Kim Shuck, Cherokee Poet, Appointed San Francisco Poet Laureate

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Kim Shuck (Photo: Doug Salin)

Mayor Ed Lee appointed Castro-based poet Kim Shuck on Wednesday to serve as San Francisco’s next Poet Laureate.

Shuck, 51, is the seventh poet to be selected for the position, and the first person of Cherokee descent to hold the spot. She succeeds Alejandro Murguía, who began his tenure in 2012.

“Kim Shuck is passionate about our city’s diversity and its multiplicity of voices,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera in a statement. “As San Francisco Poet Laureate she will celebrate our strength of language and culture. Kim loves our city and values our libraries. We’re excited to work with her to further our city’s literary and poetic tradition by engaging our communities and bringing us together through poetry.”

The search, which commenced last February, was led by a nine-person selection committee comprised of city officials, Bay Area literati and emeritus poet laureates, including Murguía and Jack Hirschman.

Shuck’s poetry, which includes full-length collections “Rabbit Stories” and “Smuggling Cherokee,” draws upon her Cherokee and Polish heritage and her life as a fifth-generation resident of San Francisco. Her latest works — a full-length collection titled "Clouds Running In" and a chapbook titled "Sidwalk Ndn" — were published in 2014.


A former American Indian Studies instructor and alumnus at San Francisco State University, Shuck is also an artist who works primarily with textiles, baskets and beads. She previously held a residency at the DeYoung Museum in 2010. Her works have been displayed across the United States and in Taiwan.

Shuck currently works for the California College of the Arts' Diversity department, and volunteers for the San Francisco Unified School District. In November 2008, she was the recipient of KQED’s Local Hero Award.

As Poet Laureate, Shuck will work on poetry-related events and readings with WritersCorps, the San Francisco Public Library and the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, and will lead poetry readings at Litquake, which will take place this October.

Shuck will be speaking at an inaugural address at the San Francisco Public Library. Details for her address have yet to be announced.