Arts & Events

10th Berkeley Poetry Festival & 2nd Art In The Atrium Festival

By Marcia Poole
Thursday April 26, 2012 - 05:12:00 PM

This year’s 10th Berkeley Poetry Festival (BPF) will be held Saturday, May 5th, from 1 – 4:30 PM in the Audito­rium of Berkeley City College, 2050 Center St., Berkeley. The Poetry Festival’s main purpose is to introduce the public to the work of the community poets who read throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. 

The City of Berkeley will award the 6th Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry this year to Clive Matson for his 45 year commitment to the educational and literary community of the San Francisco Bay Area. Matson will be presented with the award at the Festival by Berkeley Council person Kriss Worthington. Previous winners were Julia Vinograd, Maggie Meyer, Joyce Jenkins, Jack Foley and Adam David Miller. 

The Festival will have a special performance, Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts, with Daniel Yaryan, Marc Olmsted and Suzi Kaplan Olmsted. “Astonishing! Startling! Fantastic! Poems, music and something special to stagger every ones poets braving the boxing match with those long-gone Beat ghosts — finding their way to our magnificent, underground stage with their inspiring legacies — as we lure them close with shouts from the bottom of our bohemian hearts— for brothers and sisters of the Beat afterlife, sharing our sympathetic-poet-state-of-mind and our hunger for meaning in a mediocre world — finding rollicking words to rattle the senses — knocking the audience right out of their same-ol’ chairs with that somethin’-new, spoken word renaissance — beings rising from the depths — no barriers of concrete, wood or stone can stop those ghosts from rising, drifting in from their mystic realms. Don’t miss the spectacle, the magic, the mystery revealed.” — Yaryan 

Marc Kockinos, this year’s host M.C., will introduce the poets and entertain you with his easy-going style. The infamous Wes “Scoop” Nisker will lead the Invocation. The poets reading for the 10th Berkeley Poetry Festival will be: Clive Matson, Jack and Adelle Foley, Mary Mackey, Gary Turchin, Julia Vinograd, Kirk Lumpkin, Joan Gatten, Alice Rogoff, Glenn Ingersoll, Sharon Coleman, Jeanne Lupton, H.D. Moe, Mark Schwartz, Jan Dove and Open Mic poets. Eligibility to read at the Open Mic is by lottery. Those interested in being heard should arrive before 12:30 P.M. and drop their name ‘in the hat’ for a drawing at 12:30 P.M. for the limited available spots that day. 

Mother’s Hen is pleased to again host the Art in the Atrium Festival, located just in front of the auditorium. Last year, at the 9th Berkeley Poetry Festival, we initiated this visual art section of the Festival. 

This year, Berkeley City College instructor, Jan Dove, and Mother’s Hen staff person, Marcia Poole, have again put together an ensemble of wonderful visual artists. The artists chosen have all participated in juried shows, had their work published in various magazines and books, or are currently showing at national, state and/or local art galleries. It is a real privilege to present to the public these gifted artists and it is also a real chance for the public to see the talent that flourishes in Berkeley. 

This year’s selection of visual artists are: Jan Dove, Sammuel M. Ribitch, Kristin Doner, Marcia Poole & Louis Cuneo, Jo-Anna Pippin, Yuksel Dinccag, Gary Turchin, Barry M. Shapiro, Judith Allen, Al Edgerton, Joanna Ruckman, Kevin Tikker, Cheryl Robertson, Erika Gagnon, Gabriel Martinez, Diane Wallace, Vickie Leonard, Arden K. Varnel and others. All sales go directly to the artists. 

The Festival will also showcase small press books by the Festival poets and artists and the Milvia St. Art and Literary Journal. They will be displayed on two tables in the Atrium, along with the visual artists’ works. People are invited to peruse the works and are encouraged to buy. All sales go directly to the poets and artists. 

The Berkeley Poetry Festival’s primary mission is to support and encourage poetry in the community. Mother’s Hen has been running poetry readings in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1971. The Touch of a Poet Series, which was held at the Berkeley Art Museum, transitional into the Berkeley Poetry Festival in 1998. At that time, the City of Berkeley, with specific sponsorship from Councilman Kriss Worthington, joined Mother’s Hen staff, Louis Cuneo and Marcia Poole, to found and support The Berkeley Poetry Festival

The public can view the complete history of the Berkeley Poetry Festival at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley or access our web site at for links to videos of past events. For further informa­tion, contact Louis Cuneo, poet, founder and producer of the BPF at 510.549.3345, or