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A Season in S.F. 

Wednesday, Aug 8 2007
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San Francisco used to be a place that people moved to for the poetry. How funny is that? Nowadays we like our literary arts to the point, grammatical, and, if you can do it without pissing us off, ironic. We cast a suspicious eye toward free verse, like it's a poorly punctuated con game ruled by the same shadowy judges that oversee avant-garde dance, noise bands, and high-level physics. And that's a pity. Poetry, guided by the right hand (especially one that belongs to S.F. Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman), can still be inspiring and illuminating. Perhaps it's not as essential as it was in the days when big-haired poets had entourages, but then again, maybe it doesn't have to be. As people love to say, Rimbaud would've been punk if he grew up today. He also would've been in Jackass, by the way.

Hirschman has been doing his part for poetry's cause. Every month since August of last year, his project Poets Eleven (which tips his hat to the city's 11 districts and not Danny Ocean) has run poetry contests in branch libraries, those little satellites that orbit our literary mothership. Today marks the Poets Eleven finale, in which 30 of the finest readers of the past year celebrate with Hirschman and other notables.

About The Author

Michael Leaverton

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