California

On December 4, 2015, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed Dana Gioia as California poet laureate. He is the author of numerous poetry collections and books of literary criticism. He will serve a two-year term.

Alejandro Murguía is San Francisco’s sixth poet laureate and the first Latino poet to hold the position. An editor, translator, literary organizer, and prose writer, he is the author of the poetry collections Stray Poems (City Lights Books, 2014) and Native Tongue (CC. Marimbo Press, 2012), among others.

upcoming events

datesort ascending
Nov 16 2018 to Nov 18 2018
Southern California Poetry Festival
Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center celebrates its 50th year of cultivating Los Angeles poetry with this free three-day festival. The festival opens on Friday, November 16 with a special reception, reading, and discussion featuring Anne Waldman and Will Alexander. 
 
Events on Saturday, November 17 include a retrospective focused on some of Beyond Baroque’s most notable alumni; readings curated by Red Hen Press, Kaya Press, and Jack Jones Literary Arts; a roundtable on poetic communities in Los Angeles; a poetry film festival; and a reading of new work commissioned for the festival from Kimiko Hahn, Morgan Parker, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal. 
 
The festival concludes on Sunday, November 18 with readings curated by PEN America, Rattle, Lambda Literary, and Gunpowder Press; and a reading from Best American Poetry 2018 featuring Ilya Kaminsky, Dana Gioia, and others. Kimiko Hahn, Janice Lee, Peter J. Harris, and Jeffery Schultz teach free workshops.
 
8:00pm to 6:00pm
681 N. Venice Blvd.
90291 Venice, California
Nov 01 2018
A Reading by Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio, which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

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12:00pm
101 Library Court
94720 Berkeley, California
Oct 23 2018
Preserving Fire: A meditation on the prose of Philip Lamantia
Please join us for an evening celebrating the life and work of the foremost U.S.-born surrealist poet and San Francisco native Philip Lamantia (1927-2005) on what would have been his 91st birthday. This celebration is to launch the newly published book Preserving Fire: Selected Prose by Philip Lamantia (Wave Books, 2018). Hosted by the editor of Preserving Fire, Garrett Caples, the event will feature an overview of Lamantia's life along with readings from his poetry and prose by his friends and admirers
 
Preserving Fire recounts the life and thought of Surrealist, Beat Generation, and San Francisco Renaissance poet Philip Lamantia through his fugitive prose works. Ranging from poetry to politics to mythology to dance, from manifestos to travelogues to wartime declarations of conscientious objection, these writings—expertly collected by Garrett Caples—offer a dynamic picture of Lamantia's multifaceted intellectual life and the artistic movements he helped shape.
 
Philip Lamantia (1927–2005) was an influential Surrealist, Beat, and San Francisco Renaissance poet. He is the author of many books, including Erotic Poems, Touch of the Marvelous, Meadowlark West, Tau and Journey to the End, and The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia.
 
Garrett Caples is the editor of Philip Lamantia's Preserving Fire: Selected Prose (Wave Books, forthcoming 2018), as well as the author of Power Ballads (Wave Books, 2016), Retrievals (2014), The Garrett Caples Reader (1999), Complications (2007), and Quintessence of the Minor (2010). He is also the co-editor of The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia (2013), Particulars of Place (2015) by Richard O. Moore, and Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected Poems (2016) by Frank Lima. He is an editor at City Lights Books and curates the Spotlight Poetry Series there. He was also a contributing writer to the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He has written articles and blogged for the Poetry Foundation and occasionally blogs for blogcitylights.com. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and lives in San Francisco.
 
 
7:00pm
261 Columbus Avenue at Broadway
94133 San Francisco, California
Poetry in California
Dana Gioia
California poet laureate

Dana Gioia

Born in Hawthorne, California, in 1950, Dana Gioia is the author of several poetry collections, including Interrogations at Noon (Graywolf Press,...

poems

poem
What are you thinking about?

I am thinking of an early summer.
I am thinking of wet hills in the rain
Pouring water.  Shedding it
Down empty acres of oak and manzanita
Down to the old green brush tangled in the sun,
Greasewood, sage, and spring mustard.
Or the hot wind coming down from Santa Ana
Driving
poem
The only thing I miss about Los Angeles

is the Hollywood Freeway at midnight, windows down and
radio blaring
bearing right into the center of the city, the Capitol Tower
on the right, and beyond it, Hollywood Boulevard
blazing

—pimps, surplus stores, footprints of the stars

—descending through the city
poem

i.

    —& humans walked to the edge of the sand
  through a bank of verbena & fog;  
     they thought they’d never get over
the deaths, but they were starting to. Worry
     about money rested in their phones. Talk of
 candidates had stalled. Some sang. Grays of