Welcome to The Poetry Center

Mission Statement: The Poetry Center presents and documents the work of outstanding contemporary poets and writers, 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 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 poets and writers from across the literary spectrum. Our Reading Series is one of the longest consistently-running such programs in the country, with roots in the 1950s San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. New programs alongside historic recordings from seven decades are being migrated to online access at Poetry Center Digital Archive.

a woman with red lipstick, dark buttoned shirt, and shoulderlength dark hair with lighter highlights; a man in a grey sleeveless t-shirt, in profile speaking into a microphone, short cropped dark hair

Poetry & Grief: Kyle Dacuyan and Mirene Arsanios, at Medicine for Nightmares

and so much lost      you’d think / beauty had left a lesson”: Poetry & Grief

Under a line by Ed Roberson, The Poetry Center co-presents with our friends Medicine for Nightmares this special program featuring two outstanding poets from New York City. Kyle Dacuyan and Mirene Arsanios will each read from their work and engage in conversation with one another and the audience. This is one of multiple Poetry Coalition programs across the country this Spring 2023 around our common theme, supported by a grant from Mellon Foundation to the Academy of American Poets in support of Poetry Coalition programs.

a poet in a bright green yellow blue white V-neck top, long brown hair + sharp red lipstick; a poet in profile, diaphanous silvery top, long brown hair + a body of water ullullating behind

Diana Khoi Nguyen and Lan Duong, reading at the Global Museum

Poets Diana Kho Nguyen and Lan Duong each share their work, and engage in conversation with their audience, on this afternoon program at SF State's Global Museum site in the Fine Arts Building. Co-presented by The Poetry Center, DVAN: Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, and The Global Museum, in conjunction with the exhibition Textures of Remembrance: Vietnamese Artists and Writers Reflect on the Vietnamese Diaspora, gathering work exploring the date of April 30, 1975, marking the Fall/Liberation of Saigon. 

a poet/performer with a leathery text mask before their face, arms akimbo, hands raised to their head, fingers spread, wearing a dark trailing garment

Phoebe Giannisi, introduced by and in conversation with Eleni Stecopoulos

The Poetry Center is honored to present outstanding poet, performer, and scholar Phoebe Giannisi, visiting from her home in Volos, Greece, as the Mazza Writer in Residence for Spring 2023. Giannisi's residency includes guest appearances in various classrooms at SF State, as well as two public events. The first of these will be a solo performance (in Greek and English) followed by a conversation with poet and scholar Eleni Stecopoulos. Please join us on this rare visit to California by one of the most outstanding contemporary Greek poet/performers at work today. 


Poetry Center Digital Archive

Years Presenting Poets & Their Works
Hours of Audio/Video
Archived Recordings
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 up to the present. Now available online:

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


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


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