Each year the City of Berkeley and Berkeley Poetry Festival celebrate the poets who make things happen. We showcase poets in our communities who give not only their words but also their public service, who provide both bread and roses. We also honor a poet with a Lifetime Achievement Award for many, many years of service. This year’s award goes to Rafael Jesús González, poet, community organizer, educator, cultural and political activist, and visual artist. He taught English at Laney College where he founded the Department of Mexican & Latin-American Studies.
The 13th Annual Berkeley Poetry Festival will be held on Saturday May 16, 2015 from 11:00am–5:00pm (the Book Fair starts at 11am and the reading at noon) in the Auditorium and Atrium of Berkeley City College, 2050 Center Street, Berkeley. There will be open mic, book fair with local small press publishers starting at 11 am. Reading starts at noon.
This year’s Festival is hosted by Baruch Porras-Hernandez, poet, storyteller, cultural activist. Former Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Avotcja calls forth the muse in her invocation. We then have a host of readers: Maw Shein Win, Mg Roberts, Gabriel Cortez, Lauren Traetto, Sarah Kobrinsky, Joseph Rios, Youssef Alaoui-Fdili, Joyce E. Young, James Cagney, A. Razor, Al Young & Elmaz Abinader. We also have a special feature of poets from Berkeley City College’s art & literary journal, Milvia Street: Katie Gallagher, Lark Omura, Brad Penner & Paul Elias Taylor.
The Festival also showcases a Book Fair: small press books and other publications by the Festival’s poets, the Milvia Street art and literary journal, and a number of small local presses. During breaks and after the reading, poets will gladly sign their books. All proceeds go directly to the poets and publishers.
The Berkeley Poetry Festival is co-directed by Mk Chavez and Sharon Coleman and co-sponsored by the City of Berkeley, Councilperson Kriss Worthington, and Berkeley City College.