Exciting New Literary Site

This sounds very exciting; I can’t wait for April 9.



Sunday’s reading at Cafe La Boheme was a wonderful event. Poet Francisco Alacrcon wote a poem about it that he was kind enough to share:


Alejandro Murguía, Poet Laureate of San Francisco, announced at the Memorial Celebrating Alfonso Texidor’s life that the City of San Francisco had named the alley next to Café La Boheme in honor of Alfonso Texidor, the Puerto Rican poet/activist and ubiquitous icon of the Mission District who passed away on December 25, 2014


by Francisco X. Alarcón

it’s a small alley,
the side street next
to Café La Boheme

the Mission rescue
chapel for poets,
artists & other misfits

it’s a tiny dead
end backstreet
of only few yards

but is a big
as you really
want it to be

for me,
it’s Alfonso
Texidor Blvd

a via poetica,
a camino real,
a magic passage

leading to
a verdant island
& the stars

you will change
forever just by
walking on it

the revolution
starts very deep
in the heart

if you listen
hard you will
hear the call

of the tropical
coqui announcing
a new day

the voice of
the poet thundering:
“a cortar caña”

© Francisco X. Alarcón
Feb. 8, 2015

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


por Francisco X. Alarcón

es el pequeño
callejón al lado
del Café La Boheme

capilla de rescate de
la Misión para poetas,
artistas y otros desafectos

es una callecita
sin salida de solo
unas pocas yardas

pero en realidad
en tan grande como
la quieras hacer

para mí
es el boulevard
Alfonso Texidor

una vía poética,
un camino real,
un pasaje mágico

que conduce
a una isla verde
y a las estrellas

cambiarás para
siempre con solo
caminar por ahí

la revolución
comienza en lo más
hondo del corazón

si escuchas
con atención
oirás el llamado

del coqui tropical
un nuevo día

la voz del poeta
“a cortar caña”

© Francisco X. Alarcón
8 de febrero de 2015

Photo by Eva Martinez . Packed house at first part of Alfonso Texidor’s memorial at La Boheme next to the newly named Alfonso Texidor Street.

Both parts of the Memorial Celebrating Alfonso Texidor’s Life brought together and featured the best the community has to offer. In the first part, Aztec dancers did the beginning ceremony dancing in front of Cafe la boheme San francisco, Jorge Tetl Argueta was a masterful MC, the musicians and poets were truly outstanding. The second part included an altar dedicated to Alfonso Texidor in the lobby of The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, wonderful posters dedicated to Alfonso Texidor by Michael Rauner and Francisco Orrego. Again the musicians, poets, ceremonial facilitators made the memorial a remarkable event. ¡Viva la poesía! ¡Viva la vida!

Best Things of the Week 2/9/15

Best Things of the Week
February 9, 2015

Best Thing I Saw All Week: Dotty Payne and Michael Warr at Readers Bookstore Fort Mason. Just in time for Black History Month. “Today would have been Trayvon Martin’s twentieth birthday,” Payne announced, “and this reading is dedicated to him.” Dotty has roots and family in Ferguson and has been back and forth several times since the current troubles began. She mixed recent poems drawn from those experiences with jazz poems—portraits of Lois Armstrong and Illinois Jacquet—and lead off with an extraordinary poem about her first childhood exposure to African-Americans in the person of a black man rendered non-threatening by castration. Warr had recently been labeled an ‘extremist’ which surprised and obviously irked him, “I tend to write about things that really happened, to me, and to others,” he said. At one point in the reading he paused to say, “I sometimes grow tired of writing the same poems over and over again. I am thinking about taking poems that I have written about these atrocities over the years and plugging in the names of the latest victims.” He revisited those older poems, reading from his two books, ‘Armageddon of Funk’ and ‘We Are All the Black Boy,’ and proved to be more prophet than extremist. Fergusson looms over everything it seems, especially this month.
Best Thing I Heard All Week: Osmium by Parliament. I pulled this out to accompany George Clinton’s memoir (more later) and was surprised at how little of it I remembered. The fun in this is in the joy of rediscovery; not something you’ll want to put on to kick off a party or to salve your consciousness during acupuncture. Released in 1970 and full of strange, loving parodies/homages including a couple of deranged country songs (complete with Jew’s harp solo and pedal steel) and some half-assed gospel. Even the bid for a hit “I Call My Baby Pussycat” comes off as tongue-in-cheek (“…I spell that p-u-s-s-y,” goes the refrain). This is psychedelic soul at its zenith and, as must be expected from Clinton, consistently very funny. Not slick and tight like the contemporaneous “Psychedelic Shack” or slick and sprawling like the later “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” it reminds me of the Bar-Kays’ long-lost Black Rock. Clinton was going for something less Motown, less Stax, than those, something more rock-derived—lots of Hendrix-inspired guitar (from Tawl Ross and Fuzzy Haskins), and rock rhythm changes—nothing less than a great wild stab at a musical unified field theory, with results similar to the same search in physics. Perhaps the metallurgical title is a hint.

New Friends Board Member: Taking Pride in Our Library


Bollingen Prize for Poetry Announced

From our friends at City Lights comes this:


Obama Budget Increases Library Funding


I Napped Until… New Poem by Peter Sherburn-Zimmer

I Napped Until…


Is it more like a bread box or the TARDIS? more like an amoeba?


more like an egg or a drop of water? or like a mitochondria and a Y-Chromosome?


The next idea, dream, poem, friendship …what is it like? A misspelling or a typo?

Thursdays at Readers Poetry Series: Michael Warr and Dorothy Payne

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 www.friendssfpl.org.

Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library

This February 5th  we are excited to have  Michael Warr and Dorothy Payne read!

Warr @ Fort Mason (Hi Res Cropped)Michael Warr’s books of poetry include The Armageddon of Funk (2011)Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry From Chicago’s Guild Complex (1999) as a co-editor, and We Are All The Black Boy (1991), all published by Tia Chucha Press. His awards include the 2014 Creative Work Fund award for his multimedia project “Tracing Poetic Memory in Bayview Hunters Point,”  2012 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, 2012 Poetry Honor Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, a National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, and others. The Black Caucus of the American Library Association described The Armageddon of Funk as “A poetic soundtrack to black life.” The Crisis Magazine, founded by W.E.B. DuBois, refers to Warr as a “literary long-distance runner,” and “poet-traveler.” A frequent collaborator with musicians, visual and performing artists, Michael’s poems have been dramatized on stage, depicted on canvas, and set to original music. For links to his writing, recordings, and multimedia experiments in poetry go to armageddonoffunk.tumblr.com. He is currently editing “Of Poetry & Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin” and anthology combining poems, essays, portraits, and archival images.

Her Words
by Michael Warr

(To Gwendolyn Brooks)

An archaeologist,

not a lexicologist, figured it

out.  The word was a woman.

Mingling among

the Oromos of Ethiopia,

brandishing a painter’s

brush in a dig territorially

defined by string,

the archaeologist swept away

ancient crust and sediment

finding language, alive

and agitated, instead

of the fossilized femur

of a long-dead ramapithecus.

Words wrapped in rhythm,

pleasure, knowledge and pain.

Words as sharply defined

as an Ashanti sculpture.  Words

of an African dynasty

made of peoples

not restricted to kings.

Words that survived

the Atlantic.  Words

that survived Atlanta.  Words

that survived migration,

segregation, integration,

and false resolution.

Words worn as bracelets,

amulets and weapons.

Words that were up

long before they were down.

Word Up.

Words that give more

than she has taken.

Children’s lives reweaved

first through her poems

and then through their own.

Words that could weave a world.

Read more »

Poet A. D. Winans Bids Farewell to Fellow Poet Rod Mc Kuen

Poet Singer/song writer Rod Mc Kuen dead at the age of 81.

Over the decades I have witnessed smug poets put down the work of the poet Rod Mc Kuen. True, he was not a great poet, but how many great poets are out there?   Much of this criticism was no doubt due to jealousy that his books have sold over 60 million copies, while most small press poets would be jumping with joy if they had a book out that sold one hundred copies

 Many of his mall press critics are most likely not aware that in the fifties he read his work with Kerouac and Ginsberg at the Jazz Cellar in San Francisco,  nor that some of his best-known songs were written with composer Jacques Brel, or that Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker. Madonna. and others were among recognized artists who recorded his material.   Charles Plymell published a poem of his and mine in his literary magazine Cold Spring Journal that resulted in Mc Kuen and I corresponding for many years. One of his letters touched me deeply, and I wrote and asked him if it was OK for me to share it with others.   

He gave me his blessing, and so I share it here. 

Dear AD,I put off reading Akbar’s interview with you until I could safely squirrel away some time to really read it. I knew it would be worthwhile and as I suspected the answers blew away the questions. You always exceed my expectations of you.Lots of excuses for setting aside pure and thoughtful enjoyment such as perusing words from a poet and human being I admire and respect.


A member of the family wasted away and died – just a cat to anyone who thinks being owned by a feline, silly, stupid or just plain weird, but Kubby was the closest thing I had left to a family. I haven’t heard from one brother since he was, after much petitioning brought handcuffed by plain clothed guards, from some penitentiary or another, to Mom’s funeral some decades past. Long ago we had stopped getting along when we were just getting along and not relating. The other brother? We are too close. Life was never easy with him and I’m sure his appraisal of me would be the same. Still I love him and would do anything for him but our life together seems increasingly a series of threats and demands by him and negotiations or silence from me. I am too old to quarrel and find it a waste of time so the silences between us grow longer.Last month I turned 74 and he, like you, is 71 – born three years and two days apart we celebrate our birthdays on the day between . . . so on April 28th we turned 150.Losing Kubby only amplified my sense of aloneness, not solitude, I covet solitude and can never get enough of it. I know you feel the same about the productivity and solace of being alone, your poetry, approach to it and your forty year fight to have time alone to write ring clear.Other excuses; deadlines not met, promises not kept, mail unanswered, as always saying yes to every project offered and only fulfilling a portion of them. Making endless lists, feeling guilty about not cleaning up my room . ..let alone my life. And, on and on and on. (What guts to complain about every flat surface in my room being taken up with stuff when your rooms and world have recently burned down.) I hope you have waded through all this AD because it’s a preamble to what I want to say about the kinship I found in your words. Having your poetry to rely on is something, but overhearing your conversation with an interviewer starts to make a presumptive friendship with you important. It’s after 4:00 am here, as it is up north with you, and I haven’t yet gotten to the meat and spuds of what I want to address, I’m rambling and growing tired — though I know it will be another sleepless night. Even changing the trusty right hand to the left, thus attempting to entice and surprise my dick, doesn’t seem to work any more but I’ll get through this night and morning as I do the rest.Wanted you to know in the meantime that I’m thinking of you and that your words are spinning in my ears. With a clearer head & maybe no scotch I’ll continue, maybe even before cleaning my room.Please remember that poets go on forever, whatever that is and the best that can be said for academians is that they had a nut named after them. All of us are out there in the same leaky boat and we should be bailing instead of throwing mud at one another.Luv and all that goes with it,Rod




Harper Lee to publish second novel

Good news for lovers of To Kill A Mockingbird