Poetry Center Calendar SPRING 2015




Unless otherwise noted:
All programs free to SFSU students and Poetry Center Members
Reduced low-income admission
No one turned away for lack of funds

PCDA logo-smallPOETRY CENTER DIGITAL ARCHIVE will be launching circa 100 rare archival recordings from the 1960s soon. Check out "50 from the '50s" —already posted 1950s recordings.

For updates LIKE us at facebook.

february 2015

Frank O’Hara’s LUNCH POEMS 50th Anniversary All-Star Reading

Friday FEB 6 @ McRoskey Mattress Co.
1687 Market Street (at Gough), San Francisco, 7 pm, $10
($5 low income; free to SFSU students & Poetry Center members)

hosted by McRoskey Mattress Co., cosponsored by The Poetry Center, The Green Arcade, and City Lights Books

Lunch Poems

All 37 of O'Hara's Lunch Poems will be presented in sequence by an array of Bay Area poets and friends


Richard O. Moore opening
Maureen O'Hara statement
• Kathleen Fraser, “Music”
• Crystal Sasaki & Alana Siegel, “Alma”
• Kit Robinson, “On Rachmaninoff’s Birthday”
• Clark Coolidge, “Poem (I watched an armory combing its
bronze bricks)”
• Laura Moriarty, “On the Way to the San Remo”
• Paul Hoover, “2 Poems from the Ohara Monogatari”
• Hilton Obenzinger, “A Step Away from Them”
• Colter Jacobsen, “Cambridge”
• Elaine Katzenberger, “Poem (Instant coffee with slightly
sour cream)”
• Elaine Kahn, “Three Airs”
• Garrett Caples, “Image of the Buddha Preaching”
• Alan Bernheimer, “Song (Is it dirty)”
• David Meltzer, “The Day Lady Died”
• Patrick Marks, “Poem (Wouldn’t it be funny)”
• Brent Cunningham, “Poem (Krushchev is coming on the right day!)”
• Mac McGinnes, “Naptha”
• George Albon, “Personal Poem”
• Norma Cole, “Adieu to Norman, Bon Jour to Joan and Jean-Paul”
• Bill Berkson, “Rhapsody”
• Donald Guravich, “Hôtel Particulier”
• Alli Warren, “Cornkind”
• Beverly Dahlen, “How to Get There”
• Ted Reese, “A Little Travel Diary”
• Joanne Kyger, “Five Poems”
• Michael Palmer, “Ave Maria”
• Jim Nisbet, “Pistachio Tree at Château Noir”
• Evan Kennedy, “At Kamin’s Dance Bookshop”
• C.S. Giscombe, “Steps”
• Cedar Sigo, “Mary Desti’s Ass”
• Dodie Bellamy, “St. Paul and All That”
• Duncan McNaughton, “Memoir of Sergei O….”
• Matt Gonzalez, “Yesterday Down at the Canal”
• Brandon Brown, “Poem en Forme de Saw”
• Micah Ballard, Sunnylyn Thibodeaux, Jason Morris,
“For the Chinese New Year & for Bill Berkson”
• Michael McClure, “Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed!)”
• Ronaldo Wilson, “Galanta”
• Tinker Greene, “Fantasy”

Lunch Poems, first published in 1964 by City Lights Books as No. 19 in the Pocket Poets series, has been newly published in City Lights 50th Anniversary Edition, featuring a preface by John Ashbery and an editor's note by City Lights publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, along with facsimile reproductions of a selection of previously unpublished correspondence between Ferlinghetti and O'Hara that sheds new light on the preparation of Lunch Poems. The original Pocket Poets volume was edited by the poet working with Ferlinghetti and Donald Allen, the latter of whom had published O’Hara’s poems in his monumental The New American Poetry in 1960, and would later edit O'Hara's posthumous Collected Poems, among other volumes of his writings. Lunch Poems contains some of O’Hara’s best-known works including “The Day Lady Died,” “Ave Maria” and “Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed!).” These are the compelling and formally inventive poems—casually composed, for example, in his office at The Museum of Modern Art, in the street at lunchtime or on the Staten Island Ferry en route to a poetry reading—that made O'Hara a dynamic leader of the "New York School" of poets.


Prose at The Poetry Center, with Nigerian novelist
Okey Ndibe
Thursday FEB 12 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

cosponsored by The Poetry Center, and the Depts of English, Creative Writing, and Africana Studies, SFSU

Okey Nbibe

Acclaimed Nigerian novelist Okey Ndibe's new book is Foreign Gods, Inc. (Soho Press, 2015), which is being published alongside the US edition of his debut novel Arrows of Rain.

“FOREIGN GODS, INC. reads like the narrative of a taxi-driving Faust in modern Nigeria and America. With Moliere-like humorous debunking of religious hypocrisy and rancid materialism, it teems with characters and situations that make you laugh in order not to cry. ” —Ngugi wa Thiong'o, author of Wizard of the Crow

“We clearly have a fresh talent at work here. It is quite a while since I sensed creative promise on this level.” —Wole Soyinka, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

“Razor-sharp... Mr. Ndibe invests his story with enough dark comedy to make Ngene an odoriferous presence in his own right, and certainly not the kind of polite exotic rarity that art collectors are used to... In Mr. Ndibe’s agile hands, he’s both a source of satire and an embodiment of pure terror.” —Janet Maslin, New York Times

Okey Ndibe first arrived in the US to take up appointment as the founding editor of African Commentary, a magazine published by the Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe. He has been a visiting professor at Brown University, Connecticut College, Simon’s Rock College, Trinity College, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar). The author of Foreign Gods, Inc., Ndibe served on the editorial board of Hartford Courant where his essays won national and state awards. He earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives in West Hartford, CT, with his wife, Sheri, and their three children.


Poetry Center Book Award Reading
Alli Warren and Laura Moriarty
Thursday FEB 19 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

for Here Come The Warm Jets (City Lights Spotlight Series)

Alli & Laura

Alli Warren, as the recipient of this year's Poetry Center Book Award, will be reading with award judge Laura Moriarty

Warm Jets'As Warren teaches herself how to live her life in her work she questions yours and ours. She finds new ways to undermine the expected while allowing you to go forward. She reminds you of things, “Remember the debt you’re living off remember being exchanged/ for a few donkeys remember how bricks get made,”(“Personal Poem”) in a way that is both disorienting and reorienting. Alli Warren’s poetry is smart, rigorous, specific, challenging “Thick socks, open heart/ Love the tiniest ways/out of the sidewalks into the trees,” and hopeful, “lust before dishonor.” Here Come The Warm Jets is a fun wonder. Reading it makes you think about the future of this unique voice.' —Laura Moriarty, from the judge's citation

Alli Warren is the author of Don't Go Home With Your Heart On (Faux Press, 2014) and Here Come the Warm Jets (City Lights, 2013). She edits Dreamboat magazine and coedits Hearts Desire Press. She lives in Oakland.

Laura Moriarty’s recent books include are The Fugitive Notebook (Couch Press, 2014), Who That Divines (Nightboat Books, 2014), A Tonalist (Nightboat Books, 2010), A Semblance: Selected and New Poems, 1975-2007 (Omnidawn, 2007) and the novel Ultravioleta (Atelos, 2006). Awards include Poetry Center Book Award in 1983, a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Award in Poetry in 1992, a New Langton Arts Award in Literature 1998 and a Fund for Poetry grant in 2007. She is Deputy Director of Small Press Distribution and is currently helping out at the Bay Area Public School where she and Zoe Tuck just completed a class in Vampire Poetics.


Bill Berkson and Duncan McNaughton

Tuesday FEB 24 @ The LAB
2948 16th Street (at Capp), San Francisco, 7pm, $10
($5 low income; free to SFSU students & Poetry Center members)

cosponsored by The Poetry Center and False Starts Reading Series — stay for drinks after the reading at the bar hosted by The Lab

Bill Berkson and Duncan McNaughton
Thursday FEB 26 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

Bill + Duncan

"I picked a career in poetry because poetry told me that it was the sole means by which I could educate myself.”
—Duncan McNaughton, from Tiny Windows (Auguste Press, 2014)

Bill Berkson was born in New York in 1939. He moved to Northern California in 1970 and now divides his time between San Francisco and New York. He is a poet, critic, sometime curator, and professor emeritus at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught art history and literature for many years. A corresponding editor for Art in America , and contributing editor at artcritical.com., he has contributed to such other journals as Artforum, Aperture and Modern Painters. His recent books include Portrait and Dream: New & Selected Poems; BILL, a words-and-images collaboration with Colter Jacobsen; Lady Air; Not an Exit with drawings by Léonie Guyer; Repeat After Me, with watercolors by John Zurier; Snippets; and a collection of his art writings, For the Ordinary Artist. A new collection of his poems, Expect Delays, appeared from Coffee House Press in fall 2014.

Duncan McNaughton, poet, editor, teacher and publisher (Blue Millennium Press, Bolinas), was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1942. With Lewis MacAdams he edited/published MOTHER Magazine (1966-68) and was editor/publisher of FATHAR (1970-75). With Louis Patler, McNaughton established the Program in Poetics at New College of California in 1980 and co-directed it until 1986. His books include A Passage of Saint Devil (1976), Sumeriana (1977), Shit On My Shoes (1979), The Pilot (1991), Valparaíso (1995), Capricci (2003), Bounce (2006), Altoon's Frog (2009) and Tiny Windows (2014). McNaughton translated/published Dario Villa's Venere Strapazzata dai Lunatici * envoi / Venus Ill-Treated By The Odd Ones * envoi (Blue Millennium/GATE, 2001).

Photo: Duncan McNaughton by Norma Cole

march 2015

Robert Adamson

Australian poet in rare West Coast appearance
Thursday MAR 5 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

Joanne Kyger and Robert Adamson
Friday MAR 6 @ Unitarian Center
1187 Franklin Street (at Geary), San Francisco, 7pm, $10
($5 low income; free to SFSU students & Poetry Center members)

Adamson + Kyger

Robert Adamson was born on 17 May 1943 at Neutral Bay, and raised in Sydney, Australia. He was educated at Neutral Bay Primary School and Crows Nest Technical College. His grandfather was a fisherman on the Hawkesbury River to the north of Sydney, where Adamson has lived, on and off, for most of his life. A series of juvenile misdemeanours resulted in him being sent to various detention centres. It was during this period that he first began writing poetry.

He was a key player in the growth of the 'New Australian Poetry' and was an editor of the Poetry Society of Australia's magazine, New Poetry, from 1968 until 1982. He taught creative writing classes for the W.E.A during the seventies and was the poetry reviewer for Australia's national newspaper, The Australian. In 1975-76 Adamson organised, as President of the Poetry Society, Australian reading tours for Robert Creeley and Robert Duncan.

Net NeedleMulberry Leaves, New & Selected Poems 1970-2001 was published in 2001 by Paper Bark Press. Adamson's 18th book brought together the best of his poetry from 1970 to 2001. The Goldfinches of Baghdad, was published in the USA by Flood Editions, Chicago (March 2006), and Net Needle is new in 2015, also from Flood Editions. He has been awarded the Christopher Brennan Prize for lifetime achievement, the Patrick White Award, and The Age Book of the Year Award for The Goldfinches of Baghdad. He currently holds the Chair in Poetry at the University of Technology, Sydney, and lives with his partner, photographer Juno Gemes, on the Hawkesbury River to the north of Sydney in Australia.

Joanne Kyger, associated with the poets of the San Francisco Renaissance, studied philosophy and literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, moving to San Francisco in 1957 just before she finished her degree. In San Francisco she attended the Sunday meetings of poets Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan, and moved into the East West House, a communal house for students of Zen Buddhism and Asian studies. She lived in Japan with Gary Snyder, her husband at the time, and traveled in India with Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Peter Orlovsky. She eventually returned to California, where she still lives.

Kyger has published more than 20 collections of poetry, including The Tapestry and the Web (1965), All This Every Day (1975), The Wonderful Focus of You (1979), Going On: Selected Poems 1958-1980 (1983), Just Space, poems 1979-1989 (1991), Again: Poems 1989-2000 (2001), As Ever: Selected Poems (2002), and About Now: Collected Poems (2007). She is also the author of the prose collection Strange Big Moon: Japan and India Journals 1960-1964 (1981). Kyger lives in Bolinas, California and occasionally teaches at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Colorado.

Photos: Robert Adamson by Juno Gemes; Joanne Kyger by Donald Guravich

Breathturn Into Timestead The Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan

poet-translator Pierre Joris
multimedia by Nicole Peyrafitte
Wednesday MAR 18 @ City Lights Books
261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, 7pm, free

cosponsored by The Poetry Center and City Lights Books

Pierre Joris and Nicole Peyrafitte
Thursday MAR 19 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

Pierre Joris will be reading from his own poetry, with Nicole Peyrafitte presenting an original performance.

Pierre y Nicole

"I will make the outrageous assertion that Paul Celan reinvented poetry—or invented a new kind of poetry—or took poetry to a place where it had never been before. By definition, such work cannot be translated. Then along comes Pierre Joris, and by some mysterious process of linguistic alchemy, he has managed to translate hundreds of examples of this work, or at least to produce versions that embody the strangeness and power of the originals—and the grand adventure of Celan’s late poems lives on in English." —Paul Auster

Breathturn Into Timestead"No twentieth-century poet pierces the heart of language with such an exquisite blade as Paul Celan. With Pierre Joris's stunning translations of Celans' late work, along with his exemplary commentaries, it is as if we are reading Celan for the last time, once again." —Charles Bernstein

Born in 1946 in France, raised in Luxenbourg, Pierre Joris has moved between the US, Europe, and North Africa for 50 years, publishing close to 50 books of poetry, essays, translations, and anthologies. In 1992 he returned to the mid-Hudson Valley where he taught poetry and poetics at the State University of New York, Albany until his retirement in 2013. He now lives in Brooklyn. His latest collection of poetry is Barzakh (Poems 2000-2012) from Black Widow Press. With Peter Cock­el­bergh he coedited the volume A Voice Full of Cities: The Collected Essays of Robert Kelly (Contra Mundum Press). And the large volume titled Breathturn Into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan has just appeared from Farrar Strauss Giroux, translated and edited by Pierre Joris.

On Barzakh: "A magnificent multi-layered tome from the brilliant poet and translator whose erudition and deep engagement with the doings of humanitas are on full disply. From a lyrical bi-lingual ode to Kerouac through DIS/ASTEROILDRECK, we are drawn into a kinetic weave of world and language.....A book for the time, for all times, for its care, its passion, its urgent soundings." —Anne Waldman

Nicole Peyrafitte is a Pyrenean-born multidisciplinary artist whose videos, paintings, writings, singing & cooking are often integrated into multimedia stagings. Her rich, multi-textured and layered work draws on her eclectic background and the experiences of shaping identity across two continents and four languages. The work has been presented and/or performed in such venues as The Metropolitan Museum, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The University of Bordeaux, Birbeck College at the University of London, Poets House NYC, The Poetry Project NYC, Cave Poesie Toulouse, France, Wayne State University, Naropa University, Boulder CO., etc. Her latest projects include the documentary film Basil King: Mirage as producer & co-director (with Miles Joris-Peyrafitte), & Bi-Valve, a performance project that includes 17 texts, 14 paintings & 3 Videos. She has authored 2 CDs, The Bi-continental Chowder & Whisk, Don’t Churn (with Michael Bisio, bassist); the DVD Sax, Soup Poetry & Voice, with Pierre Joris & Joe Giardullo, and 3 chapbooks of writings (Ride the Line, The Calendar, & Homage à la Vénus de Lespugue). She has also illustrated & created covers for a number of books by Pierre Joris. Her performance Remember-Reflect-Mark was documented in Emergency INDEX 2011 (Ugly Duckling Presse).

Tribute to Kathleen Fraser

Sunday MAR 22 @ CCA Writers Studio
195 De Haro (at 15th), California College of the Arts,
San Francisco, 5pm, $10
($5 low income; free to SFSU students, Poetry Center
& SPT members)

cosponsored by The Poetry Center and Small Press Traffic


Featured guests will include: Lauren Shufran, Frances Richard, Brian Teare, Latasha Diggs, Beverly Dahlen, Linda Russo, Eléna Rivera, Robin Tremblay-McGaw, Brenda Hillman, and John Sakkis.

Join Small Press Traffic and The Poetry Center, San Francisco State University for our celebration of the life and work of Kathleen Fraser.

Kathleen Fraser has published more than 15 books, including mixed-genre collections, a chapbook of collaged wall pieces, and an essay collection. Her published works include What I Want (1973), New Shoes (1978), Each Next: narratives (1980), Notes Preceding Trust (1987), when new time folds up (1993), Wing (1995), il cuore : the heart—Selected Poems 1970–1995 (1997), Discrete Categories Forced into Coupling (2004), and movable TYYPE (2011). She is the founder of the American Poetry Archives, which she created while she was directing the Poetry Center, in the early 1970s, and teaching at San Francisco State University from 1972 to 1992. From 1983 to 1991 she published and edited the journal HOW(ever), which focused on innovative writing by women. She lives in San Francisco and spends each spring in Rome.

april 2015

Stacy Szymaszek and Peter Culley

Thursday APRIL 2 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

Stacy Szymaszek and Peter Culley
Friday APRIL 3 @ Ruth’s Table
580 Capp Street (at 21st), San Francisco, 7 pm, $10
($5 low income; free to SFSU students & Poetry Center members)

Arisa White and Raina J. Léon

Thursday APRIL 9 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

Maged Zaher
, poet, editor and translator
The Tahrir of Poems: Seven Contemporary Egyptian Poets
Thursday APRIL 23 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

Maged Zaher and Rodney Koeneke
Friday APRIL 24 @ Ruth’s Table
580 Capp Street (at 21st), San Francisco, 7 pm, $10
($5 low income; free to SFSU students & Poetry Center members)

Claudia Keelan and Rusty Morrison

Thursday APRIL 30 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

may 2015

Prageeta Sharma and Thomas Devaney
Thursday MAY 7 @ The Poetry Center
HUM 512, SFSU, 4:30 pm, free

Ernesto Cardenal

world-renowned Nicaraguan poet
Saturday MAY 16 @ Brava Theater
2781 24th Street, San Francisco, details tba
Flor y Canto Festival, cosponsored by The Poetry Center


Unless otherwise noted:
All programs free to SFSU students and Poetry Center Members
Reduced low-income admission
No one turned away for lack of funds

PCDA logo-smallPOETRY CENTER DIGITAL ARCHIVE will be launching circa 100 rare archival recordings from the 1960s soon. Check out "50 from the '50s" online now.

For updates LIKE us at facebook.

Poetry Center programs are supported by San Francisco State University College of Liberal and Creative Arts, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (City of San Francisco), National Endowment for the Arts, SFSU Instructional Related Student Activities Fund, the Dorothy A. Fowler Trust, the Fund for Poetry, and Friends of the Poetry Center. Become a Poetry Center Member!

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