Support The Poetry Center

Poetry Center programs for 2023–24 are kindly supported by the Sam Mazza Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Coalition (supported by the Mellon Foundation), John F. Norton Trust, Dorothy A. Fowler Trust, San Francisco State University College of Liberal & Creative Arts, Anonymous Donors, and Friends of the Poetry Center.
Please join us!

From the Director


December 2023

Dear Friend

Greetings, I’m writing near the close of what yet again is a trying year at so many levels.

I’m asking for your support for The Poetry Center, as we mark our 70th year advocating for poets and their work. What started in 1954 as The Poetry Center at San Francisco State quite remarkably continues into an eighth decade of organizing, presenting, and documenting poets’ and related artists’ performances and presentations. We’ve just concluded the last of a dozen events this Fall and are putting together a comparable set of programs for Spring 2024.

And we have news: Elise Ficarra and I will both be retiring next summer, 2024, and our vacated positions, we have been notified, will not generate openings to hire new people as Poetry Center Director or Associate Director. The Poetry Center will continue, with its programming on a more modest scale to be organized by faculty in the Creative Writing department at SF State — as it was 70 years ago. The specifics of that successor arrangement and restructuring are in early stages of planning. We want to note that this withdrawal of direct support by the university does not come as a surprise, as this has become current practice regarding all centers and institutes at SF State. The Poetry Center, deeply grounded in the Bay Area poetry community, is also an entity subject to the general retreat from State support for public education and the administration of higher education following business management templates.

What we anticipate after our departure is a focused schedule of public programs from The Poetry Center, with a smaller series of events in Fall and Spring being organized by poet faculty working in collaboration with SF State graduate students to present and document these programs. As the new arrangement feels workable within this shifted structure, we trust that unforeseen ways of working with continuing community support and grants from outside funders will allow The Poetry Center to find its way on new footing.

Over the coming months, we’re putting emphasis on adding historic recordings to our dedicated online platform (Poetry Center Digital Archive) and plans to secure the many remaining tapes in the historic collection. We’ll present a striking 70th anniversary series of programs for Spring 2024. And we’ll be working on the transition toward Fall 2024.

Can you please join us by helping The Poetry Center stay viable and keep its strong connections with the greater community of poets and those who care about poetry?

Many thanks.

Gratefully yours, 
Steve Dickison
Director, The Poetry Center, San Francisco State University

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1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

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