PREVIEW San Francisco is known internationally for many things, but top among them are parties, politics, and poetry. We've got plenty of events dedicated to the first two, but it's surprising that we didn't have a full-blown poetry festival until two years ago. Thankfully, the city, the public libraries, and the Friends of the library are back this year with four days of events dedicated to the medium that made Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti famous with an intention of continuing the tradition as a biennial gathering. This round features main stage readings by local heroes and international stars like Maram al-Massri, Daisy Zamora, SF Poet Laureate Diane di Prima, and Ferlinghetti himself. Other highlights include an exhibition of artwork and broadsides from participating poets, screening of a documentary about Jack Hirschman, a conversation about the art of translation, an event for youth moderated by California state Poet Laureate Carol-Muske-Dukes, workshops, parties, and a North Beach Poetry crawl that includes stopping in at Ferlinghetti's City Lights bookstore and other famous haunts of the Beats. Best of all? Like creating poetry itself, all events are free and open to the public.
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL POETRY FESTIVAL Thurs/23Sun/26, Various times and locations. Free. www.sfipf.org