Friday, April 5, 2024, 5:00 pm PST

Flor y Canto – First Fridays in Kerouac Alley

This event will be held in Keroauc Alley, between City Lights Booksellers and Vesuvio Cafe, between Columbus and Grant Avenues, admission is free to the public

City Lights and Flor y Canto present Josiah Luis Alderete, Lourdes Figueroa, Norman Antonio Zelaya, and María Guerrero

Flor y Canto – First Fridays in Kerouac Alley

with Josiah Luis Alderete, Lourdes Figueroa, Norman Antonio Zelaya, and María Guerrero

Join us for an extra special City Lights First Fridays, April 5th at 5pm in Kerouac Alley, as we host our literary familia: the crew that keeps the San Francisco International Flor y Canto Festival alive. This event will also serve as one of many events used to gather donations for the festival which will take place June 21st – 23rd up and down 24th St in The Mission. Free to the public.

The Mission’s homegrown literary festival was founded in 2008 by the city’s first Latino poet laureate, Alejandro Murguia. Its purpose was to highlight La Mission’s long literary lineage and to bring poetry from other countries and cultures into our community. For three days, the San Francisco International Flor y Canto Festival brings the power and beauty of literature into our neighborhood—from an opening invocation with our poetry elders in Balmy Alley to poetry readings right on Calle Veinticuatro. In the past three years, we have had the opportunity to hold space and collaborate with various businesses. Precita Eyes, Evolved SF, Mission Synth, Adobe Books, Accion Latina, The Red Poppy, Galería de La Raza, The Mission Cultural Center, Temo’s Coffee Shop, and Medicine For Nightmares have graciously hosted us and collaborated with us. The festival has also included book release celebrations by Mexican writer Reyna Grande and Salvadoran poet Claudia Castro Luna, workshops, events for los niños, musical and dance performances. At our final event in 2023, the community awards ceremony held in the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, we honored Alejandro Murguia, Profesora Naomi Quiñonez, and Nicaraguan OG poet Roberto Vargas. Last year, we had the opportunity to honor poet, professor, and community organizer Leticia Linares-Hernandez, all culminating in a gathering of poets and delicious food at Medicine For Nightmares Bookstore. Past Flor y Cantos have featured the deep poetry community of Fresno, indigenous poets from Yucatan, young poets from Tijuana and veterano Nuyorican poets, as well as literary luminary familia from the different barrios of Los Angeles – from the 818 to Boyle Heights. The Flor y Canto International Poetry Festival organizing committee continues to be a grassroots, volunteer-based, poet-run festival. This year’s organizers are Ricardo Tavarez, Norman Zelaya, Maria Guerrero, Josiah-Luis Alderete, Lourdes Figueroa, and our art director, Amanda Ayala.

this First Friday’s readers:

Josiah Luis Alderete is a full blooded Spanglish speaking Pocho y left handed callejero de Aztlán who has been part of La Area Bahia’s spoken word scene for over twenty years. He is the curator and host of the long running Latinx reading series Speaking Axolotl and is the author of two books of poetry “Baby Axolotls & Old Pochos(Black Freighter Press 2021) and the chapbook “Fuchi Faces de los Estados Jodidos”(For The Pueblo 2023). In 2023 he was the Poetry Center’s Mazza Writer in Residence at San Francisco State. Along with his bookstore sister Tân Khanh Cao,Josiah tends the portal known as Medicina Para Pesadillas Bookstore y Galeria on 24th street in La Mission

Lourdes Figueroa is an oral chicanx queer poet. Her poems are a dialogue of her lived experience when her family worked in el azadón in Yolo County. The words el azadón are used by the ones who work the fields — the work of tilling the soil under the blistering sun. She is the author of the chapbooks yolotl, Ruidos = To Learn Speak, & most recent Vuelta with Nomadic Press. Her poem Pieces from YOLOTL was nominated for a Pushcart prize by Quiet Lightning in 2022. Lourdes is a recipient of the Nomadic Press Literary award in Poetry. Forthcoming 2024 is her long verse poem I will Kiss your mouth b/w the overgrown Milpa. She lives & works in Oakland–Ohlone tierra. Lourdes continues to believe in your lung and your throat.

Norman Antonio Zelaya is from San Francisco, CA. His writing is inspired by his Nicoya heritage and his lived experience as a SF native and Mission District homeboy. He’s the author of two collections of short fiction, Orlando & Other Stories (Pochino Press, 2017), and most recently, Gente, Folks (Black Freighter Press, 2022). His work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Apogee Journal, NY Tyrant, 14 Hills, and Cipactli, among other journals. Mr. Zelaya has read and lectured throughout California, and across the country. Also, he’s appeared on stage, in film, and in the squared circle as the masked luchador, Super Pulga. He lives and works in San Francisco, where he’s completing a debut novel.

María Guerrero is a queer, Chicanx femme born in San Francisco and raised in Bayview Hunters Point. She currently works as an educator for middle school students and is a graduate student at the University of San Francisco in a MAT program called Urban Education and Social Justice. María uses storytelling to center community, intergenerational and collective traumas, resistance, collective healing, and reimagining possibilities for collective liberation in her work within and outside the margins of the paper.


Made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation.

Type of Event:

Registration Required:

Start Date:
Friday, April 5, 2024, 5:00 pm PST

End Date:
Friday, April 5, 2024, 6:30 pm PST


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