Welcome to The Poetry Center



New! Announcing Poetry Coalition Fellowship Program: The Poetry Center, San Francisco State University, a founding member of the Poetry Coalition, is accepting applications for a paid Poetry Coalition Fellowship position, from September 9, 2024 to June 30, 2025. Applications accepted through July 3, 2024. Details here.

Mission Statement: The Poetry Center presents and documents the work of outstanding contemporary poets and related artists, creating and preserving original new and historic audio and video recordings, while assuring public awareness of and access to live performances and archival resources. 

The Poetry Center organizes public readings, performances, and poetry-related talks each year, on the San Francisco State University campus and at other Bay Area venues, featuring poets and writers from across the literary spectrum. The Poetry Center Reading Series is one of the longest consistently-running such programs in the country, with roots in the 1950s San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. Newly-documented program videos alongside historic recordings from seven decades are migrated to online access at Poetry Center Digital Archive.


two poets, one buttoned up in pale blue, direct glance, combed back hair; one in b&w stripes, rounded collar, dark pulled back locks

Lynn Xu and Jacob Kahn: Poetry Centry Book Award Reading

The Poetry Center presents poets Lynn Xu and Jacob Kahn, each reading their work then joining in conversation with one another and their audience. Xu's book, And Those Ashen Heaps That Cantilevered Vase of Moonlight (Wave Books, 2022), is selected by Kahn to receive The Poetry Center Book Award, given each year since 1980 to an outstanding book of poems. Join us for this online-only event. Register here.

three poets: one with broad headband and light summer dress; one in red sweater and black skirt; one with cropped bangs, blue accents + a star pendant necklace

New Voice Series: featuring Jennifer S. Cheng, with Karla Myn Khine and Evelyn Jo, plus music by Neblinas del Pacífico

The Poetry Center presents the fourth iteration of its New Voice Series, featuring poet Jennifer S. Cheng, with Karla Myn Khine, and Evelyn Jo. The New Voice Series brings together a poet alum of SF State's Creative Writing MFA program, a current graduate student in that program, and an undergrad poet (any major) selected from across the SF State campus. Poetry Center student staff select the undergraduate poet, based on an open call for work, and introduce the writers. Following the poets, we'll turn it into a party, with music by Neblinas del Pacífico —whose members include current MFA candidate in Creative Writing May-Li Khoe and Federico Ardila, Professor of Mathematics at SF State. Join us!

a band of musicians with their instruments at the shore of a grand mountain lake in the global south

Neblinas del Pacífico joins poets Jennifer S. Cheng, Karla Myn Khine, and Evelyn Jo for New Voice Series event

The Poetry Center presents Neblinas del Pacífico, whose members include current MFA candidate in Creative Writing May-Li Khoe and Federico Ardila, Professor of Mathematics at SF State, who'll be sharing the program with featured poet Jennifer S. Cheng, and poets Karla Myn Khine (current MFA candidate) and Evelyn Jo (graduating senior), for the fourth iteration of our New Voice Series. We hope to turn the evening into a little party in celebration. Please join us — for poetry, music, maybe some dancing! 



Poetry Center Digital Archive

boxed open reel audio tapes on shelves in the Poetry Center archive

Poetry Center Digital Archive

The Poetry Center houses the American Poetry Archives, a historic collection of some 5,000 hours of original audio and video recordings documenting The Poetry Center Reading Series from 1954 to the present. Now available online:

  • Poetry Center Archive Goes Live! Historic Videos Newly Available: 1973–1984
  • Historic Original Audio Recordings: 1950s and 1960s
  • New Full-Program Video Programs produced by DocFilm Institute: 2015–present 
  • New Program Video Highlight Clips produced by DocFilm Institute: 2015–present 
  • Recent Livestream Video produced by DocFilm Institute: 2020–present
  • Poetry Center Archive Goes Live! Historic Video Clips: 1973–1984
  • More Video Highlight Clips from the Archive: 2009–2014

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The Poetry Center offers several awards each year to recognize distinguished poets.


In addition to our Reading Series and recorded Archives, we host a 7,000 volume poetry collection in our Reading Room, Humanities 512.


The Poetry Center couldn't do what we do without your financial support. Please join us!