Diane di Prima - "Taking Dictation" - May 27th @ 7 p.m.

Poems come into being in many ways: some are deliberately composed and often start from an idea or experience. Some seem inspired but require a certain amount of work, revision and struggle to get them right. Others, however, seem to arrive whole: what is required of the poet is to get out of the way and let the poem "write itself". The great San Francisco poet, Robert Duncan, called this "obedience to the poem", and Jack Spicer, his colleague, called it "taking dictation" and left it an open question as to who or what was dictating.

The Excelsior Branch Arts & Culture Salon presents a very special evening with poet Diane di Prima, who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by PEN Oakland in 2008, and who was just recently named San Francisco's Poet Laureate. In this informal talk/reading, Diane will discuss various ways the poem may be "received" and read poems that have arrived as if dictated. Dialogue with the audience will be invited and encouraged throughout the presentation.

Wednesday, May 27th - 7 p.m.