Contest organzier talks poetry 

Sarah Rosedale, store manager at the Book Bay Fort Mason, is one of the chief organizers of San Francisco’s annual Poets 11 event, a citywide poetry contest that encourages writers to read their works aloud at public libraries in all 11 of The City’s districts. In its third year, the Poets 11 contest is accepting submissions until March 1. Interested poets should visit the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Web site at

What is your role in the Poets 11 event? I’ve been working with [former San Francisco Poet Laureate] Jack Hirschman to help connect people throughout this city with the Poets 11 contest. We really try to coordinate the activities of all the interested poets and let them know about this event.

Who typically enters submissions for the event? There is truly a full range of people, and that’s what has made this really fun. I’ve seen very seasoned poets perform right next to a poet who has literally never read aloud before.

Does the content of the poems reflect that diversity? The poems themselves really range in content, from the political to the playful. They’ve been emotionally difficult and painful, and they’ve also been wildly humorous. They all seem to reflect the specific neighborhoods of San Francisco.

How has the event grown since it first started? It’s definitely been growing over the years. We get hundreds of submissions from poets all over San Francisco.

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Will Reisman

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