National Poetry Month World - Renowned Poets Grace the Library’s Stages

For Immediate Release:  

March 26, 2019

Media Contact: Mindy Linetzky
(415) 557-4252;

National Poetry Month

World renowned poets grace the Library’s stages

SAN FRANCISCO, CA– April is National Poetry Month and the San Francisco Public Library has scheduled abundant programs to entice the entire community. From readings by world renowned poets to films about national poets laureate, from poems in your pocket to blackout poetry crafts, the Library has something for everyone in honor of National Poetry Month.

As San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck writes:

People ask me why poetry?

In this tense time we see larger audiences

People are not just buying more books at more small bookstores

They are coming to feel the poems in person

The way they rattle, as sound through the nouns of our bodies

If you already know why, come to an event

If you don't know, come feel what it's about.

The celebration kicks-off on April 2 with a Poetry in Song Concert. Singers perform art-song arrangements of poetry by Victor Hugo, John Masefield, Friedrich Rückert, Albert Samain, Paul-Armand Silvestre, Théophile de Viau and others, with live piano accompaniment by Britton Day.   

On April 9, San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck hosts an event celebrating Maya Angelou with local poets reading their own work, as well as Angelou's own poems.

On April 11, the Library celebrates National Poetry Month with a screening of short documentary films about two famous Poets Laureate of the United States. Rita Dove: An American Poet is a portrait of the African American poet and essayist who served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995. Billy Collins: On the Road with the Poet Laureate is a humorous, engaging documentary about the man who has been called “the first American poet since Robert Frost to enjoy both critical and popular acclaim.” Collins served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003.

For fun, on April 18 neighbors can stop by the Western Addition Branch Library to pick up a poem to carry in their pocket all day. On April 15, teens will cut words from papers and magazines to create their own ransom note poems at the Bernal Heights Branch Library.

Towards the end of the month, poets Tongo Eisen-Martin, Cedar Sigo and Rozalie Hirs each headline a program highlighting their unique verse.Originally from San Francisco, Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker and educator committed to the social transformation of an oppressive society. San Francisco poet Sigo was raised on the Suquamish Reservation in the Pacific Northwest and studied at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute. His poetry, along with original artwork, is being displayed on MUNI buses roaming the city. Netherlands-based poet and composer Rozalie Hirs creates poems and musical compositions that are lyrical and innovative, and in both art forms she explores the adventure of listening, reading and imagining.

The Library’s poetry events culminate on April 30 in an Evening of South Asian-American Poetry with poets Athena Kashyap, Tanuja Mehrotra Wakefield, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Geeta Anand.

All programs and exhibits are free and open to the public. Check for book suggestions and calendar listings. Poetry programs are supported by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.  

National Poetry Month highlights:

Poetry in Song Concert – April 2, 6 p.m., Main Library

Poe Tree Workshop – April 2, 4 p.m., Bernal Heights Branch

Celebrating Maya Angelou with SF Poet Laureate Kim Schuck – April 9, 6 p.m., Main Library

On the Page/Off the Page Open Mic Poetry – April 9, 7 p.m., Park Branch

Poetry Collage and Altered Poetry Workshop– April 10, 3:30 p.m., Portola Branch (For teens and tweens)

BlackOut Poetry – April 10, 4 p.m. North Beach and April 13, 2 p.m., Golden Gate Valley Branch

Poets on Film: Rita Dove and Billy Collins – April 11, 3 p.m., Main Library

Poem Jam – April 11, 6 p.m., Main Library

Found Poetry Workshop – April 14, 3 p.m., Visitacion Valley Branch

Ransom Note Poems – April 15, 2 p.m., Bernal Heights Branch (For teens)

Poem in Your Pocket Day – April 18, all day, Western Addition Branch

Open Mic Poetry – April 19, 2 p.m., Main Library Braille and Talking Book Center

Russian Poems & Verses – April 23, 6 p.m., Richmond Branch

Forum Magazine Celebrates National Poetry Month – April 24, 5:30 p.m., Main Library

Poet Tongo-Eisen Martin: The Price of the TicketApril 25, 6 p.m., Main Library

SF Beautiful, SFMTA and the Poetry Society of America present Cedar Sigo – April 25, 6:30 p.m., West Portal Branch

Poet Rozalie Hirs: Work in StutteringApril 27, 12 noon, Main Library

An Evening of South-Asian American Poets – April 30, 5:30 p.m., Main Library

March 26, 2019