The Writers' Lunch: The Birth of a Poem | Mechanics' Institute

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The Writers' Lunch: The Birth of a Poem
moderated by Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte

This event will be conducted via Zoom. Register and you will be emailed the Zoom credentials.

Join our writing community for a lively discussion on about the conception, maturation, and birth of a poem. Speakers include Chun Yu, Dr. Jeanne Powell and Douglas Cole. Moderated by Sheryl Bize-Boutte.

Douglas Cole has published six collections of poetry and the novel, The White Field, winner of the American Fiction Award. He is a regular contributor to Mythaxis, an online journal, where in addition to his fiction and essays, his interviews with notable writers, artists and musicians such as Daniel Wallace (Big Fish), Darcy Steinke (Suicide Blond, Flash Count Diary) and Tim Reynolds (T3 and The Dave Matthews Band) have been popular contributions. He also writes a regular monthly column called “Trading Fours” for Jerry Jazz Musician and has recently been named the editor for “American Poetry” in Read Carpet, an international, predominantly Spanish-language journal produced by Maria Del Castillo Sucerquia from Columbia. In addition to the American Fiction Award, he was awarded the Leslie Hunt Memorial prize in poetry, the Editors’ Choice Award for fiction by RiverSedge, and has been nominated three time for a Pushcart and Best of the Net. He lives and teaches in Seattle, Washington. His website is

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 for more information.

Chun Yu, Ph.D. is an award-winning bilingual (English and Chinese) poet, graphic novelist, scientist, and translator. She is the author of the multi-award winning memoir in verse Little Green: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution (Simon & Schuster) and a historical graphic novel in progress (Macmillan). Her poetry and translations have been published by Arion Press (2021 bilingual broadside), Orion (Autumn 2021 bilingual broadside), Boston Herald, Poetry Northwest, Xin Hua Daily, Poem of the Day, Obsidian, Catamaran, Chautauqua, Konch, Indelible, Nomadic Press, and others. She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee (2021 & 2022) and an awardee of China’s Xu Zhimo Micro Poem Competition (2022). She is an honoree of the YBCA 100 award (2020) for creative changemakers. She has won grants from San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach, Poets & Writers, and Sankofa Fund. Her work is taught in world history and culture classes. Chun holds a B.S. and M.S. from Peking University and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in chemistry and biomaterials. She was a post-doctoral fellow in a Harvard-MIT joint program. Her websites:, Two Languages/One Community, and Chinese American Stories.

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 and is the namesake of the No Poetry No Peace™ series at the Mechanics Institute of San Francisco. Her in progress novel first chapter, “The Burden Keeper,” was the 2021 fiction category winner for the San Francisco Writers Conference writing contest anthology. An inaugural Oakland Poet Laureate runner-up, she is also a popular, teacher, literary reader, presenter, storyteller, curator, and emcee/host for literary and poetry events. Find out more at

The Writers' Lunch is a casual brown-bag lunch activity on the 3rd Friday of each month. Look forward to craft discussion, informal presentations on all forms of writing, and excellent conversation. Please contact Taryn Edwards if you have any questions or if you would like to be a panelist - [email protected]

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