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Mike Puican & Michael Warr / Lunch Poems: San Francisco and Chicago

Booksmith / Virtual Events

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Booksmith and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library present poets Mike Puican and Michael Warr reading from their poetry to celebrate the publication of Puican's new collection, Central Air. Join us!

This is a free event, but RSVP is required.

Mike Puican and Michael Warr will share poems centered on cities they’ve called home. The poets met in Chicago, a place that served as a living incubator for their writing over a period of 20 years. Puican has a new book of poems, Central Air, that focuses on the spiritual as well as the corporal intensities of Chicago. Warr grew up in San Francisco and spent his twenties in Chicago and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

These gifted artists will present poems of place that contrast and compare life in these two great cities.

About Central Air

Set in the urban Chicago landscape, Central Air explores the human challenge of living with strong desires, limited knowledge, and no saving direction. The voices in this mix of elegies and soft litanies negotiate lives within the strangeness and unpredictability of each moment. In every case, language is a swift prayer, ode, and lyric. Chicago is an intensely experienced, blue-collar homeplace where injustice is a given. The poems are stern, compressed, and unsentimental. But they are also empathic to human shortcomings and doubts, scored in unobtrusive consistency in both voice and language.

Puican’s focus on the city, its people and underbellied spaces, pays homage in the tradition of the great Chicago masters: Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Campbell McGrath. This contemporary Chicago son finds his own place with lyrical integrity.

Mike Puican has published poems in PoetryBloomsbury ReviewCrab Orchard Review, and New England Review, among others. His work has also been featured on WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR affiliate. Puican was a member of the 1996 Chicago Slam Team and holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Warren Wilson College. As a longtime board member of the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago, he has been deeply involved in supporting and promoting other Chicago writers. He also leads poetry workshops at St. Leonard’s House for formerly incarcerated men and at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.

Michael Warr's books include Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmet Till to Trayvon Martin, (W.W. Norton), and from Tia Chucha Press The Armageddon of Funk, and We Are All The Black Boy. He is the recipient of the 2020 Berkeley Lifetime Achievement Award and is a San Francisco Library Laureate. Other honors include a Creative Work Fund Award, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award, Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Michael is the former Deputy Director of the Museum of the African Diaspora and is a board member of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. Follow his creative work at https://michaelwarr-creativework.tumblr.com/. For copies of Michael Warr's books, order here.

This event is free and open to all ages, but RSVP is required.

To have Central Air sent to your door, order here. We're offering free shipping throughout San Francisco and the East Bay.

For copies of Michael Warr's books, order here.