Thursday at Readers: Leticia Hernandez & Diego Deleo

Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series!

Browse books and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman.

Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library.

Thursday, October 8th Lineup: Leticia Hernandez & Diego Deleo

311903_10151402446484476_2125759442_nLeticia Hernández-Linares is a poet, interdisciplinary artist, and educator, and the author of Mucha Muchacha, Too Much Girl (Tía Chucha Press, 2015). Widely published, her work appears in newspapers, literary journals, and anthologies, some of which include: U.S. Latino Literature Today, Street Art San Francisco, Pilgrimage, and Crab Orchard Review. She has performed her poemsongs throughout the country and in El Salvador, at venues such as the Smithsonian, Yale, Nuyorican Poets Café, The Guild Complex, SF JAZZ, and The Loft. Founder of an artist collaborative, Amate: Women Painting Stories, she has received grants from the Creative Work Fund, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and San Francisco Arts Commission in support of her interdisciplinary projects. Over the last twenty-four years, she has designed and led visual art and creative writing classes for all ages, taught university literature courses, and provided executive leadership for various community based organizations.


diegoDiego De Leo – Here at 17, wearing my older brother’s clothes fitted for me, preparing to venture to the New World, leaving my family, my horse and plow behind, uneducated, immature in more ways than one, bent, not broken by the natural, nor the man-made laws I endured. Years later I contemplate my past well spent and looking forward.



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Thursdays at Readers: Doreen Stock & Zaid Shlah

Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series!

Browse books and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman.

Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library.

Thursday, September 24 Lineup: Doreen Stock & Zaid Shlah
(For a complete calendar listing of future readings & other events, please visit our website.)

10403500_1067048853311794_2814903132662931958_nDoreen Stock is a poet, essayist and memoir practitioner who has been exploring creative nonfiction for thirty plus years from the feminine point of view as a wife, mother of three, single human, and grandmother of eleven. Her first book of poems, The Politics of Splendor, was part of a New American Writers exhibit at the Frankfurt Book Fair that year. It combined her own poetry and prose poems with her translation from the work of Marina Tsvetaeva and Anna Akhmatova.

While raising her three children, she wrote two book-length memoirs: FIVE: The Transcript of a Journey, detailing her family’s travels through Europe in a VW van, and My Name is Y, an anti-nuclear demonstrator’s family memoir. She was also a small press (D’Aurora Press) editor and publisher at that time.

The Bookcase, a memoir exploring totalitarianism and the self, was begun in Amsterdam in the eighties, and after that, Rani, describing Stock’s first five-month stay in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. During seven years of travel in the nineties, she composed several collection of poems, Memorial Service, Poems of Arad among them, and the essays which eventually became, On Leaving Jerusalem: Prose of a Traveling Nature.

An archive of her reading her work can be found at Marin Poet’s Live! – YouTube.

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Join Friends and Receive a Discount on JCC Poetry Events!

We’ve partnered with the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco to bring you some fantastic poetry events. Better yet: if you’re a member of Friends, we’re giving you a discount on tickets! Email to receive the discount code!


With Adam Kirsch, Robert Hass, Anne Germanacos, and others

Primo Levi (1919–1987), an Auschwitz survivor and the author of such acclaimed works as If This Is a Man and The Periodic Table, is often referred to as a Holocaust writer. Yet Levi’s body of work, written over a forty-year period, extends considerably beyond his experience as a survivor to short stories, novels, science fiction, essays and poetry. Join us for a special evening of readings and discussion to celebrate the great Italian writer upon publication of his Collected Works, which features many new translations of his work.


With Robert Alter, Hana Amichai, Chana Bloch, and Chana Kronfeld
and performance by Emanuella Amichai

A special evening of readings, discussion and performance to celebrate the late renowned modern Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai (1924–2000) upon publication of his new collection, The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, edited by Robert Alter, which includes new translations and works published in English for the first time. Alter is joined by two of Amichai’s chief translators, Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld, and his wife, Hana Amichai. With video and dance performances by the poet’s daughter, Emanuella Amichai.


Join today to and email to receive the discount code!

Thursdays at Readers Poetry Series: Jennifer Barone & Micah Ballard

Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series! Browse books and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is  curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman. For a full line-up and more information please visit our website at

Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library

Today, Thursday September 20th, we are excited to have  Jennifer Barone & Micah Ballard read!

shapeimage_1Jennifer Barone is the host of the “WordParty” Poetry and Jazz Open Mic every Third Tuesday of the month at Viracocha. She is the author of three books of poetry, the most recent titled “Saporoso, poems of Italian food & love”. She has been a featured poet at most of San Francisco’s local venues and was a selected poet for the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco in the 2007 and 2012 “Poets Eleven” city-wide contest, organized by Jack Hirschman, SF Poet Laureate and the SF Public Library.

maxresdefaultMicah Ballard is the author of over a dozen books and pamplets of poetry, including Vesper Chimes (Gas Meter, 2014), Waifs and Strays (City Lights Books, 2011) Parish Krewes (Bootstrap Press, 2009), Evangeline Downs (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006) and Negative Capability in the Verse of John Wieners (Auguste Press, 2001). He works at the University of San Francisco and with Sunnylyn Thibodeaux is the co-editor for Auguste Press and Lew Gallery editions.

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New Interpretation of Frost

It’s really not so new, I have friends who have been saying this for years.  Still, interesting…


At the Summit, a new poem by Neeli Cherkovski


we crossed into the desert at the Summit

as if there were a special meaning

pulling the wires of Las Vegan tighter

and tighter until the wires snapped

the raw men devouring time at The Summit Café

in perpetual anger, swore to push death

against bleached bones

some pulled travel trailers

into the gravel, a few wore uniforms

of the Highway Patrol

and lifted the waitresses into their palms

snow dusted the air, snow plows headed

for Wrightwood, snow fairies hid

in the hills, mountain lions

came cautiously from their lairs

on the high peaks

in the desert the marching bands

peeked from behind outcroppings of rock

where scorpion and tarantula

hid from the sun

we met the grim entrepreneurs who envisioned

silent neighborhoods, split the land into plots

these men wore Stetson hats

and hoisted oversized flags

into the Mojave sky

“The thing is, the thing is

we never did cream those sons of bitches

the way we should have,” said

a man in the adjacent booth, “When they crossed

the parallel we should’ve known,”

he was glorious in his native speech, cloaked

in a red jacket, bald

the snow was coming

like a motherfucker, the man said, “McArthur

had it right. . . you nuke them, send them

back to the Stone Age,” pouring sugar into his coffee

until the end of time

or at least the end of human folly

August 2015

A Portrait of the Artist: Meet our Poster Designer!

Wayne's PortraitWayne Shellabarger is one of our favorite artists living in the Bay Area, and we’re thrilled to debut his 3rd poster design for our upcoming Big Book Sale. Wayne has illustrated numerous covers and articles for the San Francisco Bay Guardian (RIP) and has illustrated and designed the promotional posters for the 20th Anniversary of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Wayne also designs the calendars and posters for the I Wake Up Dreaming Film Noir Festival.

His rock posters from the ’90s were published as “I’m Totally Helpless!” and he illustrated a book on the history of the U.S. Vice Presidents called, “Veeps: Profiles in Insignificance”, both published by Top Shelf Productions. He also illustrated Music We Like, the Amoeba Music shopping guide, from 1999-2013.

We’ve plastered San Francisco with Wayne’s poster design for the sale (see all three below) and you can check out Wayne’s 2nd one-man poster show at Black Spring Coffee Co. (2930 Telegraph in Oakland) in October, 2015.

Favorite San Francisco library branch
I check out books from the Mission Branch and always find too much interesting stuff. You can’t beat the view from the Potrero Branch.

Last item you checked out from a library
See a Little Light“, Bob Mould.

Favorite section in a bookstore

Favorite artists
Will Elder, Jack Davis and Goya.

What other projects kept you busy this summer?
In July I finished a poster featuring Jayne Mansfield for The Castro Theatre’s Film Noir festival. Also, a beer label I designed is part of Blue Moon’s artist series beer labels.

What inspired you to draw when you were knee high?
I watched a lot of Perry Mason when I was a kid and became fascinated with the parade of ’50s character actors that went through the series. Their odd faces captivated me. Plus lots of comics. And, bringing up the rear, the startlingly complex and delicate beauty of the natural world.

Why do you think libraries are important / relevant today?
What explanation does “unlimited free books” need? Free access to ideas and information for the public sounds like a good idea to me. “Google it?” Sometimes you just don’t want to be connected to 4 billion people when reading or researching. The ambiance of a library is unbeatable for focused, undisturbed thought.

Why do you love working for and supporting the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library?
Keeping books and ideas in circulation is one of the most important activities one could possibly be involved in.

Thanks Wayne!

Join us this September 16-20, 2015 for our astronomically Big Book Sale at the Herbst Pavilion. Over 500,000 books & media, all for only $3 or under. Proceeds support the San Francisco Public Library!

3 Poster Designs_Wayne_Big Book Sales

Anne Rice Weighs In On Censorship

Anne Rice stands up for the rights of authors to write what they want to write:

Best Debut Novels of the Year, so far

I thought this was sort of interesting but I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it.  BJS


Ferlinghetti on Nagasaki

You can always rely on Ferlinghetti: