Manifest Differently Poetry Jam #2

Please join Clarion Alley Mural Project for our second Manifest Differently Poetry Jam at the San Francisco Public Library

February 8, 2004 6 – 7pm
San Francisco Public Library Main Branch
100 Larkin Street – Latino/Hispanic Community Room

Poets in this series include:

Avotcja has been published in English & Spanish in the USA, Mexico & Europe, and in more Anthologies than she remembers. She is an award winning Poet & multi-instrumentalist who has opened for Betty Carter in New York City, Black Poets With Attitudes, Bombarengue, Nikki Giovanni, Dwight Trible, Diamano Coura West African Dance Co., The Bay Area Blues Society & Caribeana Etc. Shared stages with Sonia Sanchez, Piri Thomas, Janice Mirikitani, Diane DiPrima, Michael Franti, Jayne Cortez, & is a Bay Area icon with her group Avotcja & Modúpue. Avotcja was the opening act for the legendary Poet Pat Parker the last three years of her life. She both composed & performed the film score for the Danish documentary MuNu.

Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Aileen Cassinetto is an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow and served as the Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, California from January 2019 to June 2022. The founder of Paloma Press and author of two poetry collections, her work has appeared in POETRY and Fellowship Magazine, and in exhibitions including Public Art at Belameda Park, The TRANSCENDIENTS Exhibitions at the Japanese American National Museum, Chromatext Rebooted at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the Hay(na)ku Permanent Exhibition at the San Francisco Filipino American Center, among others. She also produced the short ecopoetry films, “Breathe” (an official selection in the Nature & Culture Poetry Film Festival in Copenhagen) and “decompose” (in collaboration with the Documentary Film Institute). She received a Special Congressional Recognition and was appointed Commissioner on the San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women in 2021.

Clara Hsu is a Chinese American poet born in Hong Kong. She is a mother, piano teacher, traveler, actor, translator, poet, playwright, purveyor of Clarion Music Center (1982-2005) and Executive Director of Clarion Performing Arts Center  (2016 to present). Clara’s first book of poems, Mystique, received honorable mention at the 2010 San Francisco Book Festival. She was short-listed for the erbacce prize 2012 and invited to be a featured poet. Published works include a book of short stories, Babouche Impromptu and Other Moroccan sketches (2008), a full-length book of poems, The First to Escape (2015),  two audio CDs, Voice Pictures I & II (2016) and a complete translations of Lao-Tzu’s Tao-te Ching (2017) with each verse paired with a Clara Hsu poem. Published poems (to name a few) can be found in: New Millennium Writings (2012), Sounds of Harbor (translations of Clara’s work into Dutch and German), The Jung Journal (translations of Chinese poet Yu Xingqiao’s poems), The Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, various anthologies by Silver Birch Press and the internet journals Cha, Poetry Pacific and The Tower Journal.

Mahnaz Badihian is an Iranian/American Poet, painter, and translator whose work has been published in several languages worldwide.   Mahnaz runs the Literary magazine to bring the world’s poetry together.  She finished translating a book about the uprising in Iran in 2009 called “Spalding Arise” with Jack Hirschman, published in San Francisco in 2014. She received her MFA in poetry from Pacific University. Her latest poetry collection,” Raven of Isfahan,” was Published in 2019. She edited 300 pages of Covid, Anthology Art, and poetry from around the world in 2020.   She is a member of the San Francisco RPB (Revolutionary Poet Brigade). In 2018, Mahnaz had three days of an art exhibition in San Francisco. Her new collection of poems,” Ask the Wind.” She was nominated for Pushcart by Vagabond in 2022. Mahnaz traveled to many countries for poetry events, including Kerala, Chile, Cuba, Italy, England, Bolivia, Peru, and more. Mahnaz has the invitation to attend international poetry in Katmundo in February of 2023.

Lauren Ito is a Gosei poet, organizer, and designer who believes liberatory futures begin with creating in community. Lauren delves into the tensions inherited within diasporic experiences, spanning explorations of American concentration camps and the genealogy of home. Her work centers co-creative practices that weave across disciplines and generations. Lauren’s has been featured by The San Francisco Public Library, Japanese American National Museum, the BEAT Museum, Litquake and Mission Arts Performance Project. Her latest project, Political Inheritance, was an arts exhibition at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, examining Asian and Pacific Islander communities’ relationships with political action.

Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu is a Tongan/Pacific Islander scholar, storyteller and community organizer. Her literary work, community service and academic research are all interconnected and they center issues of: climate and environmental justice, ending violence against women, prison abolition and restorative justice and the protection of Indigenous sacred sites here in the Bay Area such as the West Berkeley Shellmound. She graduated with her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2019 and is a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow and Facilitator of the Oceania Research Working Group in the Department of Native American Studies at University of California, Davis. In Fall 2023, she became an Assistant Professor of Oceania: Pacific Islands Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Fui is working with Pacific Islander writers and artists at the University of Hawai’i to organize exchange programs and collaborations to create: public talks, symposiums and publications between the UH and UC Santa Cruz with goals to introduce and to expand Pacific Islander literature and arts to a wider audience that includes the Bay Area, California.


Led by CAMP,  Manifest Differently is a new project developed, curated, and led by Megan Wilson and Kim Shuck with support from independent curator Trisha Lagaso Goldberg. In 2023/24, we are working with 38 diverse, multigenerational visual/media artists and poets to interrogate the history of Manifest Destiny and its legacies of inherited and perpetuated violence, trauma, and addiction. The outgrowth of resistance and resilience – giving fire to movements for social/ culture change. The project will be presented in 2023/24 at seven locations – Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP), Artists’ Television Access (ATA), Minnesota Street Project, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA)Book Castle, the Beat Museum, and the San Francisco Public Library.

Please note:  Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) never called for a boycott of the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) after they would not allow our Wall + Response exhibition to move forward without the removal of one of the four murals being presented, the Arab Liberation Mural, which included a small protest sign that reads “Zionism is Racism,” expressing the lived experience of Palestinians. We did not do this because we fully support our public libraries!

However, CAMP is proud to have stood by our artists and AROC in not caving to the racist decision of SFPL leadership. At the time we felt supported by the over 2,000 letters the Library received in our support and the demand to reinstate the exhibition; today we celebrate that San Francisco has become the largest US city to adopt a resolution for an immediate and sustained ceasefire in the ongoing Israeli bombardment of Gaza. The City received over 65,000 emails and calls demanding Ceasefire Now! Huge Props to AROC for their work to ensure our Human Rights are Upheld!