Photos and Friends from the Beat Museum Poetry Festival

What a fun event. Last weekend I was invited to read at the SF Beat Museum 7th Annual Poetry Festival. What a blast. Here are some photos of the event, with some of the lovely poetry people I met.

Terry Adams was the MC and the photo above shows me in the Literature Bathtub with Terry! I’ve know Terry since 1986, through our long association with Waverly Writers in Palo Alto, but I think this is the first time we’ve shared a bath.

Erica with the bathtub

Here’s Erica Goss with the bathtub full of books.


I took a selfie with some famous beat women writers.


Another shot of beautiful Erica with more women writers.

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Some great decor in the museum, behind and upstairs from a funky little bookstore.

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Erica and I hanging out with Allen Ginsberg. I bought a copy of the poster and am going to put an “e” between the “o” and “t”.


Maurine Killough, Erica Goss, Bob Dickerson, and Sarah Kobrinsky (the Emeryville Poet Laureate)


Gwynn O’Gara, fellow teacher at California Poets in the Schools and former Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, with the current Poet Laureate of Pacifica, Dorsetta Hale.


Beat Museum Poetry

Tomorrow, Erica Goss and I will be part of this only-in-SF poetry festival. The 7th Annual Beat Museum Poetry Festival should be fun and if you’re in the city, join us! The event is from 1-6 pm, at the Beat Museum, 540 Broadway, in SF, across the street from City Lights bookstore. Many cool poems, and my friend, Terry Adams, as MC. (More about Terry here.)

The theme is “World of Change: Jack Kerouac Is Alive and Well!” and that’s JK in the cool graphic at the top of the post.

If you didn’t know that Kerouac was a poet as well as an author, read a poem or two here. “Everything is perfect because it is empty.”

Poetry Cafe at Miller Middle School

Yesterday I had the delightful experience of attending the Poetry Cafe at Miller Middle School. Seventh-grade Language Arts teacher Kari Emerson has been holding the Poetry Cafe for the past 14 years; creating with her students a replica of a 1950s Beat-era cafe in her classroom. With posters, table cloths, fresh flowers, special lighting (including totally awesome lava lamps) and a stage, Room 2 is transformed. With student MCs, food servers and a band wearing black berets, the mood is authentic. Even the finger snapping to show appreciation for a poem is consistent with the hipster mood. (If you think you know what hipster means, think again…)

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These kids all recited poems: some read their own work, others read Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Charles Mackay, Langston Hughes, Amy Lowell, William Blake. They read from folded pieces of paper, books, their iPhones and notes scribbled on their hands. A few parents read poems. Another teacher recited Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.” I stood up to the “stage” and recited Christina Rossetti’s “A Birthday.” There were poems by Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein. After every reading, fingers snapped and the bongos rumbled. There was a wide range of work, from playful and silly to lyrics and ballads of real depth. A couple of lines resonated with me; Frost’s “I am the master of my soul” and Angelou’s quote “Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Ms. Emerson closed with a moving tribute to Maya Angelou. And through it all we enjoyed cookies, tea, juice and a great vibe.

Ms. Emerson and her students are to be commended for taking poetry into their lives in such a lovely and rigorous way. I was proud to be among their number yesterday. Cupertino, you have no idea what is in your midst, these young poets and poet appreciators are a force to be reckoned with.