San Francisco Poet Laureate

Now accepting nominations for the 9th Poet Laureate. 


Nomination Form 


Poet Laureate nominees must be San Francisco residents, have a substantial body of published work, including at least one full length book (minimum 48 pages, not self-published or vanity press) and a professional digital recording of performance with text (not self-produced) or 20 or more published poems in established publications, print or online, over the past five years.

Responsibilities of the Poet Laureate include:

  • Deliver an inaugural public address at San Francisco Public Library;
  • Develop and participate in community-based poetry programs that reflect and honor the diversity of San Francisco.
  • Work on one or more poetry-centered events in collaboration with San Francisco Public Library, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, the San Francisco Arts Commission and community partners such as Youth Speaks, Litquake, and others.

Jeff Cretan serves as the Communications Director for Mayor London N. Breed’s office. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco.

Valerie Ibarra is a 5th generation San Franciscan and poet. She has been published by The Beat Museum and featured in Litquake. She is the co-producer of Poems Under the Dome, the annual celebration of National Poetry Month at San Francisco City Hall. She is dedicated to civic engagement and has spent over a decade hosting radio shows and community events amplifying poetry and activism.

Joyce Jenkins is a noted Bay Area poet and the longtime editor of Poetry Flash, a Berkeley-based, online poetry review and literary calendar for California. Poetry Flash, a non-profit literary arts organization, is the producer/sponsor of the Northern California Book Reviewers and the Northern California Book Awards.

Michael Lambert is the City Librarian of San Francisco and serves as Chair of the Poet Laureate Committee.

Stacey Lewis is Vice President of City Lights Publishers where she has worked for more than 20 years, collaborating with writers such as Howard Zinn, Michael McClure, Karen Finley, and Diane di Prima among many others. Stacey directed the programming for the Northern California Book Publicity and Marketing Association (NCBPMA) for a number of years.

Dr. Eurania López is a member of the San Francisco Library Commission and the Assistant Director for Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment at San Francisco State University. Her work on Higher Education has taken different forms over the years. Dr. López is dedicated to promoting higher education among underrepresented groups and low-income students who otherwise would not have the opportunity or means to attend college.

devorah major was San Francisco’s third Poet Laureate, appointed to the position in 2002 by Mayor Willie Brown. She is an award-winning writer, performer, recording artist, actor, editor and writing coach as well as the former poet-in-residence of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Kim Shuck was San Francisco’s seventh Poet Laureate, appointed to the position in 2017 by Mayor Edwin M. Lee.  Her poetry focuses on her multiethnic background, which includes Polish and Cherokee heritage, and her experiences as a lifelong resident of San Francisco. 


October 1998 – February 2000 
Lawrence Ferlinghetti – Appointed by Mayor Willie Brown, Lawrence served as San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate. In this role, he wrote an ongoing poetry column, "Poetry as News," in the San Francisco Chronicle. Through City Lights Foundation, he initiated a series of commemorative books of poems by each successive Poet Laureate. 

March 2000 – March 2002 
Janice Mirikitani – Also appointed by Mayor Willie Brown, Janice worked extensively with youth and teen programming and produced workshops at the Library to bring an appreciation of poetry to young people. Janice is best known for her passion in working with poor people and attention to issues of social justice.

April 2002 – April 2004 
devorah major – devorah initiated an 18-month program, “City Reflections: War & Peace on our Streets,” in which she engaged the public in writing poems meaningful to them on topics of social justice. Selected poems were published in the San Francisco Chronicle and in the Library’s publication, At the Library. 

January 2006 – January 2008 
Jack Hirschman – Jack was the first Poet Laureate appointment of Mayor Gavin Newsom. Partnering with the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, the Mayor’s Office of Protocol and the Library, Hirschman initiated Poets 11, soliciting poems and readings from participants in each of the eleven San Francisco Supervisorial Districts, and implemented the International Poetry Festival in July 2007. 

May 2009 – December 2011 
Diane di Prima – Appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom as the City’s 5th Poet Laureate, Diane planned a series of poetry workshops for children and senior citizens at branch libraries and neighborhood centers aimed at empowering people to write and speak their stories. Her autobiography, Recollections of My Life as a Woman: The New York Years, was selected as the Library’s On the Same Page book during her tenure.

July 2012 – December 2015 
Alejandro Murguía – The first Latino poet to hold the position, Alejandro was named the City’s 6th Poet Laureate by Mayor Ed Lee. He presented the 2013 Flor Y Canto Youth Poetry Festival and the 2015 Flor Y Canto literary festival which brought poets from around the world to San Francisco’s Mission District for three days of poetry readings and events. His latest book of poetry, Stray Poems, was published by City Lights Books in 2014. During his tenure, he 
organized a major exhibition titled, A Little Piece of Mexico, featuring the postcards of Guillermo Kahlo, at the Jewett Gallery at the San Francisco Main Library. He continues to sponsor a monthly poetry series, Voz Sin Tinta at Alley Cat Books. A fragment of one of his poems was included in the resolution for the 24th Street Cultural Corridor, approved by the San Francisco Mayor and Board of Supervisors. 

June 2017 – January 2021
Kim Shuck –Appointed by Mayor Ed Lee as San Francisco’s 7th Poet Laureate. Kim’s poetry draws on her multiethnic background which includes Polish and Cherokee heritage, and her experiences as a lifelong resident of San Francisco. Her most recent book of poetry, Deer Trails, was published in October 2019 by City Lights Press. In her term as Poet Laureate, she hosted scores of free poetry and art workshops for all ages at neighborhood libraries and schools and worked closely with San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Arts Commission to launch major citywide initiatives to honor Native American Indigenous People’s heritage. 

January 2021- 2024
Tongo Eisen-Martin - Appointed on January 15, 2021, by Mayor London N. Breed to be San Francisco's 8th Poet Laureate. Born and raised in San Francisco, Tongo earned his MA at Columbia University. He is the author of someone’s dead already, nominated for a California Book Award and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights), which received a 2018 American Book Award, a 2018 California Book Award, was named a 2018 National California Booksellers Association Poetry Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize. He is also an educator and organizer whose work centers on issues of mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings of Black people, and human rights.

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