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Storied: San Francisco

Dec 23, 2021

In this episode, Kim picks up where she left off in Part 1, with her decision in 1985 to stay in town and go to college at SF State.

She was, as she says, "deeply" into politics. She attended protests at the DNC in 1984, which took place in San Francisco. She felt pressures from the Red Power Movement, and talks about how tricky it was to be just the right amount of Indian. It was the middle of the Reagan era and Kim lived in the Castro, where AIDS was ravaging the gay community and the president infamously refused to even say the name of the disease.

As far as she and anyone in her life knows, Kim has always written. After college, a friend surprised her by asking Kim to read poetry live in front of people. She’s been doing that on and off since then. Kim talks about Murdered Missing, her book of poems on the large number of Indian women who disappear, even here in The City.

She spent many years teaching Native American arts, both at SF State and CCA. She taught origami arts at elementary schools all over The City. She has also written curriculum for The Exploratorium.

Kim shares the story of becoming San Francisco's seventh poet laureate, including how and where she was when she learned the news. She says she's incredibly honored to have been bestowed with the honor. (Tongo Eisen-Martin is the current poet laureate: Part 1 / Part 2).

We end this episode with Kim talking about what it means to still be here and her outlook for her hometown: San Francisco. If you're still listening at this point, keep going to hear Kim reading a couple of poems for us.

We recorded this podcast at Kim's partner's house in The Sunnyside in December 2021.

Photography by Michelle Kilfeather