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New Bay Area BIPOC Anthology ESSENTIAL TRUTHS Will Launch June 30

This anthology includes poetry, prose and visual art from 130 contributors—Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ and a few White allies.

New Bay Area BIPOC Anthology ESSENTIAL TRUTHS Will Launch June 30

Award winning author, poet, editor, activist and third-generation Japanese-American artist Shizue Seigel today announced the forthcoming release on June 30 of Essential Truths, The Bay Area in Color, a robust and timely anthology featuring 130 BIPOC writers, poets and artists reflecting on recent and current Bay Area realities.

Carefully edited by Shizue Seigel, the book was adjudicated by a seven-member editorial committee comprised of a wide-ranging assemblage of writers, poets, professors and students. Essential Truths is the fourth anthology of Bay Area BIPOC artists presented under the aegis of Seigel's successful and highly popular Write Now! SF Bay program and published by San Francisco's Pease Press.

The pandemic and other profound national and regional events have tested every fiber of our being and shaken relationships with family, community, the nation, and the earth itself. As our basic assumptions about life were upended again and again, what essential truths emerged?

This anthology includes poetry, prose and visual art from 130 contributors-Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ and a few White allies -- ranging from poets- laureates and PhDs to high-school students and closet writers; from fire commissioners to the formerly unhoused.

Seigel said, "Our work is not always polished, but it arises from the lived experience of grappling with real issues of the day. We may write in the vernacular, or English may be our second or third language. If our rhythms are unfamiliar, ask yourself why-is our work inflected by other tongues and vernaculars, rusty from disuse, scattered by stress or trauma, struggling out silence, or hastily scribbled on borrowed time? Old ways are dissolving, and change is in the air. BIPOC arts and activism have been here all along. Now we are stepping into the light."

Kim Shuck, San Francisco Poet Laureate Emerita, commented, "Shizue Seigel and Write Now! have done it again. This book represents a whole biome of poetics, not just the people you see regularly published but practitioners at many levels." "Essential Truths is poem ritual, art ritual, practice, life, and care," continued Shuck. "Every time I've peeked into this epic work, I've found home and self and other things I thought I'd misplaced. Take a look, there may be things you need in here too."

Essential Truths will be launched Wednesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. with a free virtual reading hosted by the San Francisco Public Library and will feature a variety of writers, poets and artists including Kim Shuck, Shizue Deigel, An Bui, Andre Le Monte Wilson, Christl Perkins, Dena Rod, Francee Covington, Karla Brundage, Kevin Madrigal, Lena Begonia, Lorraine Bonner, Mihee Kim, Tehmina Khan, Yeva Johnson, Vanessa Cabrera, and Venus Zahura Noble. The public is invited to register for this event by visiting: A complete list of the June 30th readers' affiliations is found here: SFPL Readers

Oakland Asian Cultural Center in partnership with Write Now! SF Bay, will host an East Bay Showcase of Essential Truths on Thursday, July 22 at 7 p.m. This free virtual event will begin with an Invocation by the Poet Laureate of Berkeley, Rafael Jesús González, and will feature 18 BIPOC writers and poets in lively readings and presentations from the Essential Truths anthology, including Avotcja, Clara Hsu, danny ryu, Darzelle Oliveros, Dianne Leo-Omine, Elmaz Abinader, Kelechi Ubozoh, Karen Seneferu, Kimi Sugioka, Sandra Bass, Shirley Huey, Shizue Seigel, Sridevi Ramanathan, Susana Praver-Pérez, Tiny (aka Lisa Gray-Garcia), Tony Aldorondo, Tureeda Mikell, and Wanda Sabir. To register for this event, visit A complete list of Oakland Asian Cultural Center readers' affiliations can be found here: OACC Readers

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