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Conversations With Poets

Co-sponsored with San Diego Poetry Annual and the San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild 

A series of intimate and captivating one-on-one video interviews with host Michael Klam and nine local poets about their work, their process, their influences, and the vibrant poetry literary scene in San Diego. Eavesdrop on smart literary artists engaged in compelling discussions about what inspires them about the art form.  

Conversation with Poets coincides with the City's Poetry of Resilience program, spearheaded by San Diego Poet Laureate, Ron Salisbury.

About the Host and Director of the Series

The host and on-site director of Conversation with Poets are well known local poets Michael Klam and Anthony Blacksher.

Ant Black - Director of Conversations with Poets

Blacksher, known as Ant Black in performance poetry circles, earned a PhD from Claremont Graduate University. He is a professor at San Bernardino Valley College. His performance poetry has been posted on YouTube and has appeared in the San Diego Poetry Annual. He serves on the board of directors and Vice President of the San Diego Entertainment + Arts Guild (SDEAG), the local 501(c)(3) arts non-profit that sponsors the annual. He also serves as a workshop facilitator for the KSDPA.  He’s the publisher of San Diego Poetry Annual.

Michael Klam - Host of Conversation with Poets

Klam is the executive editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual (SDPA), host of Conversations with Poets at SDPL, a partner with Border Voices and Broken Anchor Poetry, and co-editor of Pozol, the upcoming bilingual edition of SDPA. His most recent collection of poetry, published by Garden Oak Press in 2020, is called Anything for a Dull Moment, and his two previous collections, both published by Puna Press, are Emma and the Buddha Frog and The Cheapest Flight to Paradise. Michael serves on the board of the San Diego Entertainment + Arts Guild. Visit for more info.

Meet the Poets

Karla Cordero - Conversation with Poets

Karla Cordero | Karla Cordero on Teaching & Creating Space for Students

Karla Cordero is a descendant of the Chichimeca people from Northern Mexico, a Chicana poet, educator, and ARTtivist, raised along the borderlands of Calexico, CA. She is a three-time Pushcart nominee and offered fellowships from VONA, Macondo, CantoMundo, The Loft Literary Center, Community of Writers and Pink Door Writing Retreat. She currently serves as a Professor of Creative Writing and English at MiraCosta and San Diego City College. 

Sharon Elise - Conversations with Poets

Sharon Elise | A Short Lesson on Sociopoetics with Sharon Elise

Sharon Elise is a professor and department chair of sociology at California State University, San Marcos. Her teaching and research center on critical race studies, black studies, black feminism, intersectionality, women of color and sociopoetics. A published poet, she brings her sociological insight to poetry and poetics to sociology.

Rudy Francisco - Conversations with Poets

Rudy Francisco | Speak! Rudy Francisco talks poetry with Michael Klam

Rudy Francisco is an American spoken word poet and author He has won several Poetry Slams and written six books of poetry: Getting Stitches, Scratch, No Gravity, No Gravity Part II, Helium, and I'll Fly Away. He made an appearance on TV One's Verses and Flow and performed his spoken-word poem "Complainers" as well as "Rifle" on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Olga Garcia - Conversations with Poets

Olga GarcíaThe Influence of Grandmothers & Becoming a Poet

Olga García is a bilingual poet, physicist and mathematician and editor of the bilingual San Diego Poetry Annual. She is a member of Haiku San Diego Study Group. Under the pseudonym enriKetta luissi, she has written a novel: El Peso de los Ovarios, and 10 poetry books: Ostrich Sky, Disclosed, In Vitro, Poetica Mathematica, Binaria, Dark Matter,  IIE, Re-Versed, Emily and Visitaciones. Her poetry is published monthly in Supersimetría, a section of Peregrinos y sus Letras, a literary online magazine.

Katie Manning - Conversations with Poets

Katie Manning | Katie Manning in Conversation with Michael Klam

Katie Manning is the founding editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She is the author of Tasty Other (Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, 2016) and five chapbooks, including 28,065 Nights (River Glass Books, 2020). Her writing has been published in American Journal of Nursing, The Lascaux Review, New Letters, Poet Lore, So to Speak, Verse Daily, and many other journals and anthologies. 

Ron Salisbury - Conversations with Poets

Ron Salisbury | Poet Laureate Ron Salisbury sits with Michael Klam

Ron Salisbury is San Diego’s first Poet Laureate. The City’s Poet Laureate serves as an ambassador and advocate for poetry, spoken word, and the literary arts. As a life-long learner and a dedicated teacher, Salisbury has taught poetry classes in San Diego and throughout California for more than 40 years. For the past eight years, he has led a weekly poetry workshop at Writer’s Ink, a local nonprofit. 

Jeff Walt - Conversations with Poets

Jeff WaltJeff Walt on The Kowit, Poetry & More

Jeff Walt was born in rural Pennsylvania among a community of coal miners, brick-layers, and railroad workers.  His poems have appeared in journals such as Los Angeles Review, Alligator Juniper, Cimarron Review, The Sun, Connecticut Review, Inkwell, New Millennium Writings, The Good Men Project, Harpur Palate, Cream City Review, and Slipstream.  His book, Leave Smoke (Gival Press, 2019), was awarded the 2020 Housatonic Book Award given by the Western Connecticut State University MFA Program “…to promote excellent writing, to identify authors who serve as professional role models for writing students…. “ Jeff is the Program Coordinator for the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize sponsored by the San Diego Art & Entertainment Guild and a Regional Editor for the San Diego Poetry Annual.  

Ted Washington - Conversations with Poets

Ted Washington | Ted Washington and Michael Klam Talk It Out 

Ted Washington is an artist, author, poet and reluctant businessman. He now lives in San Diego, after spending time as an apprentice draftsman for a beer brewery in St. Louis, an IRS employee in Springfield, MO, a retail sales representative in Denver, and temporarily homeless vagabond turned baker on the beaches of Venice. Ted is the founder of Puna Press and the performance group Pruitt Igoe. Pruitt Igoe was awarded a Synergy Foundation grant and performed in Harlem. Ted Washington won the BRAND 37 purchase award, with the Glendale Library acquiring one of his artworks for their permanent collection. He is the cofounder and host of Palabra, a reading series held twice monthly in San Diego.

Ying Wu - Conversations with Poets

Ying Wu | A Scientist Talks Poetry

Ying Wu is a poet and cognitive scientist, and host of the Gelato Poetry reading series in San Diego. She is also a proud member of the editorial team of Kids! San Diego Poetry Annual. More examples of her work can be found online at Poetry and Art at the San Diego Art Institute and in Writers Resist, as well as in the material world at the San Diego Airport and in print journals, such as the Clackamas Literary Review. Ying currently studies insight and problem solving at UC San Diego.

Ameerah Holliday

Ameerah HollidayGrace note with Ameerah Holliday

Ameerah Holliday is a dancer and self-proclaimed poetess. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from San Diego State University. Holliday currently serves as a associate agent with the Serendipity Literary Agency and is the social media manager for Ebb & Flow Publications. She is also the editorial director for the San Diego Poetry Annual and Editor for Kids! San Diego Poetry Annual.

Conversations With Poets on the Listeners' Advisory Podcast

Listeners’ Advisory: The San Diego Public Library Podcast | Season 1 Episode 9 - Conversations With Poets & Robert Frost Society

In this episode, podcast host Bob Surratt sits down with Michael Klam and Dr. Anthony Blacksher, co-creators of Conversations with Poets, a new 8 part poetry series made in partnership with the City of San Diego’s Commissions for Arts & Culture. They discuss their beginnings in poetry, San Diego’s new poet laureate, and what to expect from Conversations with Poets. Also, co-host Scott Ehrig-Burgess catches up with poets Jim Hurley and Robert Hass to discuss the arrival of the new Robert Frost Society collection at SDPL.

Michael Klam and Dr. Anthony Blacksher