The New Social Environment#326

A Tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A poetry reading featuring Will Alexander, Garrett Caples, Neeli Cherkovski, Aggie Falk, Jack Hirschman, Kaye McDonough, Margaret Randall, and Anne Waldman, hosted by Sparrow


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

A poetry reading featuring Will Alexander, Garrett Caples, Neeli Cherkovski, Aggie Falk, Jack Hirschman, Kaye McDonough, Margaret Randall, and Anne Waldman, hosted by Sparrow

In this talk

A special thanks to Rail Consulting Editor Raymond Foye for organizing this event.

Will Alexander

A portrait of Will Alexander
Photo by Ramon Rao
Poet, novelist, playwright, aphorist, essayist, philosopher, visual artist, and pianist Will Alexander has produced 30 collections in the above mentioned genres. Both a Whiting Fellow and a California Arts Council Fellow, he has been recipient of an Oakland PEN Award, an American Book Award, and winner of the 2016 Jackson Prize for Poetry.

Garrett Caples

Garrett Caples
Garrett Caples is a poet and an editor at City Lights Books. He was Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s personal assistant off and on for many years. His latest book of poems, Lovers of Today, will appear in October from Wave Books.

Neeli Cherkovski

A photo of Neeli Cherkovski
Photo by Kyle Harvey
Neeli Cherkovski is a poet, memoirist, literary chronicler, and editor. His latest books of poetry are Hang on the Yangtze River and Elegy for My Beat Generation. He is also the biographer of Charles Bukowski and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the recipient of an American Book Award and the Josephine Miles PEN Award.

Agneta Falk

Aggie Falk
Photo by George Sylvia
Poet and painter Agneta (Aggie) Falk grew up in Sweden, moved to England, and has lived in San Francisco since 1998. With friends, she directed Live Worms Gallery in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Her most recent book is Heart Muscle, and she’s a regular figure in both the San Francisco and international poetry scenes.

Jack Hirschman

Jack Hirschman
Photo by Christopher Michel
Jack Hirschman was born in New York City. He earned degrees from the City College of New York and Indiana University. A poet and translator, Hirschman is the author of numerous books of poetry including All That’s Left (City Lights Books, 2008) and The Arcanes (Multimedia, 2006). The former poet laureate of San Francisco, Hirschman taught at the University of California, Los Angeles. He lives in San Francisco.

Kaye McDonough

Kaye McDonough
Selfie in the Ladies Room at “Charlie” de Gaulle Airport, Paris (July 30, 2015)
Poet, publisher, playwright, and teacher, Kaye McDonough is author of She Stag and the Tiger of Wanawatu (LARB, 2018), Pagan: Selected Poems (New Native Press, 2014), Zelda: Frontier Life in America (City Lights, 1978 and a finalist in the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center awards), City Lights Anthology, Exquisite Corpse, Beatitudes (10 issues), and others. She was an adjunct lecturer in writing and poetry (2000-2020) and publisher of Greenlight Press, handset and photo offset editions. She is currently working on a memoir of North Beach/San Francisco 1965-85: The Spell of Bohemia.

Margaret Randall

Margaret Randall
Photo by Kori Suzuki
Writer, translator, photographer, and social activist Margaret Randall has published more than 150 books of poetry, essay, and oral history. Among her most recent poetry collections are: The Morning After: Poetry and Prose for a Post-Truth World, Against Atrocity and Time’s Language: Selected Poems 1959-2018 (Wings Press). A memoir, I Never Left Home: Poet, Feminist, Revolutionary, was published by Duke University Press in spring 2020. In March 2020, AWP named her recipient of the year of its George Garrett Award and in June Chapman University awarded her its Paulo Freire Prize.

Anne Waldman

Photograph of Anne Waldman seated on a bench wearing a gold sweater.
Photo of Anne Waldman in front of artwork by Pat Steir. Photo: Nina Subin.
Poet, curator, professor, performer, cultural activist Anne Waldman co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics program at Naropa Institute. She was arrested at Rocky Flats with Daniel Ellsberg and Allen Ginsberg in the 1970s, reading poems that challenged deliveries of plutonium for nuclear warheads. Author of over 60 volumes of poetry, poetics and anthologies including The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in The Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House Press) which won the Pen Center Literary Prize. Penguin has published her books over many years, including Trickster Feminism among several others. Her album SCIAMACHY was released in 2020 by Fast Speaking Music and the Levy-Gorvy Gallery. NEW WEATHERS, Poetics from the Naropa Archive , Nightboat 2022 has just gone to press.


Member of the New York-based literary group The Unbearables, Sparrow has published several poetry collections with Soft Skull Press, as well as chapbooks in collaboration with St. Mark’s Poetry Project, and has served as the editor for the literary journal Big Fish. He has been published in The New Yorker (after picketing their offices in 1996 while holding a sign reading, “My Poetry is as bad as yours”), The Quarterly, and the New York Times. He was featured in the PBS series The United States of Poetry, and his music (with the band Foamola) is featured on the poetry compilation Poemfone: New Word Order. Sparrow lives with his wife and daughter in the hamlet of Phoenicia, New York, in the Catskill Mountains.

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