To train myself, in the midst of a burning world,
to offer poems of love to a burning world.
Katie Farris

Poetry & the Senses

Flash Reading Series

April – May 2021

Weekly Releases

In these continued changing times, ARC has taken the idea of a poetry festival and spread it out over a semester, online. During National Poetry Month—April 2021—we are piloting a new Flash Reading Series featuring 25 Bay Area community poets responding to our theme of emerge/ncy. In addition to larger monthly readings (here), this series extends the idea of voices we want to carry with us in imperiled times. We are interested in what is emergent or birthed at times of crisis, the voices that become maps, guideposts, and sustenance along the way.

Each featured poet will give a 3-5 minute reading of one of their poems, related in some way to the theme. These short readings will be carried on our website and YouTube channel, and shared on social media. The Bay Area offers a rich, deep, and broad tapestry of voices—we could easily have tripled the number of reading slots and still barely skimmed the surface of wonder and beauty that surrounds us. We are lucky and grateful to these poets for participating in this celebration of community, for helping us think through and within crisis, understand moments of emergency as catalysts for renewal, as ruptures that signal massive—if painful—change, and lean into the possibility of rebirth and new beginnings.

This Flash Reading Series is part of ARC’s Poetry & the Senses initiative, funded by Engaging the Senses Foundation.

April 12th, 2021

Kim Shuck

Kim Shuck was the 7th Poet Laureate of San Francisco. Shuck is solo author of seven books of prose and poetry. Her latest, a chapbook, is Whose Water? from Mammoth Publications, and the most recent full length book is Deer Trails from The City Lights Foundation. Shuck has won awards in the US and in the UK, the latest is a Groundbreaker award from the Northern California Book Reviewers.
Image credit: Douglas A. Salin.

Watch her reading here.

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield’s ninth poetry collection, Ledger (Knopf, 2020), centers on the crises of biosphere and social justice. Other books include two now-classic books of essays, Nine Gates and Ten Windows. Hirshfield has been long-listed for the National Book Award, and received the Poetry Center and California Book Awards, fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts, and ten selections for The Best American Poetry. A former chancellor of The Academy of American Poets and founder of Poets For Science, Hirshfield is a 2019 elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Image credit: Curt Richter

Watch her reading here.

William Brewer

William Brewer’s debut novel, The Red Arrow, is forthcoming from Knopf in 2022.  I Know Your Kind, his book of poems, was a winner of the National Poetry Series. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, The Sewanee Review, and The Best American Poetry. Formerly a Stegner Fellow, he is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University. He lives in Oakland.

Watch his reading here.

Geoffrey G. O’Brien

Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s latest book is Experience in Groups (Wave, 2018). He is also the author most recently of People on Sunday (Wave, 2013) and the coauthor (with John Ashbery and Timothy Donnelly) of Three Poets (Minus A Press, 2012). O’Brien is a Professor of English at UC Berkeley and also teaches for Mount Tamalpais College (formerly the Prison University Project) at San Quentin State Prison.

Watch his reading here.

최 Lindsay

최 Lindsay is a poet and translator working between English, Korean, and Swedish. They are the author of a book of poetry, Transverse (Futurepoem, 2021), and a chapbook, Matrices (speCt! books, 2017). They are a Kundiman fellow and a Ph.D. student in English literature at UC Berkeley. More of their work can be found in Omniverse, Amerarcana, and Aster(ix) Journal, and elsewhere. Recent projects include a creative manuscript in and out of translation on the colonial history of leprosy in Korea. They are a founding co-editor, with Noah Ross, of the chapbook press MO(O)ON/IO. Their work has been translated to French, and will appear in the forthcoming issue of NIOQUES, 22/23: Nouvelle Poésie Des États-Unis (New U.S. Poetry), edited by DoubleChange Collective, and translated by Abigail Lang. Visit them at

Watch their reading here.

April 6th, 2021

sam sax

sam sax is a queer, jewish, writer & educator. The author of Madness winner of The National Poetry Series and ‘Bury It’ winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. They’re the two time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion with poems published in The New York Times, Poetry Magazine, & Granta and elsewhere. They’ve received fellowships from The Poetry Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts Stanford University, and currently lives in Oakland and dreams about having a dog.

Watch their reading here.

D’mani Thomas

D’mani Thomas is a queer, Black visual theorist, horror enthusiast, and writer from Oakland, California (Ohlone territory). D’mani has received fellowships from The Watering Hole, Foglifter literary journal, and Afro Urban Society. His work has been published by The Auburn Avenue, The Ana, MARY: A Journal of New Writing and his poem, “Survival Tactics” was recently shortlisted for the 2020 Penrose Poetry Prize. His current work obsesses over what it means to create intimacy under total surveillance.

Watch his reading here.

Brenda Hillman

Brenda Hillman is the author of ten collections of poetry from Wesleyan University Press, including Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days (2018). She has edited and co-translated numerous books, most recently At Your Feet by Ana Cristina Cesar— co-translated with her mother, Helen Hillman. She currently serves as a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets, co-directs the Poetry Program of the Community of Writers and teaches at Saint Mary’s College of California. https://

Image credit: Robert Hass

Watch her reading here.

Jennifer S. Cheng

Jennifer S. Cheng’s book MOON: LETTERS, MAPS, POEMS was selected by Bhanu Kapil for the Tarpaulin Sky Award and named a Publishers Weekly “Best Book of 2018.” She is also the author of HOUSE A, selected by Claudia Rankine for the Omnidawn Poetry Prize, and INVOCATION: AN ESSAY, an image-text chapbook. She is a 2019-20 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow and has received awards from Brown University, the University of Iowa, San Francisco State University, the U.S. Fulbright program, Kundiman, Bread Loaf, and the Academy of American Poets.

Watch her reading here.

Juliana Spahr

Juliana Spahr’s most recent book is Du Bois’s Telegram: Literary Resistance and State Containment.

Watch her reading here.