Welcome to The Poetry Center

The Poetry Center organizes and presents some 30 public readings, performances and poetry-related talks each year, on the San Francisco State University campus and at other Bay Area venues, featuring outstanding poets and writers from across the literary spectrum. The Poetry Center Reading Series, founded in 1954, is one of the longest-running such programs in the country, with roots in the 1950s San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. Original audio and video recordings are being migrated to online access at Poetry Center Digital Archive.

Indigenous elder man speaking from his home on Pine Ridge Reservation

David Swallow Jr., Lakota Sun Dance Chief, Friday FEB 4

Join us online for a talk by and conversation with David Swallow Jr., Lakota medicine man and AIM activist, who was born and will be joining us from his home on Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; with moderator Hafez Modirzadeh; co-presented by American Indian Studies, SF State. REGISTER TO ATTEND

calligraphic painting with Persian text over bright orange field

Essential Voices: Poetry of Iran and Its Diaspora, Saturday FEB 12

Join us online for a remote-access reading with California poets/translators Armen Davoudian, Farnaz Fatemi, Gary Gach, Zara Houshmand, Persis Karim, Mojdeh Marashi, and Sholeh Wolpé; co-presented with the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies and Diaspora Arts Connection. REGISTER TO ATTEND

three men look directly ahead in front of a colorful painting

Prose at The Poetry Center: Matthew Clark Davison, Stacy Flood, Patrick Earl Ryan, Thursday FEB 24

Join us at The Poetry Center (or via live-stream) for this in-person reading and conversation with three friends and SF State alums; Davison, Flood, and Ryan will each be presenting their newly published fiction, and talking with each other and the audience. 


Poetry Center Digital Archive

Continuous Seasons
Hours of footage
1954 - Present
Archived Material
spines of boxes with vintage 1950s audio tape from Poetry Center archive

Poetry Center Digital Archive

The Poetry Center houses the American Poetry Archives, a historic collection of over 5,000 hours of original audio and video recordings documenting The Poetry Center Reading Series up to the present.

  • Historic Audio Recordings: 1954–1969 
  • Full Video Programs: 2014–present 
  • Video Highlight Clips: 2015–present 

Join our Events and Follow Us

Statue on campus of two people almost touching hands


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

Over a man's shoulder looking at a computer screen of a zoom conference


We offer many resources in addition to our own Poetry Digital Archive.

San Francisco State University sign


The Poetry Center couldn't do it without the support of so many individuals.