Laureate Update for March and April 2015 (though more April events are sure to come…)


Special thanks as always to Poetry Center San Jose for helping to promote these and other poetry events throughout the city of San Jose! Visit them at



Media Poetry Studio

I have teamed up with fellow poets laureate Erica Goss and Jennifer Swanton Brown to offer a summer day camp that teaches young women how to make short films based on their poetry. To do this we are in need of some equipment. Please consider donating to our Indiegogo campaign. If you’d like more info watch our video or check out our website.

content magazine

Content Magazine

I am now working with Content Magazine to curate a literary arts section, which has become part of every issue! So far the magazine has run stories on Mark Heinlein and myself. The current issue features author Cathleen Miller. Learn more, and pick up your own issue at


Calendar now in “Laureate Schedule”

The “Laureate Schedule” of my blog now contains a google calendar. This should make it easier to see at a glance my upcoming events. Just click on an event in the calendar for more information. Check it out here!






Silicon Valley Reads Poet Laureate Reading

When: Thu, March 12, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Where: Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Ave, San Jose, CA 95116 

This reading features current and former laureates from all over the county including Parthenia Hicks, Erica Goss, David Denny, Jennifer Swanton Brown, Nils Peterson, Sally Ashton and myself. Learn more about SV Reads at


Willow Glen Reading

When: Thu, March 19, 7pm – 9pm

Where: Willow Glen Branch Library, Community Room, 1157 Minnesota Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125 

I will be the featured reader at the Willow Glenn Poetry Project, a very well attended reading by some of the south bay’s most dedicated poets. My reading will last about 40 minutes. There will also be an open mic. Make sure to arrive early if you want to sign up. It fills up fast! For more information on the Willow Glenn Poetry Project visit


Milpitas Poetry Slam

When: Wed, April 1, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Where: Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street, Milpitas, CA 95035, United States 

I’ll be hosting the Milpitas poetry slam on this date. The Milpitas library hosts one of the most active communities in terms of youth poetry in Santa Clara County. The slam reflects this. There are always a lot of youth voices, but older generations usually join in as well. It’s a fun and relaxed atmosphere. One of my favorite recurring events.


Center for Literary Arts Reading

When: Tue, April 7, 7pm – 8pm

Where: Center for Literary Arts, One Washington Square San José, CA 95192-0223 

I’ll be doing a solo reading at the CLA on this date. Working on some new poems to debut! Book signing to follow the event. In conjunction with this event, I will also offer a reading for the student body at Mt. Pleasant High School at 3pm on April 14. For more information, visit


Cupertino Teen Workshop

When: Thu, April 9, 7pm – 9pm

Where: Cupertino Library, 10800 Torre Avenue, Cupertino, CA 95014, United States 

I’m joining Cupertino poet laureate, Jennifer Swanton Brown, to co-teach a teen poetry workshop. The workshop is free of charge. If you know a young person who is interested in writing poetry, please encourage him or her to attend! Attendees must pre-register by contacting Teen Services Librarian, Matt Lorenzo at 408-446-1677 x3344 or sending an email via my contact page.


Poetry Booth at Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival

When: Sat, April 25, 12pm – 5pm

Where: Cupertino Memorial Park, 10185 North Stelling Road, Cupertino, CA 95014, United States 

I’ll be joining Cupertino Poet Laureate, Jennifer Swanton Brown, again to offer custom poetry written off the cuff on my vintage Royal typewriter. The booth is part of the Cherry Blossom festival, a celebration of Japanese culture, with traditional exhibitions, entertainment and food. For more info, visit


Milpitas Poetry Workshop (All Ages)

When: Wed, April 29, 7pm – 9pm

Where: Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street, Milpitas, CA 95035, United States 

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of work with youth, but this workshop is open to all ages! It is also free of charge. If you like, please bring a poem you’ve written, and I will make time to have the group offer feedback. If you have any questions send an email via my contact page.


Poetry Out Loud & Youth Poetry Outreach

One of my main goals as laureate is to offer poetry instruction to as many young poets as possible throughout the county.

To this end I worked with Poetry Out Loud, an organization that puts on a national level poetry recitation contest, throughout the month of January to offer one-on-one coaching to a number of contestants from within Santa Clara County.

Learn more about poetry out loud at

I have also continued work through my ongoing partnership with FutureArtsNow, a non-profit organization connecting youth and teaching artists. From January to February of 2015, I conducted a series of 6 workshops at Clyde L. Fisher Middle School for over 50 students.

Learn more about Future Arts Now at

I am also offering a series of 10 workshops in a small group setting at KIPP Heartwood Middle School from February to April 2015. My hope is that I can bring some of the talent I find together for a youth poetry reading during the summer of 2015. Stay tuned for updates in a later post.


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Poetry at San Jose’s Mayoral Inauguration

InagurationReading InagurationReading2

Last night I read this poem at Mayor Sam Liccardo’s Inauguration and in so doing shared the stage with Aztec dancers, Spanish guitarists, Christian ministers, Buddhist monks and wonderful host Tamara Alvarado. Thanks to Mayor Liccardo and to all who were present. Here’s the poem! And stay tuned later this month for more laureate news and upcoming events!


I hear shouts issued from mothers, their chords tired and tuned, bidding
daughters and sons: Stop at the crossing and wait for the light

Cutting through St. James park
the voices of women in threadbare Starter parkas
recline on liberated Safeway Market carts
Greeting me with Pall Mall smiles
their cupped hands rise as if presenting
some delicate artifact for my inspection

Where north meets south First, I hear people whisper into palm-sized boxes
of pure obsidian, and the boxes whisper back. I hear it’s the future

I hear grunting men at the pull-up bars
tattooed pistons framed in Greek columns
the curve of every deltoid or trapezius
milled in the same jungle

It’s fight night, and they ask, “Yo, who you got?”
In San Jose, the answer to any sports question
is a simple multiple choice affair
Sharks, Earthquakes, Giants, Niners, or Cain Velasquez

I hear Ukuleles, jackhammers, and warnings from hard hats and blinding vests
directing traffic in a hand language everyone assumes I understand

The light rail squeals
clinging to a semblance of attitude control
And condos puff their chests and yawn
And hip hop sings from the chrome of youth
careless of the cruising ordinance

And a father’s ringtone drops like hail

He ignores it
kneels low
parts a girl’s hair from her eyes
He points to a Coiled Serpent
to a Rube Goldberg machine
to a Figure Holding the Sun
and speaks to her in a language I will never understand
but I know what he’s getting at

These voices swell with a power only a snake oil salesman would try to name
and with them my own trembling reed tells you what you already know

The town hall can be a palace
The east side sidewalk, the Elysian Fields
The theater, a cathedral
Any time you want


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Laureate Events – October and November – 2014

Below are some Santa Clara County Poet Laureate events for late October and November. As always, if you’d like more info as events unfold, please follow me on twitter: @PoetLaureateSCC or like the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Facebook page: Special thanks to Poetry Center San Jose for co-sponsoring these events. Please visit their site to check out their current projects:


Friday, Oct. 24 – The Commons

St. James Park (1st and St. James, downtown San Jose)
Free admission (donations welcome!)
Thanks to PCSJ for co-sponsoring this event:

The Commons brings contemporary music with classical instrumentation to the masses. I will emcee the event, which features incredible musical talent from all over the South Bay Area. Featured musicians include Cello Joe the beatboxing cellist, dancer/choreographer Jenny Stulberg, violinist Alan Chen, Dreams of June, and violinist Anthony Blea. Join The Commons’ email list for info on future shows:




Sunday, Nov. 2 – Reading at Ravenswood Poetry Series
2657 Arroyo Road, Livermore, CA
$5 at the door
Thanks to PCSJ for co-sponsoring this event:

I will be reading alongside my friend and colleague Erica Goss at this event, hosted by Poet Laureate Emerita of Livermore, Connie Post. It’s quite a privilege to be featured at Ravenswood; it’s also a chance for me to try out a few new (newish) pieces. Learn more about Connie and her husband, current Poet Laureate of Livermore, Kevin Gunn visit their sites: and



Chaos Never Dies 

Thursday, Nov. 13 – Reading and Open Mic for Chaos Never Dies Day
Euphrat Gallery at DeAnza College
21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA

Free admission
Thanks to PCSJ for co-sponsoring this event:

Yes “Chaos Never Dies” is a real holiday, and there is no holiday whose celebration calls more for a poetry reading. I’m happy to share the stage with Kim Johnson, winner of this year’s Cupertino Library Foundation Poetry Contest. Bring a poem of your own to share at the open mic! Special thanks to Cupertino’s Poet Laureate, Jennifer Swanton Brown, for organizing this event.




Sunday, Nov. 16 – Reading at The Poetry Kitchen
Los Gatos Library (upstairs)
100 Villa Ave., Los Gatos, CA
Free Admission
Thanks to PCSJ for co-sponsoring this event:

Erica Goss, Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, organizes this recurring event, and I’m happy to be her featured reader. Bring poems and an appetite as Erica is including an open mic and snacks!



Cupertino Library

Thursday, Nov. 20 – Cupertino Youth Poetry Workshop
Cupertino Library
10800 Torre Ave., Cupertino, CA
Free of charge
Thanks to PCSJ for co-sponsoring this event:

This workshop welcomes all teenagers whether or not they have experience writing poetry. While the course includes bit of lecture where we read and analyze a few poems of my choosing, I welcome participants to bring in a poem of their own to work on or a poem written by someone else they’d like to share and discuss. To sign up please contact Supervising Librarian, Roslyn Donald: / (408) 446-1677, x3311


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Poetry Events this September and October

Hello everyone,

I was a little quiet online at the end of the summer as I was busy planning for some exciting fall poetry events. The information on these events is below. There is more to come before the fall is over, but for now take a look at the current lineup! If you’d like more info as events unfold, please follow me on twitter: @PoetLaureateSCC or like the SCC Poet Laureate Facebook page:

Friday, Sept. 5
Street Market Arts Festival
South First Street between San Carlos and Reed, downtown San Jose
Free admission

I will be hosting main stage at the First Friday Street Market festival. In addition, I’ll be running my booth “The Poetry Site” where poets compose custom verse for festival goers!

Friday, Sept. 19
Poetry Booth at The Commons
St. James Park (1st and St. James, downtown San Jose)
Free admission
Visit The Commons Facebook event page!

The Commons brings contemporary music with classical instrumentation to the masses. I will emcee the event, which features incredible musical talent from all over the South Bay Area. My poetry booth will also be present at this event. Featured musicians include the Awesöme Orchestra CollectiveRachel LarsenDirty CelloNarratorsClassical Revolution, violinist Ishtar Hernandez and pianist Naomi Stine. Special thanks to Poetry Center San Jose for Co-sponsoring this event. Learn more about PCSJ at


Saturday, Sept. 20
Poetry at Ann & Mark’s Art Party
7pm to midnight
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds (344 Tully Rd., San Jose, CA 95111)
$39 General Admission

Ann and Mark’s Art Party will include a poetry lounge where I plan on sharing the stage with a number of poets. In addition, the poetry booth will make yet another appearance. I was drawn to this event ever since I heard its description as an “occasional and irrational San Jose arts fest.” According to their website, it’s been described as “Mad Max meets Moulin Rouge” and “Burning Man meets Venice Biennale.” Some say, it’s better than… anything they’ve ever experienced. Special thanks to Poetry Center San Jose for Co-sponsoring this event. Learn more about PCSJ at

Thursday, Oct. 2 to Feb. 22
San Jose Museum of Art Exhibit “Momentum” 

110 South Market Street, 
San Jose, CA 95113
$8 adult admission. Free for members.

The San Jose Museum of Art has invited nine artists, myself included, to create artwork that responds to pieces in its permanent collection. My contribution is a a series of “moving poems.” In these pieces, words move on a number of screens, each showing the evolution of a poem. The work is a response to the video installation “Home Movies 300-3” by Jim Campbell. Click here to see a sample of Campbell’s work. Special thanks to Poetry Center San Jose for Co-sponsoring this event. Learn more about PCSJ at

Tuesday, Oct. 14 – 
Well-RED Reading Series
Works Gallery (365 South Market St., San Jose, CA)
$2 suggested donation, no one turned away

I’m proud to be one of the featured readers at Well-RED, sponsored by Poetry Center San Jose. I’m also proud to be sharing the stage with my partner, and wonderful poet, Jennifer Gigantino. The last time we performed together was about five years ago. A lot has changed with my work since then. As for her latest work. . . she doesn’t show it to me, so it’ll be as surprising for me as it is for you.


Youth Poetry Workshops at Carolyn Clarke Elementary School

I have partnered with FutureArtsNow! — a youth arts education organization — to provide a series of poetry workshops in South Bay Area elementary and middle schools. This October, I will visit Carolyn Clarke Elementary, where I will introduce over 60 fifth-graders to the process of poetry composition. By the end, they’ll all have written a few poems of their own. I hope to share some of their work with the public at some point. More information on this in a future blog post.

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Summer Poetry Events



Poets are converging on the SubZERO Arts Festival to compose custom poems on vintage typewriters for two days straight. On Friday, June 6 and Saturday, June 7 from 6pm to midnight, I am running a booth called “The Poetry Site.” Consider it a composition studio where poets generate original verse tailored to its recipients. We’ll be in the thick of SubZERO–an annual event that closes off South First Street and fills it with art of every imaginable stripe. It is, leaving all hyperbole at the door, the most large-scale and high-energy arts event in San Jose. You really must see for yourself.

Follow the twitter for booth updates: @PoetLaureateSCC

Visit the SubZERO site for more festival info:




From June 30 to July 11, I am facilitating a poetry composition course for teens. The course will be held through the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. If you know of a young poet you think would be interested, their parents can call (408) 794-6250 for information and enrollment. The School charges a tuition fee but can often offer scholarships based on financial need. I will also be offering a video production workshop at the School from July 14 to July 25. For general information about the School of Arts and Culture, visit




This past April I hosted the 5th Annual San Jose Museum of Art Poetry Invitational, an event where poets perform original works inspired by art in the Museum’s collection. If you missed it, you can read the poems on SJMA’s Tumblr page beside pictures of the artwork! They will post a new piece each week (seven in all). The first two are already up! View the poems and artwork at

Special thanks to Lucy Larson, Director of Education at SJMA.

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5th Annual San Jose Museum of Art Poetry Invitational – April 17 – 7pm


Poetry and visual art come together on April 17 at the Annual SJMA Poetry Invitational. Poets write pieces inspired by work in the exhibit “Initial Public Offering” then read their poetry side-by-side with the art. Join us for what has become a proud San Jose tradition. Special thanks to Poetry Center San Jose for co-sponsoring this event.

Thursday, April 17 @ 7pm
$5 Admission (free for museum members)
110 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95110
Reading to be held in the exhibit “Initial Public Offering”

Featured poets include Jason Bayani, Kimberly Cates Escamilla, Evan Karp, Jennifer Swanton Brown, Jasper Haze, Claudia McIsaac, Sally Ashton, Nils Peterson and myself.


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April Events


National Poetry Month is upon us, and here are my upcoming events! Also, as many have requested, here is the video of the speech I gave at my reception. Special thanks to Poetry Center San Jose for co-sponsoring these events. Learn more about all PCSJ does to promote poetry in the South Bay at If you have questions, email me at If you want reminders as events get closer, follow my Twitter @dperezer. Enjoy your poetry month!

  • April 5
    Milpitas Library Poetry Reading
    The Milpitas poetry community is truly extraordinary. I’m proud to be in their space once again to read alongside Erica Goss (Poet Laureate of Los Gatos) and Kim Johnson (spoken word sensation). The event also features two former Milpitas Poetry Slam winners, Liala Zaray and Ahsan Zahid. The event comes complete with free food and musical guest, cellist Freya Seeburger. I will also give a poetry workshop at the library at 1pm. Both the workshop and the reading will take place in the auditorium. Email Lauren Teixeira at or visit the Facebook event for more info.
  • April 10 and 19
    Campbell Library Youth Poetry Workshops
    4:30pm (on both days)
    This is a series of two poetry composition courses for youth ages 13 to 17. You don’t need to have written before. If you have a piece you’d like to polish up, bring it, and I’ll give you some revision techniques. I’m flexible on the ages. Any young person interested in poetry is welcome to join. Just ask the staff at the front desk where to find the poetry workshop and they’ll let you know where we’re meeting. Email Klara Kim at for more info.
  • April 17
    5th Annual San Jose Museum of Art Poetry Invitational
    Entrance fee: $5 (free for Museum members)

    This event brings the worlds of visual art and poetry together through the practice of ekphrasis. Poets perform original works inspired by art on display at the museum. Each poet reads while standing beside his or her chosen art piece. This year, all poems relate to work in the exhibit “Initial Public Offering.” Featured poets include Kimberly Escamilla, Jennifer Swanton Brown, Jason Bayani, Claudia McIsaac, Jasper Haze, Evan Karp, Nils Peterson, Sally Ashton, and myself. You can’t miss the location. Just come in through the front door and “Initial Public Offering” is immediately to your right. Visit the Facebook Event for more info.
  • April 24
    San Jose State University’s Legacy of Poetry Day
    Every year, SJSU hosts this event, and this they’re holding it in honor of poets Wanda Coleman and Edwin Markham. I am proud to share the stage with Joy Harjo, Al Young and Sally Ashton and Nils Peterson. We will be reading poems from Coleman and Markham in addition to our own works. The event is held out doors at SJSU right in front of the campus entrance to the MLK library. Visit the SJSU Legacy of Poetry page for more info.
  • April 24 and 26
    Gilroy Library Poetry Workshops
    5pm (on 4-24) / 2pm (on 4-26)

    This is a series of two poetry composition courses for writers of all ages. You can come to one workshop or both. We will do a lot of in-class writing. Coming on both days will give you the chance to revise your work from the first day and bring it in for another round of feedback and edits. Email Kelly Bennan Young at for more info.


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