On Thursday, March 25, 2021 Gleeson Library | Geschke Center hosted a wide-ranging conversation between two of San Francisco’s most impactful poets: San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin and University of San Francisco Professor of English and Poet Dean Rader. Shabnam Koirala-Azad, Professor and Dean, School of Education moderated this event.
During the hour-long dialogue, excellently framed and contextualized by Dr. Koirala-Azad, Eisen-Martin and Rader read selections of their works (find the poem Tongo Eisen Martin read here and the poem Dean Rader read here) and covered a wide range of important topics including what it means to be a public poet in this city in this moment and who influenced their revolutionary praxis.
We are grateful to Shabnam Koirala-Azad, Tongo Eisen-Martin, and Dean Rader, and to our partners in bringing this event online:
USF College of Arts and Sciences, USF Office of Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach (DECO), The Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, USF Black Community Council, USF School of Education, Center for Research, Artistic, and Scholarly Excellence (CRASE), and San Francisco Public Library.
Tongo Eisen-Martin, originally from San Francisco, is a poet, movement worker and educator. His latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again, has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country. His book titled, Someone’s Dead Already was nominated for a California Book Award. His latest book Heaven Is All Goodbyes was published by the City Lights Pocket Poets series, was shortlisted for the Griffins Poetry Prize and won a California Book Award and an American Book Award. His forthcoming book Blood On The Fog is being released this fall in the City Lights Pocket Poets series. He is San Francisco’s eighth Poet Laureate.
Dean Rader has written, edited, or co-edited eleven books and his work has appeared in publications as varied as The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Best of the Net and Best American Poetry. His writing has been supported by fellowships from Harvard, Princeton, the Headlands Center for the Arts and the MacDowell Foundation. He is a professor at the University of San Francisco and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry.
Shabnam Koirala-Azad, Dean of the School of Education and Professor of International and Multicultural Education, explores social and educational (in)equities through a transnational lens. Through ethnography and participatory research, her work critically examines the experiences of South Asian students and families in schools and society, as they experience shifting identities and navigate through structural inequities in various geographic, social and political spaces. By examining their realities in both home and host country contexts, she offers new ideas for transnational social action and highlights methodologies that directly address concerns with power and representation. As a mother-scholar, she is also interested in scholarships with an asset-based understanding of how mothering enriches careers in academia.