Poet & Laureate of Santa Clara County, Mighty Mike McGee was our featured reader at the Third Thursday reading in May 2018, right about the time his Laureateship was announced to the public. To some of us, this came as no surprise. For those of you who had not yet heard Mighty Mike recite, it was indeed, a most fortunate opportunity to have heard him at our Third Thursday reading. He is no stranger to San José, where he has been widely popular for his poetry slam, his generosity, and his sense of humor. He has encouraged youth poetry, as well as, themed events in Downtown San José where crowds have gathered, and possibly, never left until, or after midnight. He is very much an entertainer, but can also make you weep like a baby, listening to him recite—definitely,  a moving experience.

To get to know a little more about Mighty Mike McGee, you have to get it from the Horse’s Mouth—his own Bio, in 192 words: 

“Mighty Mike McGee is a well-traveled “stand-up poet” and storyteller from San José, California. In the world of poetry slam, he is the first to win both the 2003 National Poetry Slam Individual Grand Championship and the 2006 Individual World Poetry Slam Grand Championship. He has toured very extensively throughout United States, Canada and Europe. Since 2002, he’s covered several hundred thousand miles performing his brand of poetry and humor. McGee has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, CBC Radio and Television, and NPR’s Snap Judgment. He was one of the first Americans to perform spoken word at the University of Paris, la Sorbonne in 2005. He was appointed Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) for 2018 & 2019. McGee’s first collection of humor and poetry, In Search of Midnight, is available through Write Bloody Publishing.” 

This, from the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate website…

As a poet, Mike McGee has toured throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. He has performed at the University of Paris, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, on CBC Radio & Television, and is a regular on NPR’s Snap Judgment. He is also a board member for Poetry Center San José.

Through McGee’s travels in North America and Europe, he has seen the lasting impact that performance poetry can have on youth development and creativity. He is an advocate of expanding opportunities for youth to discover the poetic arts, and instilling an early interest, love and appreciation for poetry.

McGee will visit schools, libraries, and community spaces to introduce performance poetry and offer them a curriculum of poetry for their young community. He is already engaging youth in poetry through a workshop at Willow Glen High School.



Getting Gutiérrez to read again at Willow Glen was a splendid idea. His recent collection of poems are beautifully put together in A World Less Away, and his reading, exhilarating. A World Less Away, was published in 2016.

A World Less Away

“A World Less Away is a honeycomb, blackbox, dream codex and memory palace. These poems traffic in the interstices of our lives where the quotidian is imbued with meaning and hums with  metaphysical unrest. By turns existential, surreal and elegiac, the poems in this collection take swerves that are sure to transport the reader to the oneiric side of reality, while never losing sight that flesh was the first simile/ we were given/ to feel, conjure, / never truly inhabit.

Jose Luis G

José Luis Gutiérrez is a San Francisco-based poet. His work has appeared in Margie, Poemeleon, Cortland Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Xavier Review, Caliban, and Kestrel. His poems have been included in the anthologies Mutanabbi Streets Starts Here and 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, and is forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review, Ilanot Review, and Chiron Review, Lotus-Eater Magazine, and Bitterzoet Magazine among others.  

https://www.joseluisgutierrez.net ***** https://www.joseluisgutierrez.net/book/



What more could one want, when one is at Flight Wine & Food and an hour full of poetry?

The event was on Saturday, June 30, 2011 at Frank Ashton’s Flight Wine & Food, a nifty wine bar in Cupertino, California.

Poetry Center San Jose sent out a membership blast inviting members to attend the celebration of Poet Nils Peterson’s latest publication, A Walk to the Center of Things. This volume inaugurates the caesura editions, a new series of poetry collection sponsored by PCSJ.

The book was designed by Joe Miller, and Erica Gross managed this edition as the executive editor and project manager. Interspersed throughout the book, and a brilliant splash on the front cover, is art by Patrick Surgalski, whose paintings have been exhibited at several art museums. Surgalski is an art teacher San Jose State University.

Knowing how generous Nils Peterson is, it is no surprise that the plan was to give away a copy of his new book to current members of PCSJ. However, not too many members attended, other than the same individuals who usually attend the monthly poetry reading at Willow Glen, and the few who otherwise attend poetry events where Nils is the featured reader. Regardless, those who attended, certainly had a great afternoon sipping wine and enjoying Nils read selected poems from his newest publication.

Nils Peterson will be the featured reader at the Thursday reading at Willow Glen Library on July 21, 2011, at 7:00pm. Open mic will follow as usual.

Peterson’s new collection of poems,A Walk to the Center of Things includes poems that show us glimpses of the poet’s life, his childhood, his youth, his family, and other personal aspects that grace the pages—gems that sparkle with a luster of language that is so characteristic of Nils Peterson, a poet of the people. And as he says in his poem “To the Storyteller, On Having Found One of Her Secrets”:

“…that presence to the moment
of the telling, the knowledge that when the right
story comes, one’s words come ringing forth
like those from a “prophet in his power.”

…My drink is gone, though the ice cubes I suck on are reminiscing about the good times with the good gin. I could have another… (“Go Way From My Window”)

Check out Frank Ashton’s Flight Wine & Food, at 20333 Stevens Creek Boulevard, (Stevens Creek and Vista), Cupertino, CA 95014.
Phone: (408) 459-7711.