous anger and utter beauty." —Joy Harjo

NOTE: This afternoon’s reading at Knuth Hall will be followed by a group reading in conjunction with the two-day Wordcraft Circle of the Americas Native Writers and Storytellers festival Friday October 26 and Saturday October 27. For more information on this two-day event, the first such to take place in San Francisco, contact Kim Shuck, American Indian Studies, SFSU, or John-Carlos Perea, Department of Music, SFSU.

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An evening with
Friday November 2
7:30 pm, $7 donation
@ San Francisco Art Institute (Lecture Hall)
800 Chestnut Street
(between Leavenworth & Jones)

presented in collaboration with
San Francisco Art Institute
& Small Press Traffic

BERNADETTE MAYER, tireless experimentalist and diffident, generous bold spirit, makes a rare appearance on the West Coast. Of her many books of poetry and prose, more recent publications include Two Haloed Mourners, Another Smashed Pinecone, Proper Name, The Formal Field of Kissing (translations and epigrams), The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters, The Bernadette Mayer Reader, and a new edition of her marvelously lyrical extravagant long poem Midwinter Day. Utopia Productions recently released a CD of her reading from her writings, and the complete Studying Hunger Journals is in the works from Qua Books. Ms. Mayer lives in East Nassau, NY.

More on and by Bernadette Mayer at http://www.epc.buffalo.edu/authors/mayer/

JACK COLLOM was raised near Chicago, and moved to Colorado in his youth, where he still lives. After the Air Force, where he wrote his first poems in Tripoli, Libya, he worked in factories for 20 years. He’s edited three collections of writings by children for Teachers and Writers Collaborative, among others, taught free-lance as a Poet-in-the-Schools and at Naropa Institute, where he’s focused on Ecology Literature and Writing Outreach. This visit to San Francisco marks Mr. Collom’s 70th birthday (on November 8). Author of 16 small press books of poetry, recent ones include Arguing With Something Plato Said, and the collaborative long poem Sunflower (with Lyn Hejinian).

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A special evening with
Saturday November 10
7:30 pm, free
@ The Ira & Lenore S. Gershwin Theater
2350 Turk Boulevard (near Masonic)

presented in collaboration with Readings at Lone Mountain,
the M.F.A. Writing Program at the University of San Francisco

ALICE NOTLEY returns to San Francisco for a solo reading at the beautiful Gershwin Theater (admission is free). Ms. Notley’s work as a poet over the past three decades presents one of the great adventures of contemporary American poetry. Her newest book, Disobedience, just out from Penguin, follows Mysteries of Small Houses, Close to me...& Closer (The Language of Heaven) and Désamère, and The Descent of Alette, in its radical breaking loose from conventions and presumptive practices, opening poetry to its possibilities for unforeseen vision. ‘The first sentence (of my poem) must be "I left it."’ (from "Change the Forms in Dreams," Disobedience). Please join us for this truly special evening of poetry in the American grain, as Ms. Notley visits from her present home in Paris, France.

"I seem to start with my poem The Descent of Alette these days, whatever it is that I am now seems to start there. It was for me an immense act of rebellion against dominant social forces, against the fragmented forms of modern poetry, against the way a poem was supposed to look according to both past and contemporary practice. It begins in pieces and ends whole, narrated by an I who doesn’t know her name and whose name when she finds it means appendage of a male name; her important name is I. I stand with this, and with the urgency that saying I creates, a facing up to sheer presence, death and responsibility, the potential for blowing away all the gauze."

Writings and more at http://www.epc.buffalo.edu/authors/notley/

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An afternoon reading with
Thursday November 29
4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

As poet Nicole Brossard notes, "To read the poetry of PIERRE JORIS is to listen to the ticking of the words, to observe them preparing to move and alter themselves so as to expose the nature of what a split second of fervor in language can do to meaning." Mr. Joris’s first major publication of his own poetry in the United States is Poasis: Selected Poems 1986-1999 (Wesleyan University Press, 2001). "This is a substantial volume both for what it proposes and for the pleasure in fragmentary form it brings forward. It is an intimate book of data, personal confidence, theoretical pursuit and perceptive vision. . . . [Joris’s poems] extend with urgency and reflection a personal encounter with the complex and diverse faces of modernism. These poems work at times with delightful sonic care, melodic staccato stanzas stacked with provocative imagery." (Dale Smith)

This large new book follows on numerous acclaimed anthologies and over a dozen translations, in several directions, into and from French, German, and English. With Jerome Rothenberg he coedited the massive two-volume international anthology Poems for the Millennium (1995 & 1998), and the collection pppppp: The Selected Writing of Kurt Schwitters (1993). Besides numerous contributions within those volumes, he is noted for his remarkably nuanced translations of Paul Celan, Maurice Blanchot, and Edmond Jabès, among others. Mr. Joris lives in Albany, New York.

Writings and more at http://www.albany.edu/~joris

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MAHMOUD DARWISH—renowned Palestinian poet—is scheduled to appear in several cities in the U.S. during December, at the invitation of Lannan Foundation.

One of the major poets of the Arab world over the past several decades, Mr. Darwish is starting to see his poetry and prose appear in significant editions in translation in the U.S. Memory for Forgetfulness (University of California Press), a prose narrative regarding the Israeli bombing of Beirut in 1982, appeared in a marvelous translation by Ibrahim Muhawi. The Adam of Two Edens (Syracuse University Press), a volume of selected poems edited by Munir Akash and Daniel Moore, with various translators, appeared last year.

Details on U.S. appearances forthcoming.


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is located in Humanities 512 on the SW corner
of the San Francisco State University Campus,
1600 Holloway Avenue
2 blocks west of 19th Avenue on Holloway
take MUNI’s M Line to SFSU
28 MUNI bus or free SFSU shuttle from Daly City BART

is located at 1187 Franklin Street
at the corner of Geary
on-street parking opens up at 7:00 pm
from downtown SF, take the Geary bus to Franklin

is located at 678 Green Street, in North Beach
(aka Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd;
between Columbus & Powell)
parking in municipal garage on Vallejo near Stockton
take the 30 Stockton bus to Columbus & Green

is located at 3153 17th St
at Shotwell in the Mission District
cheap, secure parking in the lot across 17th
from 16th St. BART walk
one block east to S. Van Ness, one block
south & 1/2 block east on 17th

is located at 800 Chestnut Street, in North Beach
(between Leavenworth & Jones)
a short walk up the hill from Columbus
take the 30 Stockton bus to Columbus & Chestnut

is located at 2350 Turk Boulevard
(west of Masonic)
paid off-street parking is available
ask at kiosk, entrance to Lone Mountain campus at 2800 Turk
for MUNI bus schedule call 415-673-6864

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The Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives Spring 2001 readings schedule

February 8 George Stanley & Sharon Thesen

February 15 David Meltzer & Jack Hirschman

March 1 Semezdin Mehmedinovic & Ammiel Alcalay

March 4 Homage to Joe Brainard

March 15 Benjamin Friedlander & Horace Coleman

March 29 Milton Murayama

April 5 Mark McMorris & Elizabeth Willis

April 19 Ernesto Cardenal

April 28 Euro-SF Poetry Festival

May 3 Cole Swensen & Elizabeth Robinson

May 10 Student Awards Reading

May 17 Stefania Pandolfo & Leslie Scalapino



Spring 2001 season

A special evening with
Thursday February 8, 7:30 pm, $5 donation
@ The Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

San Francisco native George Stanley makes a rare return visit to his home town for The Poetry Centerís opening evening of its Spring 2001 series. A member of the poetry circles around the late Jack Spicer and the North Beach bohemian scene during the 1960s, Mr. Stanley had his early books published here by the legendary White Rabbit Press. Some of his finest later poems are centered on his personal and family history in San Francisco. His amazing long poem "San Franciscoís Gone" (in the recent book Gentle Northern Summer) is the most remarkable San Francisco poem to appear within anyoneís recent memory. Since 1970 George Stanley has made his home in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he teaches at Capilano College. His recent books, published by New Star Books of Vancouver, include the brilliant volume Gentle Northern Summer and, just out, that bookís equally compelling successor, At Andyís.

Sharon Thesen is one of Canadaís more prominent poets and editors. Recent projects include her edition of The New Long Poem Anthology (Coach House Press, Toronto; new edition forthcoming from Talonbooks), and, co-edited with scholar Ralph Maud, the incredibly illuminating correspondence between the remarkable writer Frances Boldereff and the late great poet Charles Olson‚Charles Olson and Frances Boldereff: A Modern Correspondence (Wesleyan University Press, 1999). Ms. Thesenís books of poetry include Artemis Hates Romance, Aurora (both from Coach House), News and Smoke (Talonbooks, 1999) and, most recent, A Pair of Scissors (Anansi, 2000). She too teaches at Capilano College in Vancouver.

about George Stanley:
"The reality that Stanley experiences is so demanding that the poems simultaneously track the experience of the world heís in, the startling play of his mind, and his recurrent, shifting insights about language, which is inseparable from the world."

about Sharon Thesen:
"The scissors of the title snip through unexpected corners of the world. Like Stanleyís, Thesenís poems are animated by an unusually powerful intelligence. They typically begin with a mundane moment . . . but before even a brief poem is over, it cuts into the often ominous, quirky, reality below. . . . Thesenís poems are insistently in the same world as the rest of us."
‚Stan Persky, reviewing At Andyís and A Pair of Scissors.

A reunion of San Francisco legends
Thursday February 15, 7:30 pm, $5 donation
@ The Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

David Meltzerís new book of poetry, the latest of over 40 books in as many years, is No Eyes: Lester Young (Black Sparrow Press, 2000), "a prolonged meditation on the last year of Lester Youngís life." It joins his latest anthology, Writing Jazz (Mercury House, 1999)‚representing "African-American perceptions of jazz as a subject and practice"‚ companion to the earlier Reading Jazz (1994), "a negative critique of white cultureís shimmy with black jazz." A new edition of his 1971 anthology The San Francisco Poets is forthcoming this spring from City Lights. Mr. Meltzer lives in Richmond, CA, and teaches poetics at New College of California in San Francisco. Since their work together in the 1970s magazine Tree‚devoted to poetic explorations of the Jewish Kabbalah‚he and Jack Hirschman have shared a profound internationalist affinity and liberative imaginary ethos.

Mr. Hirschman is "dean of S.F.ís Marxist poetry," according to an SF Chronicle front-page story headline last March. His latest collection, Arcani (Multimedia Edizioni, 1999), was published in a beautiful bilingual edition in Salerno, Italy, and presents his recent long poems‚impassioned, elegaic works dedicated to, among others, Allen Ginsberg, Pier Palo Pasolini, Bob Kaufman, his late father Stephen, and his son, David Hirschman. Prolific translator from a multitude of languages (Albanian, Russian, Yiddish) and poets (Paul Celan, Roque Dalton, MallarmÈ, Artaud, Neruda), he is an active member of the Labor Party, the Union of Left Writers, and since 1973 a resident of North Beach in San Francisco.

Two events with visiting writers
Thursday March 1 7:30 pm, $5 donation
@ The Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

Also, Thursday afternoon March 1, 4:30 pm free public conversation
@ The Poetry Center (SFSU) both events presented in collaboration with IVRI-Nasawi

Bosnian poet, writer and filmmaker Semezdin Mehmedinovic was born in Tuzla, Bosnia, in 1960, and is the author of four books. Sarajevo Blues‚"widely considered here to be the best piece of writing to emerge from this besieged capital since Bosniaís war erupted" (Washington Post)‚was written at the height of the war that destroyed Sarajevo, and was published outside the country in Ljubljana, then, in English translation by Ammiel Alcalay, in the US by City Lights Books in 1998. Mr. Mehmedinovic, his wife, and their child came to the U.S. as political refugees in 1996. He lives and works in Washington, DC.

Ammiel Alcalay has become among the most exemplary US writers of his generation. Poet (the cairo notebooks; A Masque in the Form of a Cento), activist, widely-recognized scholar and essayist (After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture; Memories of Our Future: Selected Essays), anthologist (Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing), and prolific translator from Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish‚his recent work has been focused particularly on Bosnia and the Middle East. His work-in-progress includes the book From the Warring Factions. One of the original members of the East for Peace movement and NGO in Israel in the 1980s, he has also done a variety of human rights work for Amnesty International, the Palestine Human Rights Data Base and other organizations. Along with Jordan Elgrably, Ruth Behar and Victor Perera, he is one of the co-founders of IVRI-Nasawi, the National Association of Sephardic Writers & Intellectuals. Currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University, Mr. Alcalay lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches at Queens College, CUNY.

"Sarajevo Blues is at once a battle report and a philosophical investigation. In poems, micro-essays, and prose vignettes, Semezdin Mehmedinovic charts the collapse of a world with heart-breaking clarity and precision. His book conveys the same clear-eyed passion for the truth that one finds in the young Hemingway, the Hemingway of In Our Time." ‚Paul Auster

"Few contemporary intellectuals can boast of as diverse a range of skills as Ammiel Alcalay. His work is cosmopolitan in the best sense: in an epoch of superficial globalism his approach to the cultures he deals with is always rigorous, always meticulously respectful of particularities and differences. There is no one better qualified to explore the meaning of todayís ëculture wars,í locally and globally." ‚Amitav Ghosh

Six poets: featuring Kenward Elmslie, Ron Padgett, Anne Waldman,
Bill Berkson, Dick Gallup & Barbara Guest
Sunday afternoon March 4, 2:00-5:00 pm, free with museum admission
Special Location @ UC Berkeley Art Museum Theater (2625 Durant Avenue, Berkeley)
presented by UC Berkeley Art Museum, co-sponsored by The Poetry Center

Joe Brainard
‚painter, collagist, book-artist, author of the incomparable poetic opus I Remember‚will be remembered by his poet friends at this special event in Berkeley, in conjunction with the first museum retrospective of his work. Joe Brainard: A Retrospective, curated by Constance Lewallen, runs from February 7 thru May 27 at the UC Berkeley Art Museum. Brainard was born in Arkansas in 1942, and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, moving to New York after graduating from high school‚where he became affiliated and associated ever after with the New York School poets, collaborating on many publications and one-off collaborations. He died, from AIDS-related pneumonia, in 1994. Readings by the poets, introduced by Robert Hass, will be followed by a discussion facilitated by Ms. Lewallen.

An afternoon reading with
Thursday afternoon March 15, 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

Benjamin Friedlanderís new book of poetry, A Knot Is Not A Tangle (Krupskaya Books, 2000), presents "all the great heresies. . . : poignant rhymes, literate feints and graceless parries, the bogus and the beautiful, elliptical, epochal, and incidental" (Brian Kim Stefans). Over the course of numerous brief books and the co-editing of several magazines over the past two decades, Mr. Friedlander has developed a restless, ultra-skeptical, and incessantly trying poesis‚up against the ends of "the poem" per se and "a sordid world / of fallen nets / and hammered / cask replies." His scholarly work resulted recently in the beautifully edited Collected Prose of Charles Olson (U California), with Donald Allen. Along with Steve Evans, he co-edits the journal Sagetrieb. A collection of essays is currently in preparation, as well as a study of Emily Dickinson and the Civil War. Ben Friedlander lives in Old Town, Maine, and teaches at the University of Maine, Orono. This is his first local reading since leaving the Bay Area in 1992.

Horace Colemanís In The Grass (Viet Nam Generation/Burning Cities Press, 1995) is one of the great candid works of imaginative response to the state of affairs in post-Vietnam War USA. The late Gwendolyn Brooks once wrote of his poetry that it is "sharp and uncompromising‚but invincibly warm." (Mr. Colemanís eulogy for Ms. Brooks appeared recently in the online magazine The Black World Today, www.tbwt.com). His poetry composes a new Songs of Experience for a mostly unspoken-for generation. In addition to being a former university professor, Horace Coleman has been a writer in the schools and a technical writer. His poetry is included in numerous anthologies focused on the Vietnam War and aftermath. Originally from Ohio, he lives in southern California and is a Viet Nam veteran, "class of í67."

An afternoon reading with
Thursday afternoon March 29, 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

Milton Murayama is the celebrated author of a remarkable tetralogy of novels centered on the Oyama family saga and plantation life among the Japanese in Hawaii. All I Asking For Is My Body, his moving debut novel, originally appeared in 1975, and has since become an underground classic, hailed as the "only comprehensive literary treatment of the Hawaii plantation experience, an experience which either directly or indirectly affects a very large segment of Hawaiiís population" (Arnold Hiura, The Hawaii Herald). The novel later won an American Book Award and was picked up by the University of Hawaii Press, which has kept it in print since. That book was followed by Five Years on a Rock (1994) and Plantation Boy (1998), all from the University of Hawaii Press. The fourth and final novel of the tetralogy, A Good Life, is in progress. Born on Maui in 1923, Mr. Murayama grew up in a sugar plantation company town of several hundred workers and their families that no longer exists. During World War II he served as a language interpreter in India and Taiwan, and later received an MA in Chinese and Japanese from Columbia University. He lives in San Francisco.

An evening with
Thursday April 5, 7:30 pm, $5 donation
@ The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

Mark McMorris was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. He attended college in the US, at Columbia University, earning both a Masters and PhD at Brown University. He is author of several chapbooks, including Palinurus Suite (Paradigm Press, 1992) and Moth-Wings (Burning Deck, 1996); his book The Black Reeds was published by the University of Georgia Press in 1997. He edited a special section on poets "Out of the Anglophone Caribbean" for Exact Change Yearbook (1995), and has published critical work on Kamau Brathwaite, Louis Zukofsky, and on the Black avant-garde. His poetry was included in the special issue of Callaloo on "Emerging Male Writers" (1998). Mr. McMorris lives in Washington, DC, and teaches at Georgetown University.

Elizabeth Willisís collection The Human Abstract (Penguin, 1995) won the National Poetry Series in 1994. She is also the author of several chapbooks, a book-length poem entitled Second Law (Avenue B, 1993), and a new manuscript entitled Turneresque. Her work "picks up on a line of ëgenerative ordersí of visionary poetry and leads the reader to an uncharted place, speaking of and to a new generation of American writers" (Lisa Jarnot, Poetry Project Newsletter). Currently she is Writer in Residence at Mills College in Oakland. She lives in Santa Cruz.

"For people in the Caribbean and for the people who have left, the region sometimes acquires the compelling form of an origin. Behind this origin lies other beginnings, other identities and other cultural practices. Poetry involves itself in the New Place with the speech in continuous evolution, with perceptions marked in contrast to absence, to earlier presences, and with relationships that never cease to be aware of initial causes. In this way, a poetry of Caribbean origin is one that registers the accents of multiple geographies in the formation of persons. No ground exists to celebrate the homecoming of such a speech. The false grounds of identity surface in the language and maintain their willingness to define definitively the incompleteness of the name without the sanction of various centres."
--Mark McMorris, from "Poetry of Implication"
(preface to "Out of the Anglophone Caribbean," Exact Change Yearbook)

"[Elizabeth] Willis insists upon the uniqueness of everything; and she succeeds, with amazing consistency, in reinvesting language with the uniqueness of origin."
--Joshua McKinney, Denver Quarterly

A very special evening with
Thursday April 19, 7:30 pm, $5-10 donation
Special Location @ The Womenís Building (3543 18th St, between Valencia & Guerrero)
presented in collaboration with New College of California & Mission Cultural Center

World-renowned Nicaraguan poet-priest Ernesto Cardenal‚former Minister of Culture under the Sandinista government, and among the most significant Latin American literary figures of the past half-century‚visits San Francisco in a rare appearance, co-sponsored by The Poetry Center, New College of California, and Mission Cultural Center. Among his many books to appear in Spanish and in English translation over the past decades are Oracion por Marilyn Monroe y otros poemas, Cosmic Canticle, Apocalypse and Other Poems, Flights of Victory, and Quetzalcoatl. Father Cardenal will read his poetry in EspaÒol, with spoken English translations provided. Seating is limited!

Ernesto Cardenal was born in 1925 in Granada, Nicaragua. He attended the University of Mexico (1944-48) and Columbia University (1948-49), as well as the Trappist monastery in Kentucky directed by Thomas Merton. In 1965 he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, and developed a politics and practice he considers "Christian-Marxist." He is well-known throughout Latin America and North America as a spokesman for social justice and self-determination.

Euro-San Francisco Poetry Festival featuring poets:
TAYLOR BRADY (San Francisco)

Saturday April 28, 7:30 pm, $5 donation
@ The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

Join us for this evening of readings by a unique international company of poets, with appearances by Katarina Frostenson, visiting from Sweden, Tor Obrestad from Norway, Lutz Seiler from former East Germany, and Taylor Brady of San Francisco. The Poetry Center is co-presenting this eveningís event as part of the Euro-San Francisco Poetry Festival, running from Thursday April 26 thru Sunday April 29‚featuring visiting poets from throughout Europe alongside poets from San Francisco. Check out the festival website at
www.bigbridge.org for full details of the weekendís events.

Poetry Center Book Award reading
Thursday afternoon May 3, 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

Cole Swensenís new book of poetry, Try (University of Iowa, 1999), was selected for the annual Poetry Center Book Award. The award judge cited "Simone Weilís insistence that true attentiveness has the power of the miraculous. . . . The power of this work is, indeed, that it moves from image to word, viewer and viewed, then onward, to a seam, the embodying point of contact, a ësomething mysterious that exceeds accounting.í" Also a noted translator from the French, Ms. Swensen has had book-length translations published of works by Olivier Cadiot, Pierre Alferi, and Jean Fremon. A native of northern California--and alumnus of SFSU--Cole Swensen lives in Colorado, where she directs the writing program at the University of Denver.

Poet Elizabeth Robinson was judge for the Award this past year. Her own latest book, House Made of Silver, is brand new from Kelsey St. Press., and Under the Silky Roof is forthcoming from Burning Deck. After years spent studying and teaching on the East Coast (New York and Providence), in the Midwest (Chicago), and Southwest (Oklahoma), Ms. Robinson now lives in Berkeley, where she earned her Doctor of Divinity degree at the Graduate Theological Union.

Thursday afternoon May 10, 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

Join us at The Poetry Center (in Humanities 512) for our annual afternoon reading honoring outstanding graduate and undergraduate writers from the Creative Writing program at San Francisco State. Included will be readings by this yearís winner of the Poetry Centerís Frances Jaffer Poetry Prize (now in its second year), the prestigious Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prize winner, and recipients of numerous other student awards given annually by the department of Creative Writing.

An evening with
Thursday May 17, 7:30 pm, $5 donation
@ The Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

Anthropologist Stefania Pandolfoís extraordinary first book Impasse of the Angels (University of Chicago Press, 1997) is subtitled "Scenes from a Moroccan Space of Memory," and is a truly remarkable cultural work of daring and rare imagination. Her dense, elaborated writing stands out as singular in its effort to "let real characters take center stage and, through their act of speech, invent a people rather than stand for it." The book is rich with the poetry and philosophy both native to Moroccoís Berber cultures and drawn from classic Islam. Instead of using poetry, though, as example or instance of culture, she lets its methods shape and orient her in her writing. Ms. Pandolfo teaches anthropology at UC Berkeley.

Leslie Scalapino is the author of more than 15 books of poetry and prose. Her most recent book, R-hu (Atelos. 2000), she has characterized as "thought intending to dismantle mythos, lineage‚an undertaking of joy." Her work in general has relentlessly explored "the radical nature of experience"‚title phrase from one piece in The Public World/Syntactically Impermanence (Wesleyan, 1999)‚via a radical fusion of poetry, critical thinking, philosophic conjecture, and the active breakdown of received categories of hierarchy in thought and writing. As editor and publisher of O Books, Ms. Scalapino has brought into print over 100 works of contemporary poetry. She lives in Oakland.


The Poetry Center
is located in Humanities 512
on the SW corner of the San Francisco State University Campus,
1600 Holloway Avenue
2 blocks west of 19th Avenue on Holloway
take MUNIís M Line to SFSU
from Daly City BART 28 MUNI bus or free SFSU shuttle

The Unitarian Center
is located at 1187 Franklin Street
at the corner of Geary
on-street parking opens up at 7:00 pm
from downtown SF take the Geary bus to Franklin

The UC Berkeley Art Museum
is located at 2625 Durant Avenue in Berkeley, near Bowditch
parking in the pay-lot on Bancroft opposite the museum
from Downtown Berkeley BART
walk 2 blocks south on Shattuck,
3 blocks east on Bancroft
or take the 51 bus to Durant & Bowditch

The Womenís Building
is located at 3543 18th Street
between Valencia & Guerrero
parking in the pay-lot at 16th below Valencia
from 16th St BART walk 1 block west, 2 blocks south on Valencia then west on 18th

Readings that take place at The Poetry Center are free of charge.
Except as indicated, a $5 donation is requested for readings off-campus.
SFSU students & Poetry Center members get in free.
The Poetry Centerís programs are supported by funding from Grants for the Arts-Hotel Tax Fund of the City of San Francisco, the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Poets & Writers, Inc., and The Fund for Poetry, as well as by the College of Humanities at San Francisco State University, and by donations from our members. Join us!


The Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives Fall 2000 reading schedule


September 7 Steven Farmer & Pat Reed

September 14 Susan Clark & Lisa Robertson

September 28 Tom Raworth & Bruce Ackley


October 5 Thomas Glave

October 12 Chris Kraus & Mike Amnasan

October 17 & 18 bell hooks: Writer-in-Residence

October 19 Ed Roberson & Nathaniel Mackey

October 20 Robert Creeley


November 9 Juvenal Acosta & Mauricio Montiel Figueiras

November 16 Eugene Gloria & Catalina Cariaga

November 30 Jennifer Moxley & Fanny Howe


December 7 Susan Thackrey: George Oppen Memorial Lecture



Thursday September 7, 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

PAT REED since her first slim book Sea Asleep to this year's beautiful Container of Stars (Arcturus Editions) has kept a close clear eye on the dynamics of the natural world. Her super-acute ear also gets applied with great compassion in the remarkable nonfiction memoir based on her experiences teaching students in Oakland's immigrant Asian community—We Want to See Your Tears Falling Down. Born in Los Angeles, Ms. Reed has lived twenty years in the Bay Area.

STEVEN FARMER's fifth book, Medieval, was published last year in the debut series from San Francisco's collectively-edited Krupskaya Books. "Every note is tender and deviant, each fragment riveted to the next, in a score of participant fear mysteriously pastoral in its leaking mix of diction-landscape" (Melanie Neilson). After many years spent in the restaurant business as an outstanding chef, Mr. Farmer now works as a technical writer in the Bay Area.

Thursday September 14, 7:30 pm, $5 donation
@ The Unitarian Center

Poet SUSAN CLARK, best known south of the border here in the U.S. for her role as editor of the long-lived poetry journal Raddle Moon, has been a major bridge-builder between writers working in innovative traditions in Canada, Great Britain, and the U.S. She also works as editor on the collaborative publishing projects Giantess and Sprang Texts. Ms. Clark is author of Believing in the World: a reference work (Tsunami) and several as-yet-unpublished mss., including the truly long poem Bad Infinity, that she says is "about everything."

LISA ROBERTSON's books XEclogue and Debbie: An Epic (both from New Star) have been astounding readers and become new classics of our post-millennial moment. Debbie was nominated for Canada's highest literary prize, the Governor-General's Award. Recently in San Francisco briefly, she debuted her new work, The Weather. Both Ms. Clark and Ms. Robertson have been affiliated with Vancouver's adventurous Kootenay School of Writing for over a decade.

An evening of Words & Music

Thursday September 28, 7:30 pm, $5 donation
@ The Unitarian Center

Tom Raworth (hard a) returns to San Francisco from his home in Cambridge, England—tonight in a duo 'words & music' performance setting. No more a stranger to the improvised music world than he is to these Western shores, Mr. Raworth has worked collaboratively with American master Steve Lacy, Italian reeds-player Giancarlo Locatelli, French contrabassist-singer Joëlle LÈandre, et al. A new edition of his selected poems, Tottering State, is out from O Books, here in Oakland.

Further news locatable at http://www.geocities.com/raworth.geo Soprano saxophonist Bruce Ackley's premiere album under his own name, The Hearing (Avant), is a beauty worth lingering over-a trio date with stellar bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Joey Baron (2/4ths of John Zorn's great quartet Masada). Mr. Ackley, founding member of Rova Saxophone Quartet (see http://www.rova.org), is one of the surest, sublest, and more graciously accomplished players in the Bay Area improvised music community-or elsewhere. He lives in San Francisco.


Afternoon reading: Jamaican American fiction writer


Thursday afternoon, October 5, 4:30 pm, free @ The Poetry Center, SFSU

Thomas Glave's debut book of stories, Whose Song? and Other Stories (City Lights, 2000), has met with acclaim from such luminaries as Wilson Harris, Gloria Naylor, Carole Maso, and Clarence Major. Mr. Glave was born in the Bronx and grew up there and in Kingston, Jamaica. His work has earned many honors, including an O. Henry Prize (he is the second gay African American writer, after James Baldwin, to win this award) and a Fulbright fellowship to Jamaica. While there, he worked on issues of social justice, and helped found the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays. He lives and teaches in Binghamton, New York.

Afternoon reading: innovative new fiction from

Chris Kraus & Mike Amnasan

Thursday afternoon October 12, 4:30 pm, free @ The Poetry Center, SFSU

Chris Kraus's books—Aliens & Anorexia and I Love Dick—transgress all typical notions of fiction, bending writing to the demands and purposes of life itself in the process. Aliens & Anorexia (Semiotext(e)/Smart Art, 2000) combines passion and polemic in a philosophically sophisticated rejection of cultural cynicism. "From the end of the world-New Zealand-to Los Angeles, Africa and Berlin, past attempted escapes through the body's tunnels and telephone wires, Gravity is the true heroine of this very serious comedy" (Fanny Howe). Ms. Kraus edits Semiotext(e)'s Native Agents series of books. A filmmaker as well as writer, she lives in Los Angeles.

Mike Amnasan's novel Beyond the Safety of Dreams was just published by Krupskaya Books. "It is the most painfully honest writing I have read in a long time," writes Tom Beckett, "a book of revelations about alienation and abjection, a disturbing account of one man's struggle to find a way to feel at home in an inhospitable world." As a playwright, Mr. Amnasan has had presented in staged readings in the Bay Area his dramatic works Revery , Unfair Play and The Poet Killer. He lives in San Francisco, where he recently completed his B.A. at SFSU on a scholarship from Sheet Metal Workers Local #104.

Two nights with

bell hooks

Writer-in-Residence Tuesday-Wednesday, October 17 & 18, 8:00 pm $5-$15 suggested donation @ Intersection, 446 Valencia St. Presented in collaboration with Intersection for the Arts

bell hooks-renowned writer, feminist, activist, and cultural critic-is the author of such powerful and influential books as Ain't I A Woman, Black Looks, Teaching to Transgress, and Killing Rage: Ending Racism, and several volumes of autobiography. Recently named by the Utne Reader as one of "100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life," Ms. hooks is devoted to fostering critical consciousness through her writing and speaking engagements. Distinguished Professor of English at City College in New York, she lives in New York City. For details regarding Ms. hooks' two-night residency, and for reservations, telephone Intersection (415) 626-3311. "bell hooks is a voice that forces us to confront the political undercurrent of life in America." -The New York Times Book Review First night: Tuesday, October 17, 8:00 pm bell hooks in conversation with Amalia Mesa-Bains (visual artist, MacArthur Fellow & Director of the Institute of Visual & Public Art, CSU Monterey Bay). Second night: Wednesday, October 18, 8:00 pm bell hooks reading from her latest book, All About Love: New Visions (William Morrow & Co., 1999).

An evening with poets

Ed Roberson & Nathaniel Mackey

Thursday, October 19, 7:30 pm, $5 donation @ the Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

Ed Roberson's wonderful new book, Atmosphere Conditions (Sun & Moon, 2000), was selected by Nathaniel Mackey for publication in the prestigious National Poetry Series. "Atmosphere, omen, memory, lost amenity, homelessness of more than one sort, instantaneity, cityscape, housing of more than one sort, dream, social entropy, music, dance, death-these are among the matters which move through the poems with revenant, mercurial dispatch. . . .work of unremitting mindfulness and reach." His Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In was winner of the 1995 Iowa Poetry Prize, and Just In/Word of Navigational Challenges: New and Selected Poems was published by Talisman Books. Mr. Roberson lives in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Nathaniel Mackey's latest book of poetry is Whatsaid Serif (City Lights), an extension of the long poetic work he calls "Song of the Andoumboulou." His third novel, Atet A.D. (forthcoming from City Lights), likewise continues Mr. Mackey's engagement in an on-going, epic-length work, in this instance the epistolary fiction "From a Broken Bottle, Traces of Perfume Still Emanate." Discrepant Engagement, a critical work exploring conjunctions between radical Black poetics of recent decades and the New American Poetry, is new in paperback from the University of Alabama. Mr. Mackey edits Hambone magazine, and lives in Santa Cruz, where he teaches literature at UCSC.

An evening with


Friday, October 20, 7:30 pm, free @ The Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Theater 2350 Turk Boulevard (at Masonic) presented in collaboration with Readings at Lone Mountain, the M.F.A. Writing Program at the University of San Francisco

Consummate American master Robert Creeley returns to San Francisco for a special Friday evening reading in the 500-seat Gershwin Theater (free admission). Mr. Creeley's latest collection of new work, Life & Death (New Directions, 1998), is one of the outstanding new books of poetry to appear in recent years-with its brilliant opening sequence "Histoire de Florida" among his surest poetic work. Robert Creeley lives in Buffalo, New York. He has-since the 1950s and his activities out of Black Mountain College-been exceptionally influential as a writer and singularly present to the art of the contemporary poem and the attentions of the poet. This past summer he was recognized by the Before Columbus Foundation with its Lifetime Achievement Award. His remarks on receiving that award read, in part: "All writers have 'the dream of a common language, as Adrienne Rich has so movingly emphasized-a world, and a voice therein, not separated by dislocating habits of authority or reference. Far more than 'being heard,' so to speak, one dreams of a world in which one can oneself hear, clearly, particularly, commonly-in a company of others which moves far beyond the limits of oneself." The touring exhibition In Company: Robert Creeley's Collaborations, focusing on Creeley's collaborations with artists throughout his career, and the first exhibition to show these collaborative works together as a group, opens September 1 at Stanford University, and will be on view through January 6, 2001. The exhibition includes prints, drawings, mixed media works, books, photographs, and correspondence. Check the New York Public Library's press for the show
http://www.nypl.org/admin/pro/press/creeley.html, and at Stanford, http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/diroff/news/august18/august18.html#two



New fiction by Mexican writers

Juvenal Acosta & Mauricio Montiel Figueiras

Thursday, November 9, 7:30 pm, $5 donation @ the Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

Juvenal Acosta was born in 1961 in Mexico City and became an American Citizen in 1994. Author of two novels written in Spanish (The Tattoo Hunter and Violent Velvet) and one in English (The Reader of Borges), he is also the author of several collections of poetry, and has edited anthologies of contemporary Mexican poetry, including Light From a Nearby Window: Contemporary Mexican Poetry (City Lights, 1993). Mr. Acosta is the director of the Writers' Center at the New College of California in San Francisco, where he teaches in the Writing and Consciousness MFA program. Currently he is working on a collection of short stories, a novel in Spanish, and a novel in English on the Marquis de Sade.


Mauricio Montiel Figueiras was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, in 1968. He is author of three collections of short stories, including Insomnios del otro lado (1994) and two collections of poetry, most recently Oscuras palabras para escuchar a Satie (1995). His fiction is forthcoming in English in an anthology of younger Mexican fiction writers due from City Lights Books. His new work, the novella Crowd, is being translated into English for Cybercorpse, Andrei Codrescu's internet magazine. Mr. Montiel Figueiras is the director of Sabado, a weekly literary supplement in Mexico City.

Special SFSU alumni reading

Eugene Gloria & Catalina Cariaga

Thursday afternoon, November 16, 4:30 pm, free @ The Poetry Center, SFSU
Eugene Gloria's first book, Drivers at the Short-Time Motel (Penguin, 2000) was selected by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa for publication in the National Poetry Series. Komunyakaa writes of Gloria's work that it's "propelled by an imagistic sincerity and paced lyricism. . . . Though many of the poems address the lingering hurt of cultural and economic imperialism, worlds coexist in the same skin through magical imagery. These wonderful poems are trustworthy." Mr. Gloria, an alumnus of SFSU, was born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in San Francisco. He teaches at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.

Catalina Cariaga's first book, Cultural Evidence, from the Subpress Collective, based in Honolulu, was just selected as one of eight books honored by the PEN America Open Book Program 2000. "Cultural Evidence is evidence that waves of the Asian Pacific can arrive upon the sandy shores of American English" -Victor Hernandez Cruz. Ms. Cariaga was born in Los Angeles, studied music as an undergraduate, and is also an SFSU alumnus (MFA in creative writing). She lives in Oakland.

An evening with poets

Jennifer Moxley & Fanny Howe

Thursday, November 30, 7:30 pm, $5 donation @ the Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

Two of the most discerning lyric voices in contemporary poetry share the stage tonight. Jennifer Moxley, born and raised in southern California, now lives at a perfect diagonal across the country in Orono, Maine. Her books of poetry include the remarkable debut volume Imagination Verses (Tender Buttons, 1996) and, recently, Wrong Life (Equipage, UK, 1999). She edited the magazine The Impercipient, and, with Steve Evans, The Impercipient Lecture Series. Ms. Moxley's poetry-"with a nose for small / powers and their logics"-balances rhetorical elegance, philosophic doubt, and a spirited communitarian conviction.

Fanny Howe's Selected Poems was just published in UC Press's New California Poetry series. ". . . one of our most vital, unclassifiable writers. . . . The transparency of her music is deceptive, encompassing the complexities of philosophic and ethical speculation, always testing. . . . In that chasm between the ways of the world and our ways of understanding, we remain, as Howe puts it, 'bewildered.' This bewilderment comprises both a 'poetics and an ethics,' a vocation that acknowledges suffering while refusing to succumb to despair. The poem then becomes a bridge to survival." (Ammiel Alcalay, VLS). A Boston native, Ms. Howe lives in Los Angeles and teaches at UC San Diego.

The George Oppen Memorial Lecture in Twentieth Century Poetics


Thursday, December 7, 7:30 pm, $5 donation @ the Unitarian Center 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

"Generosity, responsibility, integrity, vision, all wrapped up in one-Oppen would say amen.." The Poetry Center's invitation to Susan Thackrey to deliver the 15th annual George Oppen Memorial Lecture was met with a sense of profound anticipation by those who've followed her writing and thinking around matters of poetry, history, consciousness, and the contemporary world. A thinking poet, with a lyric intelligence of a high order, Ms. Thackrey's work brings to the fore all the qualities we've come to associate with the writings of George Oppen. One of the original students in the inaugural poetics program at New College of California in the early '80s, and currently a practicing analyst, Susan Thackrey is the author of the book of poetry Empty Gate, and has published essays on a variety of writers and subjects. She lives in San Francisco.




reading & in conversation with Robert Grenier

Thursday February 10, 7:30 pm, $5 donation requested
@ The Unitarian Center
1187 Franklin (at Geary)

". . . only pay attention once again"

KENNETH IRBY tonight makes a rare public appearance in the Bay Area, visiting from his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas.  *  For our opening evening of the year, we're very happy to present one of the true inheritors of and innovators within the Black Mountain tradition of (among others) Robert Creeley, Edward Dorn, Robert Duncan & Charles Olson–and a poet whose persistent vision and practice has opened up a work unlike any of these writers.  *  His latest book is Ingressions & Exolutions, due from Arcturus Editions.  *  Following his reading, he'll be joined in conversation by his friend, poet ROBERT GRENIER, of Bolinas.  *

A memorial tribute to
Thursday, February 17, 7:30 pm, $5 donation requested
@ The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (at Geary)


EDWARD DORN, who died on the 10th of this past December at his home in Denver, will be remembered by a gathering of friends this evening in San Francisco. Born in 1929 in Eastern Illinois, Mr. Dorn attended Black Mountain College during the 1950s and would come to prominence with the publication of several remarkable early poems in Donald Allen’s renowned anthology The New American Poetry.

His many books published over four decades in the US and the UK include The Collected Poems 1956-1974 (Four Seasons, Bolinas, 1975), the novel The Rites of Passage (Frontier Press, Buffalo, 1965), later issued as By the Sound, the long dramatic narrative poem Gunslinger, issued serially, and eventually collected in 1975 (Berkeley, Wingbow Press), Recollections of Gran Apacheria (Turtle Island, San Francisco, 1974), and several volumes of translations from Spanish, Portuguese, and Native American languages, done with Gordon Brotherston, and recently collected in the volume The Sun Unwound: Original Texts from Occupied America (North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1999).

Thursday February 24, 7:30 pm, $5 donation requested
@ The Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin (at Geary)

A classics scholar thoroughly in touch with the subtleties of contemporary poetry, Anne Carson several years ago appeared with a brilliant work on the intimacies of classic Greek poetry, Eros the Bittersweet.  More recently, few books of contemporary poetry have enjoyed the audience afforded her "novel in verse," Autobiography of Red.  Her other works include Glass, Irony and God and Plainwater: Essays & Poems.  Ms. Carson is the visiting Holloway Lecturer at UC Berkeley this spring semester.  Her latest critical work, Economy of the Unlost, analyzes the poetics of Paul Celan and Simonides of Keos, and is just out from Princeton, and her opera installation–The Mirror of Simple Souls–can be viewed at www.ummu.umich.edu/projects/souls.  She lives in Montréal, Québec.

"Anne Carson is, for me, the most exciting poet writing in English today"
                    –Michael Ondaatje


Thursday afternoon March 2, 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

Wang Ping is a remarkable poet (Of Flesh & Spirit), short story writer (American Visa) and novelist (Foreign Devil).  *  Recently, working as a translator in collaboration with over a dozen American poets (Keith Waldrop, Ron Padgett, Lyn Hejinian, Anne Waldman, Murat Memet-Nejat, et al), Ms. Wang edited the anthology New Generation: Contemporary Chinese Poets.  *  Born in Shanghai, China, and educated at Beijing University, she moved to New York City in 1985, where she became affiliated with the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church and earned her PhD at NYU.  *  She now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and teaches at Macalester College. *

"A cultural treasure, an heroic person, and the first great poet of the new millennium."
                    -Lewis Warsh

Thursday March 9, 7:30 pm, $5 donation requested
Special Location
@ The Presidio Alliance Building
(563 Ruger at Lombard)

presented in collaboration with The California Indian Museum & Cultural Center

GERALD VIZENOR, it should be evident, is one of America's most multi-faceted and prolific writers, and a major thinker of contemporary Native American culture.  *  Internationally renowned for his works on 'postIndian' writing and culture, he has written autobiographies (Interior Landscapes), histories (The People Named the Chippewa), works of literary and cultural theory (Fugitive Poses), besides compiling anthologies and authoring several novels, among these American Book Award Winner Griever:  An American Monkey King in China.  *  His newest novel, Chancers, is due later this year, from Oklahoma.  *  PostIndian Conversations is also new, from Nebraska-based on a remarkable series of interviews with A. Robert Lee, and exploring the vast areas mapped out by Vizenor's work over the past decades.  *

a special reading by Mexican writers
introduced by Juvenal Acosta
Thursday afternoon March 16, 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

DAVID TOSCANA's novel Tula Station, new in translation this spring from St. Martin's, has been compared (in Publishers Weekly) to the writings of Julio Cortázar, the young Carlos Fuentes, and Umberto Eco. *  He is the author as well of three other novels, and is recognized as one of the most significant young Mexican writers.   *  A participant (in 1994) in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, he lives in his hometown of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon State, in northern Mexico.  *

MóNICA LAVíN lives in Mexico City, and is the author of several collections of short stories, including Cuentos de desencuentros y otros (Stories of misencounters and others, 1986) and Ruby Tuesday no ha muerto (Ruby Tuesday is not dead, 1998)-which won the Gilberto Owen National Literary Prize-as well as two novels.  * Ms. Lavín will be in residence at the Banff Center for the Arts during summer 2000, and she's the recipient of a grant from the US-Mexico Fund for Culture to support the production and publication of a new anthology of Mexican fiction writers born in the fifties, forthcoming from City Lights Books of San Francisco.  *

Mr. Toscana and Ms. Lavín will be introduced by poet JUVENAL ACOSTA.

a reading & celebration in honor of Etel Adnan's 75th birthday
Thursday March 30, 7:30 pm, $5 donation requested
@ The Unitarian Center
1187 Franklin (at Geary)

ETEL ADNAN has been a vital presence-as teacher, visual artist, poet, prose writer, and thinker-for years in the common consciousness of writers and artists not just in our backyard but seemingly across half the world.  * A native of Beirut, Lebanon, and long-time resident of the Bay Area, she's the author of numerous works of prose and poetry, including the internationally renowned novel of the Lebanese civil war, SITT MARIE ROSE and the recent long prose-poem There.  *  Gavin Bryars has set her "Love Songs" to music, recorded on his CD Cadman Requiem as Adnan Songbook, and she's worked with director Robert Wilson, as well as the great actress Jeanne Moreau, among others.  *  It's a true pleasure for The Poetry Center to honor her on this extraordinary anniversaire.  *

RABIH ALAMEDDINE is a novelist and a painter, born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, and living in San Francisco.   *  His first novel, KOOLAIDS: The Art of War, is a truly outstanding literary accomplishment--a beautiful work of imaginative and piercingly acute intelligence that manages somehow to be deeply moving, ironic, and excitingly new in its possibilities.  *  Mr. Alameddine's first book of stories, The Perv, is just out. *


Thursday April 6, 7:30 pm, $7 donation requested
@ Yerba Buena Gardens Center for the Arts (Mission & 3rd Street)

presented in collaboration with San Francisco Cinematheque & Center for the Arts

TRINH MINH-HA in her unique and beautifully composed film-works (A Tale of Love, Shoot for the Contents, Reassemblage, Naked Spaces-Living is Round, Surname Viet Given Name Nam) is a lyricist of the first order, an imaginative see-er and thinker whose art radically remakes narrative modes of filmmaking by invoking then reinventing the tools of the anthropologist, the poet and political witness, the visual artist and the musical composer.  *  Tonight we offer a rare chance to hear Ms. Trinh read from her written work-the latest manifestation of which, Cinema Interval, is new from Routledge. *

Note, beginning Friday April 7th and continuing over the three following Fridays, Trinh Minh-ha's films will be presented in downtown Berkeley at the Fine Arts Cinema, 510-848-1143.  *

Thursday April 13, 7:30 pm, $7 donation requested
@ Yerba Buena Gardens Center for the Arts (Mission & 3rd Street)

a reading & a screening of his film Post-Palaver presented in collaboration with SF Cinematheque & Center for the Arts

GAD HOLLANDER is a poet and filmmaker living in London.  *  Tonight's event marks his first public appearance in the Bay Area.  *  His latest book of poetry, and first to be published in the US, Walserian Waltzes (Avec Books, 2000) is just out–an extraordinary hall-of-mirrors poem-in-prose revolving around the figure of Robert Walser, the great Swiss-German writer of "minimal" fictions whose work stood behind Kafka and others.  *  Also this evening, the US premier of Mr. Hollander's just-completed film Post-Palaver, a translation into film following his book The Palaver.  *

introduced by Ishmael Reed
Thursday April 27, 7:30 pm, $5 donation requested
@ The Unitarian Center
1187 Franklin (at Geary)

JOHN A. WILLIAMS is a true master of the contemporary novel.  *  His justifiably famous early books, including The Man Who Cried I Am–recognized on publication as "the most powerful novel about blacks in America since Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man"–are really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Williams' accomplishment. *  A prolific writer of great versatility, over 40 years he has published a dozen novels, along with works of social history, journalism, essays, and biographies of Richard Wright and (with his son Dennis Williams) Richard Pryor.  *  His latest novel, Clifford's Blues, is an astounding work of compassionate vision and imagination; his earlier classic Captain Blackman has just been reissued this spring as the premier book in Coffee House Press's Black Arts Movement Series; and his first novel, published variously as One For New York (the author's title of choice) and as The Angry Ones, is part of Norton's "Old School" Series.  *  Recently retired from his position as Paul Robeson Professor at Rutgers, Mr. Williams lives in Teaneck, New Jersey.

*  Tonight he'll be introduced by his friend and fellow novelist, ISHMAEL REED.  *


Poetry Center Book Award reading
Thursday afternoon May 4 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

ELAINE EQUI's book Voice-Over (Coffee House Press) was chosen this past year as one of the outstanding books of poetry published in 1998, and awarded The Poetry Center Book Award-given annually since 1980. *  Formerly of Chicago, Ms. Equi lives in New York City.   *  She'll be reading with the celebrated poet Thom Gunn, who selected her book for the Award this past year.  *  Originally from England, Mr. Gunn has lived for years in San Francisco.  *  His own long-awaited new book of poems–Boss Cupid–is due out from Farrar Straus Giroux just in time for this afternoon's reading at The Poetry Center.  *

Thursday afternoon May 11, 4:30 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

Join us at the Poetry Center this afternoon for our annual reading recognizing a number of the outstanding graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the Creative Writing Program at San Francisco State.  * Among the featured readers will be one writer selected as the premier recipient of the newly named Frances Jaffer Award, given by the Poetry Center in honor of the late poet and founding co-editor of HOW(ever) magazine.   *

a reading & celebration of Robin Blaser's 75th birthday
Thursday May 18, 7:30 pm, $5 donation requested
Special Location
@ ODC Theater (17th & Shotwell)

We're closing our season with an evening that should not be missed by anyone who cares about poetry.  * ROBIN BLASER's readings in San Francisco are legendary.   *  With his great friends Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer, as a young man Mr. Blaser was at the heart of both the Berkeley and the San Francisco Renaissances of the 1940s and '50s.  *  Since the mid-60s he's made his home in Vancouver, British Columbia.  *  His collected poems, The Holy Forest, is a primary text of our poetic era, a mystery work that enacts the randonée, a quest both romantic and "after the modern" that wanders off at the same time in search of the real and the deeply imaginary.

*  Music, refreshments, and festivities will follow, so stay for the party.  *

Thursday May 18, 7:00 pm, free
@ The Poetry Center, SFSU

TRANSFER MAGAZINE is a bi-annual publication of the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University, showcasing student work in fiction, poetry and drama.  Please join us for an evening of excitement as these writers share their new work with the world.