hterrell's blog | Page 3 | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

hterrell's blog

Artifical Intelligence: Real Ethics

Some big names in technology – notably, LinkedIn and eBay founders Reid Hoffman and Pierre Omidyar – support the creation of ethical standards that protect society from artificial intelligence, and it's not just lip service. It was announced recently that the two have each donated $10,000,000 to the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund. This project, jointly run by Harvard's Berkman-Klein Center and MIT Media Lab, has attracted the assistance of the Hewlett and Knight Foundations, as well the attention of major media outlets from The Guardian to Wired.

All of this fuss begs the question. If some of the smartest people in the tech industry are worried about the dangers of unregulated AI technologies, then the rest of us should probably pay attention, right?

The Mechanics' Institute Library contains many books (50+ by my count!) to help you get up to speed on issues in AI. Here are a few on my must-read list:


What to think about machines that think: today's leading thinkers on the age of machine intelligence, edited by John Brockman

No longer just a matter for speculative fiction, the realities of intelligent technology – in forms already being integrated into our daily lives as well as those to come – are considered by the world’s most influential scientists, philosophers, and artists.


Our final invention: artificial intelligence and the end of the human era, by James Barrat

Corporations and government agencies around the world are pouring billions into achieving AI's Holy Grail: human-level intelligence. Once AI has attained it, scientists argue, it will have survival drives akin to our own. Documentarian James Barrat considers a future in which humans may be forced to compete with a rival more cunning, more powerful, and more alien than we can imagine.


Edison's Eve : a magical history of the quest for mechanical life, by Gaby Wood

From the inventor whose mechanical duck seemingly digested and excreted its food, to scientists trying to build a robot with emotions of its own – the author examines what lies behind our age-old pursuit to create mechanical life and considers what this pursuit might tell us about human nature.


Superintelligence: paths, dangers, strategies, by Nick Bostrom

The human brain has capabilities that the brains of other animals lack – capabilities to which our species owes its dominant position, despite not having the sharpest claws or being the fastest runners. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, the fate of our species may come to depend on the actions of machine superintelligence. In this Darwinian struggle, humans have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Bostrom discusses considerations that may make it possible to engineer initial AI conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable.

Posted on Jan. 11, 2017 by Heather Terrell

Start Your Planning in October: November is National Novel Writing Month!

Do you dream of writing the Great American Novel? Maybe you're a novice who'd like to try your hand at writing fiction. Or you may be looking for a kick in the pants to finally finish the story that's been knocking around in your head for years. November is coming, and that means NaNoWriMo. What the heck is NaNoWriMo, you ask?

Every year during NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing Month -- participants set a goal to write 50,000 words in 30 days. The starting gun goes off at the stroke of midnight on November 1st, and the orgainizers call pencils down at 11:59 p.m. on November 30th! The purpose of this month of intensive writing is to get participants moving in the right direction with their wiritng practice, and to have fun doing it. The aim is not to have a polished story by the end of the month, but to have a piece of work to start revising. No one is promising you'll end the month with a masterpiece, but you just may start down the path to your own best work by writing a bad first draft in a mad dash to the November 30th finish line!

Just a few published books that began life as NaNoWriMo experiments include, Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, The God Patent by Ransom Stephens, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. You can find the full list of traditionally published NaNoWriMo novels (398 and counting) and the list of self-published NaNoWriMo novels (212 to date) here:

In October, many veteran WriMo novelists begin planning their novel: outlining, organizing writing groups, reading craft books or fiction to emulate, and getting geared up to put pen to paper beginning November 1st. Find out everything you've ever wanted to know about NaNoWriMo at their website, Then join us for our NaNoWriMo Kickoff on October 28th to finish up your novel planning, and meet other writers in our online space dedicated to Mechanics' Institute's NaNoWriMo participants at If you'd like to join this virtual group, contact me at and I'll set you up with a login and a username.


Posted on Oct. 3, 2016 by Heather Terrell

Members' Favorite Library Materials, Part IV: More Non-Fiction

This series of posts was prompted by a recent statistical report of library circulation. In part I, we explored Mechanics’ Institute members’ favorite fiction and film. In part II, we looked at the non-traditional formats you’re enjoying – from music and magazines to audio- and ebooks. Part III covered some of your non-fiction interests in history, politics, art, and social justice. In this final installment, I’ll list some of your favorite books in a few popular areas of our non-fiction collection: memoir, science, and cookbooks!

Members checked out memoirs and biographies over 400 times this year.

Fusing your interest in art (mentioned in part III) with another popular subject area, you clamored to read Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann, who is best known for her large-scale black and white photographs of her family, as well as epic landscapes.

H is For Hawk incorporates Helen MacDonald’s professional work – she is a research scholar at Cambridge’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science – and her personal life, in a gripping memoir of the year after her father’s death, which she spent training a goshawk, deftly interwoven with biographical material about the naturalist T.H. White.

You also enjoyed Vivian Gornick’s narrative collage, The Odd Woman and the City, which is framed within an exchange between Gornick and her friend Leonard; this memoir includes meditative pieces on the making of a modern feminist, the role of the flâneur in urban literature, and the evolution of friendship over the past two centuries.

Members selected books on science and medicine over 500 times this year.

When Breath Becomes Air is the powerful work of the late Paul Kalanithi, who at age 36, was a husband, a new father, a neurosurgeon, and a cancer patient. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with, in this memoir confronting the challenge of facing death, and exploring the relationship between doctor and patient, from a writer who found himself in both roles.

Another bestselling book on medicine and mortality was Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. The author addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life matters just as much as quantity, outlining how the goals of medicine can run counter to the interest of the human spirit – that doctors are often focused on extending life, but accomplish this via procedures that ultimately extend suffering. Gawande explores the question of how medicine can improve life, and also how it can improve the process of its ending, offering models of socially fulfilling endings.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is a playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, explaining Einstein's general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role humans play in this weird and wonderful world. Author Carlo Rovelli is a renowned theoretical physicist, who in this work celebrates the joy of discovery.

Members borrowed books on food and cooking over 400 times this year.

Verdure: vegetable recipes from the American Academy in Rome is a collaboration among the kitchen and the American Academy in Rome’s garden, the artisan producers, and the organic farmers who provide the raw ingredients used in each dish. Its 92 recipes are arranged seasonally. Week by week, it can be used to navigate the harvest of the farmer’s market. Frugality is a consideration; maximizing flavor is paramount. The recipes are simple, but rise above the fundamental. 

You’ve also been keen on cookbooks from the Food52 website. With her wildly popular New Veganism column on the site, Gena Hamshaw has inspired home cooks to incorporate plant-based recipes into their everyday routine. Food 52 vegan: 60 vegetable-driven recipes for any kitchen is her collection of all-new recipes plus beloved favorites from the column, illustrating innovative ways to cook with fresh produce and whole foods. Food52 Executive Editor Kristen Miglore says that “genius recipes” are those that surprise us and make us rethink the way we cook. They might involve an unexpectedly simple technique, debunk a kitchen myth, or apply a familiar ingredient in a new way. Food52 genius recipes: 100 recipes that will change the way you cook includes recipes from many sources which do just that.

We librarians are always interested to see which of the books we selected are most popular with members. You checked out about 13% of the 130,000+ materials on our shelves this year, which is a ratio that compares favorably with libraries of our size and service community.

The Library focuses on providing a patron-driven collection: we’re trying to build a collection that gives you what you want to read, and builds on your interests to expose you to materials that you didn’t even know you wanted to read! Don’t forget to take advantage of our Purchase Suggestion function when you hear about something you’d like us to add to the collection. On behalf of Mechanics’ Institute library staff, thanks for engaging deeply with our collection. Here’s to another year of story, information, and reading!

Posted on Aug. 16, 2016 by Heather Terrell

Members' Favorite Library Materials, Part III: Non-Fiction

As noted in previous installments of this series (part I and part II), Mechanics’ Institute members love fiction, graphic novels, and materials in a variety of non-print formats. But you’re reading plenty of non-fiction too, to the tune of 7000+ checkouts. That’s almost 40% of our total circulation this year! Read on to find out more about a few of the subjects you found most interesting in the last twelve months.

You spent a lot of time on the 2nd floor balcony: multi-national history is your favorite area of non-fiction, at 841 checkouts. You seemed to start your journey close to home with Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot, expanding to The American West: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Aron, before going further afield with books like Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia by Anne Garrels and Street Fight in Naples by Peter Robb.

Moving to the 3rd floor balcony, you’re also interested in politics and law. The Mechanics’ Institute hosted David Talbot this year, and you responded in droves by reading his book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, following it up with Jane Mayer’s Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. Paying tribute to iconic Supreme Court Justice, you repeatedly checked out Notorious RBG: the Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik.

Social justice seems to be a topic on everyone’s mind. Pulitzer Finalist and National Book Award-winner, Between the World and Me was the most-circulated book in this category. It is structured as a letter to the teenage son of author Ta-Nehisi Coates, and outlines the dangerous realities of being black in the United States. Coates has been called a successor to literary great James Baldwin, so if you liked this book, check out Baldwin’s essays, fiction, and plays on our shelves as well. Another New York Times Bestseller and Oprah’s Book Club pick, you borrowed Gloria Steinem’s chronicle of her own history and the fledgling equality movement of the 1960s, My Life on the Road. To use a phrase uttered by Secretary Hillary Clinton when, as First Lady, she declined to tone down her remarks on gender justice at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995, “…Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights!" You also explored Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond’s landmark work of scholarship and reportage: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. If you’d like to find out how you might be able to help, visit the EVICTED website.

Your interest in urban studies and art is palpable; the highest circulating titles in this area are listed below.

Streetopia compiles the art from the San Francisco exhibition, juxtaposing the pieces with contextual essays on artist response to gentrification, the state of public space, displacement, and the role that art can play in either aiding or resisting these forces.

Olivia Lang asks, what does it mean to be lonely? How do we connect with other people? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens? The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone explores Lang’s feelings of isolation as a NYC transplant, and chronicles her engagement with “the magical possibilities of art.”

Art critic and documentarian Robert Hughes was known for his contentious critiques of art and artists – in elegant and incisive prose, he raised his own body of criticism to the level of art. The Spectacle of Skill: New and Selected Writings of Robert Hughes collects selected work, including pieces from his unfinished memoir.

These are all fascinating reading selections, and if you haven’t gotten around to reading some of these yet, find them on our shelves. I’ll discuss more of your favorite non-fiction in the final installment of this series. Do you have any guesses about what other subjects you're clamoring for?

Posted on Aug. 15, 2016 by Heather Terrell

Members' Favorite Library Materials, Part II: Non-Traditional Formats

Have you added a few items to your reading list based on the fiction and DVDs your fellow Mechanics’ Institute members are checking out?

Over the past twelve months, members have been borrowing about 71 items each day. Here in part II, I’ll continue revealing your favorite subjects, based on what Library users checked out this year. Your hint from part I was "non-traditional formats". In other words, you’re not just checking out paper and text-block books these days!

You’re interested in ebooks, periodicals, audio books, music CDs, and graphic novels.

This year, the Library acquired 179 new ebooks through our tablet-compatible vendor, Axis 360, and these new materials were checked out by members 878 times – that’s almost 5 checkouts for every ebook! A few of your favorites included Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, John Grisham's Rogue Lawyer, Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, and Jonathan Franzen's novel, Purity.

If you frequent the third floor periodicals department, you won't be surprised that magazines account for 8% of our total circulation – third in line behind fiction and DVDs! Your favorite serial publications include The New Yorker, Scientific American, N+1, Bust, and The Atlantic.

You’re also checking out audio books at an astonishing rate – more often than every non-fiction subject except history! You are interested in bestselling authors, and many of your favorite audio books are also your favorite print books. Top checkouts include Four Seasons in Rome by Pulitzer Prize-winner Anthony Doerr, and New York Times bestseller The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins – this book was a triple-threat, garnering a place on the highest-circulation lists for print fiction, audiobook, and ebook checkouts!

Our members have eclectic taste in music. You’re listening to the queen of the power ballad, having checked out Adele’s 25 more often than any other CD. Also on the top five are jazz great Taj Mahal, famed composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, and Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra!

The Library maintains an impressive collection of graphic novels, as well as graphic non-fiction. You checked out over 400 graphic works this year, including memoir (Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist and My Degeneration: A Journey Through Parkinson’s), series (Lone Wolf & Cub and Saga), and historical fiction (Boxers and Saints). But let's not forget the roots of the graphic novel -- comics! Your favorite superheroes this year included Ms. Marvel and Wonder Woman.

Lest you worry your fellow members aren't getting enough non-fiction reading in, do not fret! Find out more in the next installment...

Posted on Aug. 11, 2016 by Heather Terrell

Members' Favorite Library Materials, Part I: Fiction & DVDs

Ever wonder what your fellow Mechanics’ Institute members are exploring? This year, members checked out nearly 16,000 items – with many of those circulating multiple times for a total circulation of more than 25,000. That works out to 71 checkouts every day the Library was open over the last twelve months!  I’m going to give you the skinny on your favorite subjects, based on what members borrowed from the Library this year. We’ll start with the highest circulating items in our collection.

You love fiction and DVDs.

The majority of the fiction you’re reading is non-genre literature (50%). A few standouts this year were Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton, a novel about the painful and tender relationship between a mother and daughter, and Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, together forming a moving portrait of the friendship between two women, as well as a portrayal of the city they inhabit from the 1950s onward.

Mystery and suspense comes in second at 38% of the fiction you checked out. Authors who topped the list of mysteries most circulated include Thomas Perry, Benjamin Black, Ian Rankin, Charles Todd, and David Baldacci.

You’re also reading historical fiction, science fiction, and short stories by a single author. Your favorite science fiction book was The Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins. Short story collections that struck your fancy included A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin, The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra, Can & Cant’tankerous by Harlan Ellison, and What is Not Yours is Not Yours by one of my favorite authors, Helen Oyeyemi.

Of the items you checked out more than five times this year, 50% were DVDs. I was delighted to discover what interesting and varied taste you have! Top DVDs include the critically-acclaimed documentary Amy, noir classic Murder, My Sweet, the final season of Downton Abbey, Ian Fleming’s irrepressible Bond in Spectre, and a smattering of films based on true events and books: The Martian (one of President Obama’s favorite films of 2015, BTW), The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Spotlight, and Brooklyn. Of note is that both The Big Short and Brooklyn were top checkouts from our print collection this year too. Apparently, you like to read the book before the movie comes out! Your favorite foreign-language films included Barbara, the German entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2012, and Patrice Leconte’s Confidences Trop Intimes, a French romantic drama about a woman seeking psychiatric counseling who mistakes an accountant for her therapist.

Stay tuned for more info on what members are checking out. I'll give you a hint: non-traditional formats!

Posted on Aug. 9, 2016 by Heather Terrell

Body of Knowledge

Are you weary of the weight-loss treadmill? Ever think, can't I just go for a run because it feels great, not because it burns 100 calories per mile? Do you question beauty standards passed down from the patriarchy which dictated the mores and manners of our mothers' mothers and wonder whether a calorie is really always just a calorie? If you've read articles like the recent New York Times piece about Biggest Loser winners' metabolisms gone haywire from extreme weight loss, you might be beginning to question the supposed infallibility of the Diet Industrial Complex. Here are a few books, straight off the Mechanics' Institute Library shelves, to get you started thinking about your own body and the bodies of others in a whole new light.


Shall we begin with the divine inspiration that is Lindy West? Jenny Lawson, author of Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy, calls West's book, “Required reading if you are a feminist. Recommended reading if you aren’t.”

Shrill by Lindy West

Like the best comedians, West cuts through the cultural B.S. to illuminate just how surreal certain elements of culture have become, illustrating the many intersections of absurdity, and how a feminist perspective provides a firm grounding in what makes sense, and what is ridiculous enough to be laughable. And you’ll laugh a lot, as you explore the nuances of body politics, reproductive rights, and internet trolls with your delightful guide to modern feminist thought, Lindy West!

Get thinky with a collection of pieces that'll expose you to a diversity of scholarly perspectives in the field of fat studies.

The Fat Studies Reader edited by Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solovay, with a foreword by Marilyn Wann, of the iconic zine FAT?SO!

For decades, a growing cadre of researchers has examined the role of body weight in society, critiquing underlying assumptions, prejudices, and the effects of how people perceive and interact with fat. Including forty studies spanning diverse perspectives on fatness, this book collects the essential texts of the field. Edited by two leaders in fat studies, this is an essential resource to begin exploring the key ideas and perspectives of thinkers in this field.

Now that you've got the undergirding philosophy down, get a bit of science under your belt with these books analyzing the research:

Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss and the Myths and Realities of Dieting by Gina Kolata

A New York Times science writer uses medical research and incisive reportage to show that culture’s obsession with dieting and weight loss is less about health than about money, power, fashion trends, and impossible ideals.

The Obesity Paradox by Carl Lavie, MD

The term "obesity epidemic" is a common buzz-phrase in the national conversation on health, but Dr. Lavie challenges assumptions about the relationship of weight and health in this book, which uses medical research to posit that, among other things, body mass index isn't the authoritative measure of health that we commonly believe it to be.

The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health by Paul Campos

Is your weight hazardous to your health? Campos dissects the medical studies, interrogates doctors, scientists, and psychologists, and makes a compelling argument that we safeguard our health not by focusing on the number on the scale, but by being more active, and rejecting the weight loss hysteria that feeds the diet industry's profit margins.

If you're ready to move on to personal body politics, start with the work of two writers from the front lines of the early-aughts fat-o-sphere, a community of bloggers who decided to reclaim the word "fat" as an adjective of empowerment.

Lessons From the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby

The bad news: there probably isn’t a thin person inside you waiting to get out. Good news: there just might be a happy, confident, awesome fat person in there! If the idea that “fat” is just a descriptor -- like “thin” or “tall” or "blonde” is a descriptor -- is a new concept you'd like to explore, begin here. Dig into ideas like: health includes mental well-being, physical well-being is determined by your activity level, not your BMI, oh, and one more thing: there is no moral imperative to be focused more heavily (pun intended) on one’s physical health than on other areas of one’s life. Whether couch surfer or gym rat, fat people have a right to take up space too!

It's key, at this point, to get used to looking at fat bodies, to begin "normalizing" all bodies in your mind. Check out publications like BUST, a feminist culture magazine, in our periodicals department. This magazine includes people of all sizes in their fashion layouts, and -- BONUS -- it includes interesting pieces on music, books, movies, celebrities, and current issues/events that you won't see elsewhere, from the silly to the sublime. There's also a vibrant culture of fashion blogs out there on the world wide web to explore, like French fashion model Clementine Dessaux's bonjourclem and blogger Gisella Francisca's eponymous blog. Not to leave men out of this dialogue, check out menswear designer Michael-Anthony's blog The Big Fashion Guy.

By now, I hope you're loving your body no matter what shape it's in. If you find yourself itching to get moving, check out Hanne Blank's book.

The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts by Hanne Blank

The author writes, “Exercise is not important because it’ll make you thin (it won’t necessarily do anything of the kind) or because it’ll give you perfect and enduring health (it won’t necessarily do that either)… [Exercise] is crucially important because it is something that makes it possible for you and your body to coexist in better and more integrated ways. It builds a bridge across the mind-body split.”

This guide is both philosophical and practical, including lists like “30 Things to Love about Exercise (None of Which Have Anything to Do with…What You Look Like)”, a chapter on common sports injuries and what to do about them, and mantras such as “Claim the right to be unattractive (just like anybody else).” Inspiring and useful, this book is for everyone who’d like to become more active without obsessing over the scale, and for anyone who’d like to achieve health at any size.

Whether you're "overweight", "underweight", or anywhere in between, these books might make you question the accepted dogma about weight and health, and embark on a life lived every size!

Posted on Jul. 13, 2016 by Heather Terrell

School's Out For Summer

In the first half of 2016, Mechanics' Institute Librarians have taught more than twenty-five classes and workshops on topics including:

  • Investment newspapers, databses, newsletters, magazines, and other financial resources
  • Web basics, search and browsing, email etiquette, and social media
  • Library databases, including, Hoover's, Consumer Reports, and Value Line Resource Center
  • Library downloads, including Ebooks, Emagazines, and Eaudiobooks
  • Technology office hours


We want to know if you're happy with our educational program:

  • What were your favorite classes this year, and what was it about them that you loved? What would you like to see more of? Do you prefer hands-on classes, workshops, lectures, or a mixture of these elements? What class topic suggestions do you have for our librarians?
  • You can find some of our class materials on our Research Guides page under the Class Materials heading. Are these helpful?
  • How do you find out about classes (print brochures, website, at the reference desk, other)?

Share your thoughts: Contact me with feedback on the library's educational programming. In July and August, we'll refresh and regroup, reconvening our instructional programs in September. Meanwhile, put some of those newfound skills to use, take in an event, check out a book group, or just head to the beach with a good book!

Posted on Jul. 5, 2016 by Heather Terrell

Member Artist Exhibit

You may have noticed the new exhibit cabinet on the 4th floor of the Mechanics' Institute, and if so you've probably also noticed the amazing art showcased there. We began rotating member art into the display in January, to the delight of Mechanics' Institute visitors, staff, and members -- and have thus far hosted the work of Don Anderson, Linda Martinez, and Pat Brown -- keep watching for more member artists' work in the future.

If you are a Mechanics' Institute member and an artist with visual representation of your work, contact Heather Terrell at with questions, or to coordinate an exhibit so that fellow members can enjoy and draw inspiration from your creative expression. We welcome drawings, paintings, scultpure, printmaking, bookmaking, decorative arts, fashion and industrial design, and any other visual representation of your art that fits into our display case.


(image: Linda Martinez in a film still from Secrets of the Shadow World by George Kuchar)

Posted on Jun. 20, 2016 by Heather Terrell

San Francisco Writers, Sharpen Your Pencils!

The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library have cordially invited Mechanics’ Institute member writers to submit work to their annual poetry contest, readers’ series, and publication, Poets 11. This contest is open to all San Francisco residents 18 and older; participants may submit up to three poems by the June 15th deadline.

Poets 11 collects poems from each of San Francisco’s 11 districts, compiles them into a printed anthology, and holds poetry readings in SFPL branch libraries. Renowned local poet and activist Jack Hirschman chooses the submissions to be included in the anthology, and the selected poets will receive a $50 honorarium, along with publication and the opportunity to read their work in front of an audience. Find out more on the Friends of the SFPL blog.

If you’d like to brush up on your poetry writing and revision skills before submitting your work, check out a few of these titles at the Mechanics’ Institute Library:

The Craft of Poetry; Interviews From the New York Quarterly

The Poetry Home Repair Manual

Singing School: Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry by Studying With the Masters


Look for Poets 11 anthologies (2011 - 2015), coming soon to the Mechanics’ Institute Library stacks. Submit your work, and maybe your poetry will find its way onto our shelves this year!

For more information, and to access the submission form for this contest, please visit:

Posted on May. 20, 2016 by Heather Terrell