Judy Grahn, Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Celebrate the Bay Area's vibrant literary scene when the 36th annual Northern California Book Awards recognize the best published works of 2016 and celebrate Northern California authors on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 5:30 pm at Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street in San Francisco. Poet and scholar Judy Grahn, author of A Simple Revolution: The Making of an Activist Poet and many other books, will be honored with the Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service. The NCBR Recognition Award will be presented to Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers, by Bobby Seale and photographer Stephen Shames. Both of these great activist figures, Bobby Seale and Judy Grahn, will speak at the awards, along with some of the other winning writers. Oscar Villalon, ZYZZYVA Managing Editor, will serve as the master of ceremonies. Winning authors will read briefly from their book. A book signing and reception with the authors will follow the Awards Ceremony in the Latino/Hispanic Room. All of the nominated and honored books will be available for sale and signing. Eligible books, all published in 2017 by Northern California authors, were divided into eight categories: Fiction, General Nonfiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Children's Literature (Younger Readers and Older Readers), and Translation (Poetry and Fiction). The books nominated are intended to serve you as a Recommended Reading List by Northern California authors. Northern California reviewers and editors, all members of Northern California Book Reviewers, select the awards. All of the nominated books, the NCBR’s Recommended Reading List, will be saluted and celebrated at the ceremony.

More information:

2017 NCBA Awards Nominees


And Then There Was a Revolution
An Interview with Nancy Morejón
by Kathleen Weaver

Nancy Morejón is a renowned Cuban poet as well as a critic, translator and cultural worker. She is the author of many volumes of poetry, including translations into English such as Looking Within/Mirar adentro (Selected poems 1954-2000) edited by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. A recently published selection is Homing Instincts, translated by Pamela Carmell, Cubana Books, 2014. Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing, Selected Poetry by Nancy Morejón, Black Scholar Press, appeared in 1985, translated by Kathleen Weaver. read more

Nancy Morejón
From Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing: Selected Poetry
Translated by Kathleen Weaver
read poems

David Meltzer reading in February 2016. Video by Esy Casey.

A Few Notes On David Meltzer
Visionary With Red-Hot Coins (1936-2016)
by Jack Foley

I wrote my first poem at eleven. It came through me and out of me, a combination of vision and transmission. Maybe “trance-mission” would be more accurate. I was in the center of its energy like a glass or lens where words not light come through.

—David Meltzer

read more

Carl Landauer
"To David Meltzer"
read poem

Rediscovering Childhood:
A User's Guide
by Erica Goss

As a new poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools in 2014, I found myself in need of lesson plans. Luckily for me, CPitS’s Poetry Crossing: 50+ Lessons for 50 Years had just been published. My copy is highlighted in pink, yellow and blue, and marked with pen and Post-It notes. read more


"When the poem finishes itself"
An Interview with Miles Champion
by Jeffrey P. Beck

Miles Champion is a poet and author of How to Laugh, Eventually, and Compositional Bonbons Placate. Born in Nottingham, England, Miles grew up in South Wales and moved to New York in his thirties. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Brooklyn. He recently collaborated with painter Trevor Winkfield on the book-length illustrated interview How I Became a Painter, and edited a selection of Tom Raworth's poetry, As When. read more

Geometry of Air
The Poetry of Ulalume González de León
by Terry Ehret

I discovered Mexican poet Ulalume González de León in the fall of 1982 as one of thirty-odd students in Frances Mayes's very first graduate workshop on the prose poem at San Francisco State. Our text, Michael Benedikt's The Prose Poem: An International Anthology, featured a long prose poem in fifteen parts, "Anatomy of Love." I was instantly enthralled by the language: a richly erotic imagery blending anatomical and scientific vocabulary in an unconventional syntax. read more

Ulalume González de León
Poems from Plagios
Translated by Terry Ehret, John Johnson, and Nancy J. Morales
read poems

Photo by Taylor Cincotta.

Complex Coding
A Conversation with Adrian Matejka
by Lee Rossi

African-American poet Adrian Matejka's first book, The Devil's Garden, won the 2002 New York/New England Award from Alice James Books. His second, Mixology, was a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. His most recent book, The Big Smoke, a series of poems about the black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. read more

At the Prison a Steel Cage Opens
by Rose Black

Today will be my first visit to Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), where I'm to observe Nancy Gomez teach the poetry workshop started by prison psychologist Ben Bloch and poet Ellen Bass. If I choose to commit, I will be joining the teaching team soon. read more


Portrait of Joseph Stroud by Jack Richard Smith.

Riding the Dragon
An Interview with Joseph Stroud
by Barbara March

Joseph Stroud is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, Of This World, New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press), which won the 2010 San Francisco Poetry Center Award for an outstanding book of poetry by an American poet. The occasion for this interview was his receipt of the prestigious 2014 Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement. He divides his time between Santa Cruz, California, and a cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains. read more

She Asked For Light
A Conversation with Susan Terris
by Rebecca Foust

PART ONE: "What's On the Loom"
I interviewed Susan Terris at her San Francisco home, a handsome gray stucco house in a quiet residential area off busy California Street, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge. The house is a dark and cool respite from an unseasonably warm spring. Terris's office, located in the basement, is lined with bookshelves and holds a metal three-drawer filing cabinet and a very large desk facing a wall filled to the ceiling with a bulletin board neatly push-pinned with rows of papers. Two windows admit light, but the only view is of a big Douglas fir in her small yard. Terris says the room is good for concentration but that she, catlike, follows the light in the house and moves from room-to-room to do her work. read more

PART TWO: "I Never Turn Down a Dare"
Rebecca Foust: Your poetry has an "edge." I'd like to know where that came from, and was it always there? read more

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