San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguía

In his inaugural address as San Francisco’s poet laureate, Alejandro Murguía said, “never forget that San Francisco is the city of poets – therefore each and every one of you is a poet until proven otherwise.” We talk with Murguía about the role of a poet laureate in a city of poets. And we’ll discuss his own bilingual poetry, which honors San Francisco’s Latino cultural and literary history and speaks to a changing San Francisco.

El sueño de Lorca

                        Me cuentan que tu clavícula

                        es una estrella sobre Andalucía

                        que tus meláncolicos metacarpianos

                        aún apríetan un terrón de Sevilla

                        que tus caderas jamas

                        han cesado de gozar

                        así en La Habana como en Nueva York

                        y que en las cuencas de tus ojos

                        han brotado jasmines

                        y cada petalo un poema

                        que tu quijada es la voz de todos

                        los sospechos, indocumentados,

                        insultados y fusilados

                        que la luna arrulla tus hueso Federico

                        frágiles como alas de colibrí


Así me lo contarón una noche plateada

                        las hormiguitas rojas

                        que duermen en tu cráneo

                                                                        —Alejandro Murguía



Lorca’s Dream                                                        

                                    They tell me that your clavicle

                                    is a star over Andalucia

                                    that your melancholic metacarpals

                                    still clutch a clod of earth in Sevilla

                                    that your hips have not ceased dancing

                                    in Havana or in New York

                                    that jasmines bloom in your eye sockets

                                    and every petal a poem

                                    that your jaw bone is the voice of all

                                    the silenced ones, the undocumented ones

                                    those insulted and executed

                                    that the moon cradles your bones Federico

                                    fragile as hummingbird wings


                                    That’s what I was told one silvery night

                                    by the hip red ants

                                    that sleep in your cranium

                                                            —Alejandro Murguía


Alejandro Murguía, San Francisco poet laureate, author most recently of the collection "Stray Poems" and a founding member and the first director of the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

  • Robert Thomas

    Oscar Acosta’s Autobiography is one of my favorite volumes. I have to treat it tenderly to prevent the spine from coming apart.

  • Patty Page

    Thanks for celebrating poetry, and Alejandro’s status as poet laureate! Alejandro, your radio wishes can come true: there’s a great weekly show, Poet As Radio, airing on KUSF in Exile on Sunday mornings, hosted by Delia Tramontina and Jay Thomas, both wonderful poets in their own right.

  • Jonnie

    Oh how precious…Frisco has a poet laureate! Who was the first…oh let me guess, Oscar Wilde!

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