Welcome to The Poetry Center



Seeking Applicants for 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.


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! 


two poets standing in front of a wall of books trying to smile

Elise Ficarra and Steve Dickison, readings and The Cake Part

Friends of The Poetry Center are putting on what they're calling "readings by the organizers of hundreds of readings," Elise Ficarra and Steve Dickison. The afternoon event features The Cake Part (as Stacy Doris calls it), and is being held "in honor of The Poetry Center as we have known it for decades." Join us at Et al., bookstore and gallery, 2831a Mission Street, on Saturday afternoon June 1, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. This like all Poetry Center-related programs is free and open to the public.

three poets, looking like they are about to lay words on us

¡INTER-RANCHO-NAL! Flor y Canto reading with three Mexican poets: Minerva Reynosa, Indira Isel Torres Crux, Aziz Córdova

A rare midsummer event for The Poetry Center, joining forces with San Francisco International Flor y Canto Literary Festival and our friends at Medicine for Nightmares, to co-present three poets flying in from Mexico to take part in the annual festival. Minerva Reynosa, Indira Isel Torres Crux, and Aziz Córdova will be featured guests on Saturday evening, with Josiah Luis Alderete as host and emcee. Further festival events by the poets at the link below. Supported by Paseo Artístico and the Poetry Coalition.


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

Join our Events and Follow Us


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!