Sunday, May 20, 1:30 to 5:00 at the El Cerrito Community Center, El Cerrito’s first Poet-Laureate, Maw Shein Win, is organizing a gala benefit for Poetry Flash, a delightful gift both to the community she’s been serving and to us, in continuing celebration of Poetry Flash’s 45th Anniversary. The center-piece will be a reading, a four-way Festival of Laureates: Maw Shein Win, herself; Kim Shuck, Poet Laureate of San Francisco; Indigo Moor, Poet Laureate of Sacramento; and Rafael Jesús Gonzáles, first Poet Laureate of Berkeley. In addition to that reading of community stars, there will be an open reading and a silent auction, with bidding for all manner of surprise literary treats, featuring rare broadsides and beautiful artwork, including paintings by Bay Area artists. There will be refreshments and live music by Dan Plonsey, Ethan Port, and Thomas Scandura, in their debut as Moeser, performing music created especially for this event, and an all-ages open mic. Bay Area literary presses, magazines, and organizations will also table, offering a portion of their proceeds to benefit Poetry Flash, including Manic D Press, Nomadic Press, Work and Conversations, Left Margin Lit, Bay Area Generations, and others; the event features free admission, but the silent auction benefits Poetry Flash. So please spread the word and come join us in the fun, to support the Flash and to celebrate poetry, the soul nourishment, the commons, of our lives together. read more


Photo by Mark Savage.

Restless Spirits:
An Interview with Cecilia Woloch
by Amy Pence

It’s tough to keep track of the poet Cecilia Woloch. In the spring, you’ll find her teaching in a small college in Georgia. By May, she’s in a Paris café, surrounded by aspiring poets enrolled in her workshop. July finds her in that small cabin in the Carpathians, tracking down the mystery of her Roma grandmother. The title of her first novel Sur la Route…perfectly captures Woloch’s on-the-road lifestyle where travel and poetry interweave. read more


John Oliver Simon (1942-2018)

John Oliver Simon died early on January 16, 2018 at the home of his fiancée Susie Kepner. Poet and an important translator of Spanish poetry, John was a contributing editor to Poetry Flash who for decades wrote deeply informed essays on the politics and poetry of Mexico and South America. read more

Photo by Gerald Nicosia.

Jack Mueller, Judith, and baby Cristina in the basement of City Lights, after a reading in January 1982. Jack deliberately posed the family in front of that painted sign, "Born in Sin and Shapen in Iniquity." They said it came from the time when City Lights' basement had housed a church. For Jack, I think, it was a kind of inside joke, sort of carrying on our old Vesuvio's argument over "Don't give me God, don't give me grammar!"

Jack Mueller: Still Solid in the Mystery
Amor Fati: New and Selected Poems
reviewed by Gerald Nicosia

…there are other poets who decide early on that they want to spend their lives making better poetry every day, and that the chase of fame will only get in their way, so they put it completely out of mind and instead work on figuring out ways to stay alive while they're making their poetry. Jack Mueller was the latter kind of poet; and in that regard, he was the most remarkable non-famous poet I've ever known. read more


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

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