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VIRTUAL: Wall + Response: Youssef Alaoui, Jason Bayani, Genny Lim & Michael Warr

June 25 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm PDT

Booksmith and The Bindery are proud to host a four-event series presented by Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) called Wall + Response, featuring sixteen Bay Area poets responding to the social/ political/ racial/ justice narratives of four murals on Clarion Alley.

Curated by CAMP artist and organizer Megan Wilson (wall) and poet Maw Shein Win (response), the fourth and final event in the series features Youssef AlaouiJason BayaniGenny Lim and Michael Warr responding to the mural The Will To Live (2018)by Art Forces, Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC), and Arab Youth Organizing (AYO).

The Will To Live (2018)by Art Forces, Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC), and Arab Youth Organizing (AYO) celebrates and honors the lives of six Arab leaders: Rasmea Odeh, Mehdi Ben Barka, Naji Diafullah, Leila Khaled, Basel Al Araj, and Yasser Mortaja. The mural manifests and expresses the resilience and resistance of the Bay Area community to attacks on freedom and liberties of Arab, Muslim, people of color, immigrants and refugees. The Will To Live is one of five murals on Clarion Alley with messaging in support of Palestine and in solidarity to call an end to Israel’s apartheid and settler colonial state. The five murals have been hit with hate crime vandalism 21 times in the past two years, between September 2018 – September 2020. CAMP and its artists continue to repair the works as an act of resilience and in support of the global movement for the Palestinian right of return.

This virtual event is free and all ages, but RSVP is required.


Wall + Response was originally conceived to culminate in four quarterly public events to be presented on Clarion Alley. However, due to the pandemic the poets will instead be filmed by videographer Mahima Kotian reading their work in front of the murals on Clarion Alley. Kotian will be creating videos for each series that will be presented as part of live online events (of which this is the first). All the events are free and open to the public.

The poets are creating new poems in response to the murals, and will be reading those and other selected works at the events. The specific dates for each event will be announced in the month prior to the event.

Wall + Response is made possible by the generous support of the San Francisco Art Commission and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.


Youssef Alaoui is a Moroccan Colombian American. His family and heritage are an endless source of inspiration for his varied, dark, spiritual and carnal writings. He has an MFA in Poetics from New College of California. His work has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Big Bridge, 580 Split, Dusie Press, RIVET Journal, Paris Lit Up, The Opiate, and nominated for a Pushcart at Full of Crow. His short story collection “Fiercer Monsters” was published by Nomadic Press of Oakland, CA. His poetry collection “Critics of Mystery Marvel” was published by 2Leaf Press of NYC. www.youssefalaoui.info

Jason Bayani is the author ofLocus (Omnidawn Publishing 2019) and Amulet (Write Bloody Publishing 2013). He’s an MFA graduate from Saint Mary’s College, a Kundiman fellow, and works as the artistic director for Kearny Street Workshop, the oldest multi-disciplinary Asian Pacific American arts organization in the country. His publishing credits include World Literature Today, Muzzle Magazine, Lantern Review, and other publications. Jason performs regularly around the country and debuted his solo theater show “Locus of Control” in 2016 with theatrical runs in San Francisco, New York, and Austin.

Genny Lim is San Francisco Jazz Poet Laureate emeritus. Her most recent poetry-music collaboration, Don’t Shoot! Requiem in Black, dedicated to Black Lives Matter, premiered at SF Jazz Center in April 2018 with Marshall Trammell, Francis Wong, and Equipto. Lim’s award-winning play, Paper Angels, was the first Asian American play that aired on PBS’s American Playhouse in 1985 and has been produced throughout the U.S., Canada and China. She is author of five poetry collections, Winter Place, Child of War, Paper Gods and Rebels, KRA!, La Morte Del Tempo, and co-author of Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, winner of the American Book Award and the forthcoming anthology of Senior Asian American memoirs, Window: Glimpses of Our Storied Past.

San Francisco poet Michael Warr is the 2020 Berkeley Lifetime Achievement Awardee. His books include Of Poetry & Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin (W.W. Norton), The Armageddon of FunkWe Are All The Black Boy, and Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry From Chicago’s Guild Complex. He is a San Francisco Library Laureate and recipient of a Creative Work Fund award for his multimedia project Tracing Poetic Memory, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award, Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His poetry is translated into Chinese as part of “Two Languages / One Community” a collaborative project with poet and translator Chun Yu. Michael is the former Deputy Director of the Museum of the African Diaspora and a board member of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.