No Poetry No Peace: a reading and celebration of human expression and peace | Mechanics' Institute

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No Poetry No Peace: a reading and celebration of human expression and peace
hosted by Sheryl Bize-Boutte

This event is produced in partnership with the San Francisco Writers Conference.

Please register via Eventbrite and the Zoom credentials will be sent to you when you register and a few days prior to the event.

Questions? Contact Taryn Edwards, [email protected]

Join us and a selection of poets – some local, some far flung - to explore how "poetry provides pathways for creative and cathartic human expression and peace." The No Poetry No Peace series happens twice a year and the title comes from a collection written by Sheryl Bize-Boutte and her daughter Dr. Angela Boutte.

About our poets

Award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte is an Oakland multidisciplinary writer whose autobiographical and fictional short story collections, along with her lyrical and stunning poetry, artfully succeed in getting across deeper meanings about the politics of race and economics without breaking out of the narrative.  Her writing has been variously described as "rich in vivid imagery," "incredible," and "great contributions to literature." Her first novel, Betrayal on the Bayou, was published in June 2020 and a poetry collection she has written with her daughter Dr. Angela M. Boutte, titled No Poetry No Peace, was published in August 2020.  An inaugural Oakland Poet Laureate runner-up, she is also a popular literary reader, presenter, storyteller, curator, and emcee for local events. Find out more at

Dr. Jeanne Powell is author of poetry and essays, with five books in print, and a cultural critic online []. She is a writing consultant and college instructor.  See

Karla Brundage is author of two books of poetry, including Swallowing Watermelons, and co-author of Mulatta–Not so Tragic. Her work as editor and publisher for Pacific Raven Press has included authors in the Bay Area, Hawaii, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya in the following anthologies:  Sisters Across Oceans, Our Spirits Carry Our Voices, and Black Rootedness: 54 Poets from Africa to America.  Media credits include Sister Power on ThinkTech Hawaii, C-SPAN, LitSeen, Wanda's Picks and Chills at Will Podcast. Her poetry, essays and short stories can be found in Konch, Literary Magazine, sPARKLE & bLINK, MiGoZine, Black Fire This Time, Essential Truths, and A Gathering of Tribes: Black Lives Matter Issue amongst others.  A graduate of Vassar College, Mills College MFA Program, and San Francisco State Clinical Schools Project, Karla is host of Ugly Beauty Poetry Series and founder of West Oakland to West Africa Poetry Exchange.

Karla has been lucky enough to work with Rhodessa Jones in the Medea Project and to perform in several choreopoems bringing diverse voices to the stage in works such as The Herstories Project, When you Think of Me, Earth Peace and Black Rootedness.As a high school teacher, Karla has traveled to Cote d'Ivoire where she taught for three years, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Tanzania. In all her travels Karla has sought cultural understanding, connection and to experience the shared humanity and healing that can occur when sharing stories. Her newest collection Blood Lies: Race Trader will be published in 2024 by Finishing Line Press.  Please see Karla for pre-ordering details.

Born in San Francisco, Sandra Wassilie has lived most of her life in Alaska, involved in dog mushing as a kid, mountain running as an adult, raising her two sons, and having a long career in adult and vocational education. A resident of Oakland since 2007, she frequently returns north to visit her children and grandchildren of mixed Scottish-Irish-Mexican and Yup’ik Eskimo heritage. For more than 60 years, she has witnessed changes to the earth and its indigenous cultures. She writes of places she has inhabited and of the adaptations people make to survive loss and the continuous change inevitable in an increasingly crowded, often confusing but beautiful, culturally diverse world. Wassilie has served as managing and poetry editors for Fourteen Hills (2012-14), and co-founded the Bay Area Generations Reading Series that hosted monthly multigenerational readings continuously for seven years (2013-20).  Her first book, The Dream That Is Childhood: A Memoir in Verse about growing up in the territory of Alaska during the 1950s was recently published by Cirque Press (2020). Her poetry also appears in a chapbook Smoke Lifts (2014) and in several literary publications. Wassilie is recipient of the Ann Fields Award  (2011) from San Francisco State University and the first Celestine Award (2014) from Holy Names University for poetry. She is currently working on a collection of poems about her California origins over several generations called Anadromous Daughter, and a novel, The Recesses, about a young woman finding her identity during the tumultuous 1960-70s.  

Terry Tierney is the author of a poetry collection, The Poet’s Garage, and the novels Lucky Ride and The Bridge on Beer River (July 2023) published by Unsolicited Press. His stories and poems have appeared in over seventy literary journals, including Ghost Parachute, Fictive Dreams, Rust + Moth, Typishly, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Lake, Third Wednesday, Puerto del Sol, and Poetry Northwest. His website is







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