Photo credit: Alexandra Mattraw
People packed into the Latin American Club in the early evening of Saturday, October 15th, perhaps to escape the first real rainfall of the season in San Francisco, perhaps to flock to the notoriously strong and delicious margaritas that the local venue had to offer, but either way, what the people got was a night filled with beautiful prose and poetry read by past contributors of Eleven Eleven and of Fourteen Hills.
While some at the venue were caught unawares of the annual literary festival, the loud and rowdy room soon grew silent as stories began to flow over the loudspeakers. With the music turned down, only the clik-clak of glasses and drinks being served sounded along with the readers work as each stepped up to the mic. Eleven Eleven’s Rochelle Spencer set the tone as the first on the mic for the night, getting the crowd nice and loose with a story about love and astrology.
Alexandra Mattraw followed, veering into issues near and dear to our collective San Francisco heart with her poems about being priced out of San Francisco and her newfound home in Oakland. Robert Andrew Perez and Tom Pyun wrapped up Eleven Eleven’s portion with sincere, hilarious, heart-wrenching stories about the queer identity and romance.
With tires rolling heavily against the newly damp asphalt outside, the night continued on with Fourteen Hills’ portion. Idrissa Simmonds read her poetry about Haitian mothers, Brooklyn, and the tragedy of Hurricane Matthew. Linda Norton followed up with her poetry, which appears in Issue 22.2, and Deborah Steinberg closed out the night with readings of her works from several publications, focusing on loss and healing.