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SAN FRANCISCO (June 9, 2021) — Award winning author, poet, editor, activist and third-generation Japanese-American artist Shizue Seigel today announced the forthcoming release on June 30 of Essential Truths, The Bay Area in Color, a robust and timely anthology featuring 130 BIPOC writers, poets and artists reflecting on recent and current Bay Area realities. 

Carefully edited by Shizue Seigel, the book was adjudicated by a seven-member editorial committee comprised of a wide-ranging assemblage of writers, poets, professors and students. Essential Truths is the fourth anthology of Bay Area BIPOC artists presented under the aegis of Seigel’s successful and highly popular Write Now! SF Bay program and published by San Francisco’s Pease Press.


“Old ways are dissolving, and change is in the air; 
BIPOC arts and activism have been here all along …
Now we are stepping into the light!”

The pandemic and other profound national and regional events have tested every fiber of our being and shaken relationships with family, community, the nation, and the earth itself. As our basic assumptions about life were upended again and again, what essential truths emerged? 

This anthology includes poetry, prose and visual art from 130 contributors—Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ and a few White allies -- ranging from poets- laureates and PhDs to high-school students and closet writers; from fire commissioners to the formerly unhoused. 


Seigel said, “Our work is not always polished, but it arises from the lived experience of grappling with real issues of the day. We may write in the vernacular, or English may be our second or third language. If our rhythms are unfamiliar, ask yourself why—is our work inflected by other tongues and vernaculars, rusty from disuse, scattered by stress or trauma, struggling out silence, or hastily scribbled on borrowed time? Old ways are dissolving, and change is in the air. BIPOC arts and activism have been here all along. Now we are stepping into the light.”


Kim Shuck, San Francisco Poet Laureate Emerita, commented, “Shizue Seigel and Write Now! have done it again. This book represents a whole biome of poetics, not just the people you see regularly published but practitioners at many levels.”  “Essential Truths is poem ritual, art ritual, practice, life, and care,” continued Shuck. “Every time I've peeked into this epic work, I've found home and self and other things I thought I'd misplaced. Take a look, there may be things you need in here too.”


Essential Truths will be launched Wednesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. with a free virtual reading hosted by the San Francisco Public Library and will feature a variety of writers, poets and artists including Kim Shuck, Shizue Deigel, An Bui, Andre Le Monte Wilson, Christl Perkins, Dena Rod, Francee Covington, Karla Brundage, Kevin Madrigal, Lena Begonia, Lorraine Bonner, Mihee Kim, Tehmina Khan, Yeva Johnson, Vanessa Cabrera, and Venus Zahura Noble. The public is invited to register for this event by visiting:  https://sfpl.org/events/2021/06/30/write-now-writers-color-essential-truths-book-launch. A complete list of the June 30th readers’ affiliations is found here: SFPL Readers


Oakland Asian Cultural Center in partnership with Write Now! SF Bay, will host an East Bay Showcase of Essential Truths on Thursday, July 22 at 7 p.m. This free virtual event will begin with an Invocation by the Poet Laureate of Berkeley, Rafael Jesús González, and will feature 18 BIPOC writers and poets in lively readings and presentations from the Essential Truths anthology, including Avotcja, Clara Hsu, danny ryu, Darzelle Oliveros, Dianne Leo-Omine, Elmaz Abinader, Kelechi Ubozoh, Karen Seneferu, Kimi Sugioka, Sandra Bass, Shirley Huey, Shizue Seigel, Sridevi Ramanathan, Susana Praver-Pérez, Tiny (aka Lisa Gray-Garcia), Tony Aldorondo, Tureeda Mikell, and Wanda Sabir. To register for this event, visit https://oacc.cc/event/essential-truths-east-bay/. A complete list of Oakland Asian Cultural Center readers’ affiliations can be found here: OACC Readers

About Shizue Seigel 

Shizue Seigel, founder/director of Write Now! SF Bay, is a third-generation Japanese-American writer, visual artist and community activist who explores complex intersections of history, culture and spirituality through prose, poetry and visual art. Seigel was born just after her family's release from WWII incarceration camps. She grew up as an Army brat in segregated Baltimore, Occupied Japan, California farm labor camps and skid-row Stockton, before finding home in San Francisco in 1956. She's a college dropout who learned from experience in the Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, Indian ashrams and the counterculture in the 1970s, and did corporate advertising in the 1980s, and HIV prevention in the 1990s.


She has helped tell community stories for 25 years, working with Black women living in public housing, Japanese-American incarceration camp survivors, and other marginalized groups. Seigel has written, co-written or edited six books, and her poetry and prose have been widely published. Her literary and visual art papers are archived at the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives, University of California, Santa Barbara.


About Write Now! SF Bay 

Led by and for BIPOC Bay Area writers since 2015, Write Now! SF Bay builds multicultural solidarity around our unique identities as people of color; reclamation of our culture and history; personal and community well-being; civil liberties and social justice. We bring together established and emerging writers across race, class, age, and other barriers. We are poets, memoirists, fiction writers, essayists and more. Our work reflects the complex realities of the Bay Area’s 60% people of color—from the formerly homeless to educators, healers, activists, and just plain folks working for change. Over 350 writers and artists have participated in these free and low-cost programs at the San Francisco Public Library, and a host of community partners and bookstores.


Other anthologies edited by Shizue Seigel and published under the auspices of Write Now! SF Bay include:Standing Strong! Fillmore and Japantown, celebrating the enduring spirit of African-Americans and Japanese-American communities of San Francisco’s Western Addition (2016); Endangered Species, Enduring Values featuring 60 writers and artists of color with dynamic prose, poetry and artwork reflecting heritage and spirituality (2018); and Civil Liberties United, featuring the poetry, essays, street murals and art of 100 writers of color reflecting on the importance and high value of civil liberties (2019).


Write Now! is fiscally sponsored by Intersection for the Arts and supported by the San Francisco Arts CommissionCalifornia HumanitiesCenter for Cultural InnovationCalifornia Arts Council, and the Literary Arts Emergency Fund through the Academy of American Poets. Past funders include the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center.


Published by Pease Press, Essential Truths, The Bay Area in Color is available for purchase at $17.95  by visiting https://writenowsf.com

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Press Contact:

Jon Finck, Encore Communications 2.0

jonfincksf@gmail.com / +1 415 577 1323 





Completel list of contributors

Tongo Eisen-Martin

Kim Shuck

Rafael Jesús González

Kimi Sugioka

Ann Muto


An Bui

André Le Monte 

Celeste Chan

Chun Yu 

Clara Hsu

Dena Rod

E.K. Keith

Elmaz Abinader


Faith Adiele

Francée Covington

Grace Morizawa

James Cagney

Josiah Luis Alderete

Karla Brundage

Kelechi Ubozoh

Kevin Madrigal 

Irmin Arcibal

Sandra Bass

Max Leung

Mihee Kim 

Norm Mattox

Sandra Bass

Shirley Huey

Shizue Seigel

Sriram Shamasunder

Susana Praver-Perez

Tehmina Khan

Tiny Gray-Garcia

Tony Aldarondo

Tony Robles

Truong Tran

Yeva Johnson

Ajuan Mance

C.K. Itamura

Cynthia Brannvall

Cece Carpio

Cindy Shih

Karen Seneferu

Lorraine Bonner

Malik Seneferu

Joan Osato

joan tarika lewis

Paula de Joie

Twin Walls

Wanda Sabir

Photo by Sriram Shamasunder