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.

Refunds for ‘Go Set A Watchman’ (?)

Thursdays at Readers Poetry Series: Toshi Washizu & Judith Yamamoto

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

On August 6th we are excited to have  Toshi Washizu & Judith Yamamoto read!

hqdefaultBorn in Shizuoka, Japan, at the foot of Mount Fuji, Toshi Washizu never climbed his native country’s highest peak. Instead, in his youth, he crossed the ocean to America. He became a filmmaker and for decades produced award-winning documentary films. His movies include Bone, Flesh, Skin; Mr. Oh: a Korean Calligrapher; and Issei: The First Generation.
Washizu’s poems and essays have appeared in the literary anthologies The Chalk Circle; Sunrise from Blue Thunder; Family Matters; In Other Words; Forum; Poets 11; Noe Valley Voice, and The Walrus.

Read more »

Highway Five by Neeli Cherkovski


the highway bleeds into Los Angeles
on a causal Sunday, it is 9 A. M. few cars
on the road, we began in a Motel Six somewhere
unclean, there was a show on big game hunting
that kept me awake much of the night, a man
from Boise, Idaho had bagged
a giraffe, the man looked like a disease
and the giraffe lay
all over the wounded savannah, I wondered
how they would ship his head overseas
and would it hang over a walnut table, center-piece
in the hunter’s heart, it was difficult to keep
my eyes on the road and to maintain a safe
distance, someone cut me off, angered
I gripped the wheel and sped far enough to wedge-in
between him and a sleek blue spots car

the highway crawls up the Grapevine, here
the truckers need skill, they are born
for the struggle, some are mastodons
and others mere specks, the trucks
bear the names: Walmart, United, FedEx
and on an on into the wired miles
past shrubbery and steep cliffs, in winter
there could be snow, in my mind
the route should be endless, a magic
road explaining the meaning of our magic
and the demise of our dance

but the immense Basin will come
into view, signs appear for the Spanish mission
and the sprawl begins, back on the road
warring clans, it happens to be May Day
the road goes down to a valley
of palms with a river running through it

the local women are gathering
to wash on the banks, children dive
into the water and re-surface gleaming
like stars, the warriors pass
on their monumental ponies

I’ve been this way many times
many years, so often into the grim routine
of skirting pain or diving into it, listing birds
on a notebook page, thinking I could be
a bird circling over the oil rig
right here on highway five, deep
into the roots, down beyond sorrow
we decay and then we rise
to find the light again, the engines
run well, the tires don’t fail, ruthless
drivers drill into things, angry men
spread pestilence

in the middle of the valley
one imagines mountains to the east
or the fry of a wounded animal
an animal who is dying

at the turn-off there is a three hundred foot
statue of Buddha, he is resting
his eyes are closed, the sign says “Buddha is
meditating, not resting,” and goes on
to explain the fever of renunciation

further on statue of a priest
from the doldrums, this man lost his way
and died of thirst, he, like Buddha, is
one of the wonders of Highway Five
he is a priest of the deer clan

the largest statue is of an eighteen year old
skateboarder who surfed from San Francisco
to San Diego before disappearing, the sculptor
caught his lanky limbs and the artful
turn of his wrists

I will offer you a map
of the land, and if you push me,
I will diagram your fear and the profound
ennui that leads you down
the wrong paths

people pull over for a reality check
and ice cream cones, they lick
and allow their kids
to circle the statues, you will not
perish, you will survive, cancer
is the other man’s concern, old age is a rumor
mass murder a mystery, global
warming is horseshit, you will find
at the center nothing but questions
and somewhere you might even
earn a glimpse of the creator, or
be pulled over on a steep grade
for speeding, if so keep your hands
on the wheel, show respect

the road
is mere legend

August 3, 2015

Best Things of the Week, August 4, 2015

Best Things of the Week

by Byron Spooner

August 4, 2015


flacoBest Thing I Heard All Week, Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca at SFJazz: It was just the two of them and an Oakland bassist they’d rehearsed with once or twice and at times I could have used a bigger band, something with a little more punch, with lines of percussion weaving through the button accordion/bajo sexto duets, but these guys are such masters that it was mostly a passing thought.  That Jimenez is a world-class instrumentalist was monumentally clear even though I haven’t got sufficient tools to compare him to others in his field, but Robbie Robertson, Jim Hall, Bobby Hutcherson and Bill Monroe, pointillists all, leapt to mind.  The line to get CDs signed was the longest I’ve ever seen at the venue and when I ended up first, through stupidity more than design, I could feel the exuberance of it boiling at my back. After stalling around for thirty minutes, Baca and Jimenez emerged from the back and pandemonium triumphed with women of all ages pressing forward for autographs and selfies with their idols. There was outrage, and even a threatened sit-in, at the absence of silver Sharpies. We witnessed no panties being thrown but then we did leave pretty early. Read more »