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:

Will the Stoner?

Who knows? In another era he might have been Robert Hunter.

For Caliban and Ariel, a poem by Peter Sherburn-Zimmer

For Caliban and Ariel

If I thought that thinking made it so,
I’d join the vegetables in my garden—
But I know it isn’t so. I mean
I wonder why people trick themselves
To make the world and all its suchness
Go away.

Our time here is so rich and full and scary
So varied and touched by the wonder
Of living among things that resist our will—
Every day is challenge itself:
Meet me on my terms the world says.

Don’t miss it by pretending
You can change anything at all.
Let it into you.
Plan on the earth’s resistance.

Co-operate with the fact of existence.
Take it in hand. Found any future
You may have on this here right now.
Don’t give up your dream’s – ground them—
Use your imagination, not just fantasy.

Meet Our New Board Member…

Photo_Annie LeeAnnie Lee recently joined our Board of Directors, and was born and raised in San Francisco. As a child, she considered the Parkside Library her second home! She spent countless hours there, reading everything from picture books to encyclopedias to fashion magazines. Annie is excited to join Friends to ensure all youth in San Francisco can enjoy the library as much as she did. Outside of Friends, Annie is an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the National Center for Youth Law  Annie graduated from Harvard Law School cum laude, where she spent two years as a student attorney through the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. She represented over a dozen low-income families in eviction, benefits, and wage and hour cases. She also led a weekly eviction defense clinic, in which she assisted more than fifty unrepresented tenants file Answer and Discovery. Prior to law school, Annie received a B.A. summa cum laude in Political Science and Chinese from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters of Science in Teaching summa cum laude from Fordham University. For two years, she taught 11th grade United States History in the Bronx. She co-created a multicultural curriculum infused with rigorous lesson plans and project-based assessments. Her students achieved the highest pass rate of any state-tested subject in the school and, more importantly, expressed how they learned about their country and about themselves.


Welcome Annie! Interested in joining our Board of Directors? Please get in touch with Deborah Doyle, Acting Executive Director, at or (415) 477-5229.