What is a poet laureate anyway?
This elevation of a notable poet began in the British Royal court during the 1600’s. The duty of one appointed to this position was to compose official poetry for the king’s or queen’s birthday as well as for great public occasions such as victories in war, coronations, and births and weddings in the royal family.
Founded in 1967 by Pat and Joan Hayes, Recycle Bookstore has become a San Jose institution, where visitors can wander through cases of books, from literary classics to special interest texts, in the company of the shop’s well-loved felines. The distinctive character of each cat, detailed on the bookstore website, matches the character of the shop’s offerings—many of the books are rich with the history of previous readers. In 1998, Eric and Cynthia Johnson bought the store, and in 2004, they opened a second location in Campbell.
Born and raised in Gilroy, Ahmadkhani decided to go to college at Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo because of its location. Soon after arriving, she found a group of like-minded creatives in the tightly knit English Department, a refuge in a sense from the polytechnic focus of the university. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in English literature.
A local novelist on the finer points of complete disappearance. A good story is like an addiction. It separates you from yourself, steeps you in a world different from the one buoyed by your immediate surroundings. But, according to McGee, only one brings you back whole.
Hip-hop roots have always been in poetry. The earliest emcees knew that the human voice is the most powerful tool at our disposal, one that not only stirs a crowd but changes hearts and minds at the same time. McTate Stroman II lives and breathes by that tradition. Calling himself “the original breakbeat poet,” Stroman uses his gift of poetry to inspire others to find that tool within themselves and change the world around them. “I’m a poet who documents hip-hop,” Stroman says. “That’s how I understand myself.”
In 1963, by then a young professor of English literature, Nils arrived here to teach at San Jose State. He and new wife Judith had driven straight from New Jersey, all they owned packed in their car, a baby on the way. Today, as award-winning poet, beloved teacher, San Jose State University professor emeritus, and cofounder and guiding force behind the Poetry Center San Jose since 1980, Nils is an artist of profound presence.
“I am not my hair, but I am proud to say my hair is me,” declares San Jose poet Asha Sudra in the closing line of a defiant, spoken-word poem exploring oppression, the self-hate that comes from it, and the self-love that follows escape from those bounds. That poem, “Baby Hairs,” is a deep reflection on Asha’s own struggles with, and eventual embracing, identity.