Home caesura
About Us Links
Contact Us Markham House






festival passes:
(discounted from $45 if
you attend all events)

$30 general
$25 PCSJ members
$10 students with ID

$45 general
$40 PCSJ members
$20 students with ID

festival venues:
in downtown San José
Cafe Frascati
Caravan Lounge
King Library
Works/San José

previous festivals

Yessika Salgado reading in the SJ Poetry Slam at San José Poetry Festival 2018

Poetry Center San José presents
the 2019 San José Poetry Festival

The fifth annual San José Poetry Festival will celebrate our community's diverse ethnic and cultural heritage with a wide range of topics and literary styles reflected in performances and workshops.

readings, performances, and workshops:
September 5 through 10, 2019

in SoFA and downtown San José

schedule (all events included in festival pass!):

Thurs. Sept. 5, 7pm, Caffe Frascatti
315 South 1st Street, San José

Thursday night September 5th at Caffe Frascati features a new performance from Filipino poet Jason Bayani. He is a Kundiman fellow and veteran of the National Poetry Slam scene whose work has been published in Fourteen Hills, Muzzle Magazine, Mascara Review, the National Poetry Slam anthology, Rattapallax, Write Bloody’s classroom anthology Learn Then Burn, and other publications.
A FREE event!


Fri. Sept. 6, 8pm, Forager
420 South 1st Street, San José

The keynote address will be delivered Friday night September 6th at Forager by award winning poet and Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Mighty Mike McGee. His performance will be followed by readings and performances from Matt Mason (Nebraska State Poet Laureate and author of The Baby That Ate Cincinnati), Jarvis Subia (San José’s 2018 Poetry Grand Slam Champion and 2019 SVCreates Emerging Artist Laureate), and Janice Lobo Sapigao who is a VONA/Voices Fellow, associate editor of TAYO Literary Magazine and was awarded a Manuel G. Flores Prize, PAWA Scholarship to the Kundiman Poetry Retreat and was named one of the San Francisco Bay Area's 2017 Women to Watch by KQED Arts.
A FREE event!


Sat. Sept. 7, 6pm, MACLA
510 South 1st Street, San José

Saturday the 7th, 6:00pm at MACLA / Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (510 S. 1st St.) the festival features youth poets Emma Rheams, Rohnny Vallarta, and Anouk Yeh from MACLA's program DMC Studio followed at 7:00pm by performances from Riley O’Connell (editor-in-chief of The Santa Clara Review) and Christina Madueño (dancer and poet). The evening performance starting at 8:15pm features Brendan Constantine from Los Angeles and Joy Elan from Oakland and Berkeley. Brendan Constantine's work can be found in many of the nation’s standards including Best American Poetry, Poem-a-Day, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Field, and Chautauqua. His most recent collections are Bouncy Bounce (2018 Blue Horse Press) and Dementia, My Darling (2016 Red Hen Press). Joy Elan won third place in Oakland's 2014 Got Talent for her spoken word piece, "I'm A Survivor." She won twice at the National Poetry Awards for Poetry Video of the Year (2015) and Poet of the Year (2016). In the 30th Annual The New York Book Show, she won second place for Children's Nonfiction Book Cover for Silence Is Not Always Golden: The Power of Spoken Words (2016).
$15 at the door.


Sun. Sept. 8, Caravan Lounge, Forager, and Works/San José

11am-3pm: The Small Press Fair will continue throughout the day at Forager with featured talent representing participating presses.
A FREE event!
Forager, 420 South 1st Street, San José

4:30pm: Readings by poets from the VeteransWrite program take place at Works/San José.
$10 at the door.
Works/San José, 365 South Market Street, San José

7:00pm: The San José Poetry Slam takes place at Caravan Lounge featuring Berkeley CA author and spoken word artist Bri Blue, named Best Female Spoken Word Artist in the 2014 and 2015 Bay Area Black Music Awards, and named the Most Inspiring Writer in the Bay Area in the 2014 H.O.P.E. Awards. Sign-ups to participate in the slam start at 6pm and end at 6:55pm.
Donations welcome!

Caravan Lounge, 98 Almaden Ave, San José


Mon. Sept. 9, 7pm, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library
150 East San Fernando Street, San José

Monday September 9th at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, the festival features Gary Singh (poet, painter, photographer, and award-winning travel journalist who, for 13 straight years, penned a weekly newspaper column for Metro providing offbeat glimpses into the frontiers of the human condition in Silicon Valley). He is followed by Connie Post (Poet Laureate Emerita of Livermore and winner of the 2014 Lyrebird Award from Glass Lyre Press for her book Floodwater). Also featured is the performance duo of Mark Heinlein and Myles Forman who performed at Rio Theatre as part of TEDx Santa Cruz in 2015 and performed at the 2017 Cinequest Film Festival.
$10 at the door.


Tues. Sept. 10, 7pm, Works/San José
365 South Market Street, San José

Tuesday September 10th at Works/San José, the festival concludes with a performance from Tongo Eisen-Martin and Chris Peck the Town Crier as LOAN. Eisen-Martin is the author of someone's dead already (Bootstrap Press, 2015), nominated for a California Book Award. His book most recent book Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017) received a 2018 American Book Award, a 2018 California Book Award, and was named a 2018 National California Booksellers Association Poetry Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize. Peck has been recording and performing "hist-hop" and "song-rap" since his first cassette in 1994. His music has been featured on MTV UK, Current TV, the Wall Street Journal.com, and in his own purple videos. Projects include Ancient Baby, a homemade album to be released on vinyl and I Wish the King, his first novel.
$10 at the door.


poetry workshops (register individually above!):

Lorenz Mazon Dumuk: Embracing the Ugly
Saturday, September 7, 10am-2pm, Markham House

The festival will feature a creative writing workshop led by Lorenz Mazon Dumuk, theme "Embracing the Ugly." Writers will briefly read an excerpt from Mia Mingus,' "Moving Toward the Ugly." As a collective, we will explore what is considered "ugly" especially among own individual selves. We will discuss the importance of shifting the stigma of ugly into a place of magnificent instead of shame. Writing exercises will help guide one in discovering what power resides in one's "ugly."

Tim J. Myers: Aspiring to the Condition of Music: A Song Lyric Workshop
Saturday, September 7, 2:30pm-5:30pm, MACLA

A second workshop on the 7th is led by Tim J. Myers writer, songwriter, storyteller, and university senior lecturer in English. The theme for this workshop is "Aspiring to the Condition of Music: A Song Lyric Workshop."

Brendan Constantine: Generative Poetry
Sunday, Sunday 8th, 12pm-3pm, Works/San José

Brendan Constantine leads a poetry workshop at Works/San José (365 S Market St.). It will be a 'generative' workshop where we'll write (and write) and discuss dreams, Writer's Block, and how to end a poem. No experience necessary. Just bring a pen and pad. Laptops welcome.


San José Poetry Festival 2019 is presented by Poetry Center San José and is sponsored in part by: Festival and Cultural Affairs grants from the City of San José; a grant from SVCREATES, in partnership with the County of Santa Clara and the California Arts Council; funding from Poets & Writers; and with support from Anne & Mark's Art Party, Books Inc., Caffe Frascati, Caravan Lounge, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Forager, History/San José, Hotel De Anza, J. Lohr Winery, MACLA, Metro, Recycle Bookstore, and Works/San José.