SAN FRANCISCO—Mayor Edwin M. Lee and City Librarian Luis Herrera announced on June 22 that Kim Shuck was named San Francisco’s Poet Laureate, the seventh artist in San Francisco history to hold the title.
According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, Shuck is a published author whose poetry focuses on her multiethnic background, which includes Polish and Cherokee heritage, and her experiences as a lifelong resident of San Francisco.
“Kim’s stirring poetry celebrates the spirit of San Francisco and reflects the open and inclusive values of this city,” said Mayor Lee. “She embodies the legacy of our City’s bold and fearless storytellers, and as a fifth-generation resident she has a unique appreciation for what makes San Francisco special. We are honored to have her carry on the proud tradition of our poet laureates.”
Shuck, a Castro resident, published several full-length poetry books, including “Clouds Running In,” “Rabbit Stories,” and “Smuggling Cherokee” and a chapbook, “Sidewalk Ndn.” She is an educator who taught at all levels, including at San Francisco State University and currently at the California College of the Arts. She volunteered in San Francisco Unified School District classrooms for more than 20 years. Her visual art works have been displayed in exhibits across the globe.
“This is an honor, it’s a responsibility and it’s an invitation to continue the good work of previous Laureates,” said Shuck. “It’s also an opportunity to add some of my own touches, both political and silly. The San Francisco Public Library was a good friend when I was a kid, primarily the Mission, Noe Valley and Castro branches, and I’m looking forward to working on these new projects.”
Shuck was appointed by Mayor Lee after being nominated by a nine-member Selection Committee comprised of past Poet Laureates, city officials, and members of the Bay Area poetry and literary community. She will succeed Alejandro Murguía, who served as San Francisco’s sixth Poet Laureate.
As the Poet Laureate, Shuck will deliver an inaugural address at the San Francisco Public Library. She will participate in community-based poetry events that serve multigenerational and multiethnic residents of San Francisco, and lead poetry readings at Litquake, the city’s leading literary festival. The Poet Laureate works on one or more poetry-centered events in collaboration with the San Francisco Public Library, WritersCorps, and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
“Kim Shuck is passionate about our city’s diversity and its multiplicity of voices,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera. As San Francisco Poet Laureate she will celebrate our strength of language and culture. Kim loves our city and values our libraries. We’re excited to work with her to further our city’s literary and poetic tradition by engaging our communities and bringing us together through poetry.”
To qualify for San Francisco’s Poet Laureate, applicants must be San Francisco residents and have a substantial body of published work, including at least one full length book and 20 or more published poems in established publications, print or online, over the past five years, among other qualifications.
Written By Casey Jacobs