POETS! every 1st & 3rd Monday
Monday, December 18th – 7-9 pm
San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck
and Jerry Ferraz read recent work
An open mic follows

We’re pleased and proud tonight to present San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck as a featured reader in our ongoing bimonthly poetry series, sharing the podium and spotlight with her colleague and friend, Jerry Ferraz. An open mic, hosted by Jerry, will follow.

This dual feature/open mic format seems particularly fitting, as Kim, named San Francisco’s seventh Poet Laureate this past June, immediately characterized herself “laureate of the open mics.”  At Bird & Beckett, poets have long gathered to express their artfully constructed ideas, preoccupations and visions a few poems at a time to an engaged and receptive audience. It’s human communication and art in a vital form.

Jerry and Kim have a longstanding friendship. They grew up as neighbors in Eureka Valley, though Kim is younger by a decade or more. From the beginning of the long process that led to her appointment to succeed the City’s sixth laureate, Alejandro Murguía, Jerry championed Kim for the role. Both Jerry and Kim speak as natives of the City, and also as individuals with cultural roots that richly color their day-to-day perceptions and thoughts.

Kim identifies as a Tsalagi (Cherokee)/Euro-American poet, author, weaver, and bead work artist, drawing in her work from Southeastern Native American culture and tradition as well as contemporary urban Indian life.  Born in San Francisco, she belongs to the Northern California Cherokee diaspora She is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, proudly acknowledging her Polish, Sauk and Fox heritage as well. Kim is a storyteller and poet, drawing from her life experiences and what she’s learned from her elders, her contemporaries and her children. She holds a B.A. in Art and an M.F.A. in Textiles from San Francisco State University, but her basket weaving work is most deeply influenced by her grandmother Etta Mae Rowe and the long history of California Native American basket making. She taught American Indian Studies for several years at San Francisco State University and served in the summer of 2010 as artist in residence, in tandem with the jeweler, painter and actor Michael Horse, at San Francisco’s de Young Museum.

Jerry, who reflects often on his Burmese roots and the experiences of his forebears, has never strayed geographically very far from his birthplace, though his vision, understanding, poetry and music seem to emanate from centuries-old strains that extend to the troubadours of southern France and the gypsies that flowed out of India across Eurasia and the globe. It would seem he’s learned through observation and by direct transmission from any number of sage individuals over the course of his wanderings through the City and into the countryside north to the Russian River, where his family has some property.

By the same token, each of the poets in the open mic carries his or her own heritage and influences, conclusions and speculations. It’s always a pleasure to hear what makes these poets think and what drives them to find ways to express their ideas, and to hear how they’ve constructed that expression in a deeply felt desire to communicate with us, their attentive listeners.

We highly recommend that you learn more about Kim and Jerry individually, and about dozens of other wonderful poets of the region, by exploring the site SFHeart.  Few have an inkling about the breadth and depth of San Francisco culture revealed there.