Call for Nominations for San Francisco Poet Laureate

February 17, 2016

Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; (415) 608-1593;

Call for Nominations for San Francisco Poet Laureate

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Poet Laureate Nominating Committee are seeking nominations for the seventh San Francisco Poet Laureate, to succeed Alejandro Murguía, whose term has expired.

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/or 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.

“As San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate said, ‘The center of literate culture in cities has always centered in the great libraries.’ San Francisco Public Library is pleased to lead the way in this great San Francisco literary tradition by beginning the process for the selection of the next Poet Laureate for our city,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera.

Responsibilities of the Poet Laureate include:

  • Deliver an inaugural address to the public at San Francisco Public Library
  • Participate in community-based poetry events that serve multi-generational, multi-ethnic residents representative of the City.
  • Work on one or more poetry-centered events in cooperation with the San Francisco Public Library, WritersCorps, and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library
  • Lead a poetry reading/event at Litquake, San Francisco’s annual literary festival.

San Francisco’s sixth Poet Laureate, Alejandro Murguía, was the first Latino poet to hold the position. A professor at San Francisco State University, he was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee in 2012. During his tenure he presented the Flor Y Canto poetry festivals and organized a major exhibition at the San Francisco Main Library titled A Little Piece of Mexico, which featured the postcards of Guillermo Kahlo. His latest book of poetry, Stray Poems, was published by City Lights Books in 2014. 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.

Previous Poet Laureates included Diane Di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Janice Mirikitani, devorah major and Jack Hirschman.

Nomination forms for the Poet Laureate can be found online at or at any San Francisco Public Library. Nominations should include a two or three paragraph statement on why the nominee should be San Francisco’s Poet Laureate, and include a bibliography of published works and/or performance history.

Nominations, which are due by April 17, 2016, should be sent to Luis Herrera, City Librarian, San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, or submitted via email to
For more information, please call (415) 557-4277.