SPC History

Since 1979, the Sacramento Poetry Center has been a major force for literary artists in Northern California. Though primarily serving as the literary center for the greater Sacramento metropolitan area, SPC’s publications are recognized nationally for their quality and literary content and its annual writers’ conference has featured some of the most important poets of our time, including Pulitzer Prize winners Gary Snyder and Philip Levine, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, and other poetic luminaries such as Galway Kinnell, Robert Bly, Robert Creely, Diane DiPrima, Carolyn Forche, Lucille Clifton, Anne Waldman, Jack Hirschman, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Dorianne Laux, Kim Addonizio, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Jose Montoya, Robert Creeley, Robert Peters, and many others.

Unique among literary centers in that it is not affiliated with a university, the Sacramento Poetry Center, while maintaining close ties with the area’s universities and colleges, affords associated artists the opportunity to explore the medium unrestricted, empowering literary artists to improve their work and performance.

The Sacramento Poetry Center also sponsored Assembly Bill 113, which established the position of California Poet Laureate. Quincy Troupe was appointed by the Governor to fill the position for its first two-year term.

Special Projects

Landing Signals

The idea of a book and audio presentation of Sacramento poets was born in the fertile brain of B. L. Kennedy in the year 1984. Two years later, midwifed and brought to life by SPC, Landing Signals, a 244 page print anthology and a 2 hour audio anthology, was a reality.

During that long gestation period, The Landing Signals Committee (Fred Dalkey, Victoria Dalkey, Patrick Grizzell, Kennedy and Founder/Executive Director Theresa Vinciguerra) kept the Project on track. Vinciguerra, Victoria Dalkey and SPC’s Board of Directors handled fundraising. Douglas Blazek, C. K. Dobbs and Ann Menebrokers served as editors for the print anthology; Kennedy and Grizzell for the audio.

On October 26, 1986, thanks to the hard work of many poets, artists and community supporters, this long-anticipated, landmark project was released. In recognition of this achievement, then-Mayor Ann Rudin proclaimed October 26, Sacramento Poetry Day.

In Lak’ Esh

In Lak’ Esh, a 1990-91 collaboration between 30 Sacramento poets and 30 Sacramento visual artists, began as an idea in the mind of sculptor Maru Hoeber. Poets Kay Lindsay and Victoria Dalkey were Hoeber’s earliest collaborators. SPC served as co-sponsor and (then-President of the Board of Directors) Mary Zeppa served as SPC/ ILK liaison. The project, supported by many individuals, businesses and organizations was coordinated by a four volunteer committee: Hoeber, Wendy Ginther, Diane Pibbs and Shelly Willis.

Poets and artists were paired (some by choice, some at random) and worked together on projects ranging from Jorjana Holden’s bronze and mirror sculpture inscribed with Joyce Odam’s poem to artist Tom Witt and poet Gene Avery’s “Variety show performance art with music, drama, dancing, singing. Cast of 25.”

ILK culminated in a one month exhibition (at the Southern Pacific Warehouse next to the Amtrak Station) of these collaborative projects. The opening night reception was held on October 26, Sacramento Poetry Day. Performances and poetry readings were held Saturdays during the month of the exhibit.

August Coppola, dean of San Francisco State’s School of Creative Arts, wrote the introduction to the exhibition catalog which, through photographs and participants’ comments on the collaborative process, documents the project. ordPress.