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SF poet laureate to speak in CSUEB’s Distinguished Writers Series April 28


Alejandro Murguia

  • March 3, 2014

Alejandro Murguia, poet laureate of San Francisco, will read from his recent writings and be joined by the top three winners of the Helen DeClercq Poetry Prize on Monday, April 28, as part of Cal State East Bay’s Distinguished Writers Series, presented by the university’s English Department.

The 6 p.m. event will be held in the Biella Room of the University Library on CSUEB's Hayward Campus, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. Admission is free and the public is invited. A book signing and question and answer session will follow.

“Alejandro Murguia has been doing his thing longer than most people have been awake to the occasional use of Spanglish, caló (Chicano slang), and traditional Spanish in contemporary American poetry,” said Steve Gutierrez, director of the Distinguished Writers Series and professor of English at Cal State East Bay. “He inflects his poetry with salsa sometimes, but is always accessible and moving to the English language reader, oftentimes politically charged, and never boring. He is another fine writer we’re so proud to have.”

Murguia, sixth poet laureate of San Francisco and the first Latino to hold the title, is the author of Southern Front and This War Called Love. Both were winners of an American Book Award. His non-fiction book, The Medicine of Memory, highlights San Francisco’s Mission District of the 1970s, when the Nicaraguan Solidarity movement was taking place.

He is a founding member and was first director of The Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco and co-editor of Volcan: Poetry from Central America. Murguia is the author of the short story, “The Other Barrio,” which first appeared in the anthology, San Francisco Noir, and recently was filmed in the streets of San Francisco’s Mission District. He is a professor of Latina Latino Studies at San Francisco State University.

Before Murguia  begins his presentation, the three top prize winners of the university’s ninth annual Helen “Jackie” DeClercq Poetry Contest will read their winning poems. First prize of $250 went to Samantha Kennedy of Livermore for “219,000 Cigarettes; followed by second prize ($100) winner Christopher Chun of Concord (“Broken Kites”); and third prize ($50) winner Candice Evenson of Livermore (“Opening Up”).

CSUEB welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodation upon request. Please notify event sponsor in advance at (510) 885-3400 if accommodation is needed. Campus parking is $2 per hour, payable at kiosk machines located in campus parking lots.

Additional information about the April 28 event and the Distinguished Writers Series is available at

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