Santa Clara Poet Laureate David Perez

Santa Clara Poet Laureate David Perez

Contact: Alan Soldofsky, 408-924-4432;

In celebration of National Poetry Month, San Jose State University will once again host its annual Legacy of Poetry Day 11:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 24 at Caret Plaza, outside the campus entrance for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

“SJSU’s Legacy of Diversity Through Poetry: All Kinds, All Colors.”

The theme of this year’s eighth annual Legacy of Poetry Day is “SJSU’s Legacy of Diversity Through Poetry: All Kinds, All Colors.” which will feature readings by former California Poet Laureate Al Young, new Santa Clara Poet Laureate David Perez, recent Santa Clara County Poet Laureates Sally Ashton and Nils Peterson, Los Gatos Poet Laureate Erica Goss, poet/musician and memoirist Joy Harjo. The program’s co-MC will be “Mighty” Mike McGee, San Jose’s Individual World Poetry Slam Champion (2006).

former California Poet Laureate Al Young

Former California Poet Laureate Al Young

There will also be readings in remembrance of California poet Wanda Coleman, the unofficial Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Coleman who died in November, over the decades was one of California’s most well-known and popular poets. Her career began among the Beat poets in Venice West in the early sixties and ended with her successfully writing poetry while working as a staff writer for the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives” (1975-76) for which she won an Emmy Award.

An afternoon of readings

SJSU’s Legacy of Poetry Day will continue through the afternoon with readings by students, SJSU faculty members, emeriti, and alumni. There will be readings by a number of SJSU faculty poets including Alan Soldofsky, Persis Karim, Samuel Maio, Gloria Collins, Neli Moody, and Linda Lappin among others. President Mohammad Qayoumi and Provost Andrew Hale Feinstein will offer opening remarks and readings for the event. Professors Alan Soldofsky (English & Comparative Literature) and Annette Nellen (Accounting and Finance) organize the annual gathering, which is sponsored by the SJSU Poets and Writers Coalition, with co-sponsorship support from the SJSU President’s Office, Academic Senate, the MLK Library, the Creative Writing Program, Department of English and Comparative Literature, SJSU Associated Students, and Poetry Center San Jose.

SJSU’s Legacy of Poetry Day is celebrated annually as part of National Poetry Month, on the Thursday closest to San Jose’s first nationally renowned poet, Edwin Markham’s, birthday (April 23, 1852). Markham is best known for writing “A Man With A Hoe,” a poem embodying the oppressed suffering of farm laborers.

Pocket-sized poems 

Lit Factory booth

Last year’s Lit Factory booth (Christina Olivas).

Also, at this year’s event the students of the Poets and Writers Coalition will staff the Lit Factory booth, which provides typewriters for poets to write short pocket-sized poems on the spot to be given away to those attending the day’s events. Submit your poem’s desired elements and characteristics to the Lit Factory, and see what interesting poem comes out. The Lit Factory is SJSU’s way of participating in the Poetry In-Your-Pocket Day, a national event sponsored by the Academy of American Poets on April 24, during National Poetry Month. National Poetry Month is held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

Legacy of Poetry Day is sponsored by the SJSU President’s Office, the Faculty Senate, the Creative Writing Program, the Department of English & Comparative Literature, and SJSU Associated Students.


Legacy of Poetry Day 2014

11:45 a.m. – noon
Opening remarks and readings by President Mohammad Qayoumi and Provost Andrew Hale Feinstein. Readings in honor San Jose State’s first major poet, Edwin Markham (April 23, 1852 – March 7, 1940), and Henry Meade Bland (1863 – 1931), California’s second Poet Laureate.

Noon – 1 p.m.
Featured keynote readings by former California Poet Laureate Al Young, Santa Clara County’s newest poet Laureate David Perez, former Santa Clara County poet Laureates Sally Ashton and Nils Peterson.

1 – 1:30 p.m.
Commemorative reading and tribute to poet Wanda Coleman.

1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
SJSU faculty reading featuring Gloria Collins, Persis Karim, Linda Lappin, Samuel Maio, Neli Moody, Sweeney Schragg, Alan Soldofsky, and other poets.

2:15 – 3:30 p.m.
Readings by SJSU students, staff, and alumni. Featuring Metro Newspaper’s Silicon Alley’s columnist Gary Singh, Mark Heinlein, Darrell Dela Cruz, Stephanie Chan, Vuong Vu, Max Goodwin and winners of the James Phelan, Dorrit Sibley, and Viriginia de Araujo/Academy of American Poets student poetry awards. Hosted by the Poets & Writers Coalition.

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