Brief but Spectacular: Tongo Eisen-Martin

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“To walk down the streets in the Bay Area is really to walk through a dystopia,” says San Francisco poet laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin about the rapid gentrification of his native city as he discusses how poetry serves as a tool for revolution in this installment of PBS NewsHour’s “Brief but Spectacular” series.

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The Poetic City That Was

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“It was still the last frontier when I arrived in 1951. It was a wide-open city.” In this 2015 video, Lawrence Ferlinghetti recalls his early days in San Francisco and speaks about the changing life of the city. Ferlinghetti died at the age of 101 on February 22, 2021. An interview with the legendary poet and founder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers is featured in the March/April 2007 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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The Descent of Alette

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“‘In a dark cave, I saw’ ‘an apparition:’ ‘almost real, almost there—’...” In this video, Alice Notley reads from her feminist epic The Descent of Alette (Penguin Books, 1996) at the Lab in San Francisco. The two-night program included a reading of the entire book-length poem and was cosponsored by the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University.

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All This Life

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Joshua Mohr reads from his novel All This Life (Soft Skull Press, 2015) and talks about the need for artists and publishers to transgress against cultures of homogeneity. Mohr's debut memoir, Sirens (Two Dollar Radio, 2017), is featured in Page One in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

826 Valencia

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"When I was little, I would always be inspired by books that my mom gave me and I always wanted to be a writer. And that dream has come true, at a really young age!" Students, volunteers, and cofounders Nínive Calegari and Dave Eggers of 826 Valencia talk about the opening of a second branch in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco. The center will offer free creative writing and tutoring programs for young writers.

Poets & Writers Live: San Francisco Highlights

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The second year of Poets & Writers Live debuted with an event at the Brava Theater in San Francisco on January 10, 2015, featuring a "poetry keynote" by Pulitzer Prize–winner and former U.S. poet laureate Kay Ryan; conversations about inspiration and the writing life with dozens of authors, including Michelle Tea, David Shields, Wendy Lesser, and D. A. Powell; advice from agent Danielle Svetcov and other publishing professionals; a multigenre, multimedia “inspiration experiment” featuring dancer Sarah Fiske and musician Ben Arthur; and much more.

Inspiration Experiment: San Francisco

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Acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates, singer-songwriter Ben Arthur, poet and filmmaker Nick Twemlow, award-winning illustrator Roman Muradov, and dancer Sarah Fiske will present an inspired series of linked performances, followed by a conversation, led by Kevin Larimer, about the creative process and the roots of inspiration.

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Why We Write: San Francisco

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Melissa Faliveno, associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine, leads a conversation with authors Wendy Lesser, Yiyun Li, Alejandro Murguia, D. A. Powell, and Michelle Tea about the personal, political, and professional reasons we choose to write while living in a culture, a family, or a community that doesn’t always value what we do.

Perfect Pitch Panel: San Francisco

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Kevin Larimer, editor in chief of Poets & Writers Magazine, moderates as editors Jordan Bass of McSweeney's Publishing and Ethan Nosowsky of Graywolf Press join literary agent Danielle Svetcov and publicist Megan Fishmann of Counterpoint Press for a conversation about how authors can make a good impression—in cover letters, book proposals, and even at social gatherings.

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