San Francisco’s 8th Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin makes his inaugural address to the City titled, Unity and Struggle: A collective inaugural address.
He is joined by special guests:
Eisen-Martin was appointed as San Francisco’s 8th Poet Laureate in January 2021 by Mayor London N. Breed.
Eisen-Martin is a poet and the founder of Black Freighter Press. His book Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, Pocket Poet series), received a 2018 American Book Award, the 2018 California Book Award for Poetry and was short-listed for the Griffin Poetry Prize. His previous book, someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press, 2015), was nominated for a California Book Award. His forthcoming book, A Good Earth: City Lights Pocket Poets Series No 62, will be published in September 2021.
Eisen-Martin is also an educator and organizer whose work centers on issues of mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings of Black people and human rights. He has taught at detention centers around the country and at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. He is a graduate of Columbia University.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Eisen-Martin spent time as a child hanging out at the Western Addition Cultural Center, now the African American Art and Culture Complex, where he later taught writing workshops. In his vision for Poet Laureate, he aims to organize poetry circles in underserved neighborhoods throughout the City and recruit and nurture artists from San Francisco’s marginalized communities.
Eisen-Martin’s books are available for purchase at City Lights.