California

In 2001, California established a state poet laureate position, which is currently held by Dana Gioia, who was appointed to a two-year term in 2015. He is the author of numerous poetry collections and books of literary criticism. 

In 2017, S. Bryan Medina was named poet laureate of Fresno, California. Medina will serve a two-year term.

Robin Coste Lewis was appointed the Los Angeles poet laureate in 2017, which is a two-year term. She is the author of the National Book Award-winning collection Voyage of the Sable Venus (Knopf, 2015).

In 2017, Indigo Moore was named poet laureate of Sacramento, California. Moore will serve a two-year term.

Kim Shuck was appointed the San Francisco poet laureate in 2017, which is a two-year term.

In 2018, Mike McGee was named poet laurate of San Jose/Santa Clara County, California. McGee will serve a two-year term.

upcoming events

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Apr 28 2019
The Figure of Orpheus in Poetry and Performance

Poets selected by Poetry Society of America Director Alice Quinn will perform contemporary poems on the Orphic theme. A film clip from Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus will be shown to represent the theme in cinema, and pianist Paul Barnes will captivate the audience with The Orphée Suite for Piano, his amazing transcription of Philip Glass’s symphony Orphée for solo piano. This event is sponsored in partnership with The Poetry Society of America and Red Hen Press.

2:00pm to 4:00pm
1310 11th St
90401 Santa Monica, California
Apr 27 2019
Poetry & Community: A Concert
San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto and Burlingame Public Library present “Poetry & Community: A Concert” on April 27 at 2 p.m., featuring local poets and the West Bay Community Band.
 
This event is free and open to the public and is part of the San Mateo County Poet Laureate’s campaign, “Speak Poetry,” which aims to elevate and celebrate the literary arts and their roles in public life.
 
2:00pm
480 Primrose Rd.
94010 Burlingame , California
Apr 24 2019
Ed Bok Lee Reading from Mitochondrial Night: Poems
Poems that trace paths through time, genealogy, and geography, locating the generational legacy of history.
 
Taking mitochondrial DNA as his guide, Ed Bok Lee explores familial and national legacies, and their persistence across shifting boundaries and the erosions of time. In these poems, the trait of an ancestor appears in the face of a newborn, and in her cry generations of women's voices echo. Stories, both benign and traumatic, travel as lore and DNA. Using lush, exact imagery, whether about the corner bar or a hilltop in Korea, Lee is a careful observer, tracking and documenting the way that seemingly small moments can lead to larger insights.
 
Ed Bok Lee is the author of Whorled (Coffee House Press) and a recipient of a 2012 American Book Award and the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. Lee is the son of North and South Korean emigrants—his mother originally a refugee from what is now North Korea; his father was raised during the Japanese colonial period and Korean War in what is now South Korea. Lee grew up in South Korea, North Dakota, and Minnesota, and was educated there and on both U.S. coasts, Russia, South Korea, and Kazakhstan. He teaches at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Other honors include the Asian American Literary Award (Members' Choice Award) and a PEN Open Book Award.
 
Praise for Ed Bok Lee
 
"There is a nomadic beauty to Ed Bok Lee's Whorled, which pulses with raw political anger and vital lyricism." —The Guardian
 
"These poems work in powerful concert to give body to an entire world of beauty, terror, loss, grief, and joy. The strength and magnetism of Lee’s voice come from his mind’s profound awareness of a person’s embeddedness in a context simultaneously personal and archetypal; social, historical, political, and cosmic." —Li-Young Lee
 
“Like mitochondrion, from whence this exhilarating book’s title comes, the poet’s eye and spirit are ubiquitous, examining and probing the tangled bloodlines of our social and political networks, and the parasitic heft we are exerting on the world’s chest. Formally protean and polyphonic, the poems change shapes and registers in a thrilling and often poignant chase after their truth. Ed Bok Lee’s Mitochondrial Night is a thrilling book by a gifted poet at the height of his powers.” —Khaled Mattawa
 
“In Mitochondrial Night, Ed Bok Lee takes us on an intimate journey through space and time, introduces us to people and places we have and have not met, to center us in our humblest humanity. Lee is a shaman, he rides with his pen into the vast darkness of our pasts, centers us in our present, and then makes the fearless leap into the imagined, the predestined future. He looks to raise from the dead the spirits of wars lost, wars long forgotten, the wars being waged now, and he does so with a light, lonely hand. This collection is explosive; it shatters the boundaries of self in the service of art.” —Kao Kalia Yang
 
7:00pm
261 Columbus
94710 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

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

   

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
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