san francisco peace and hope

Letter from the Editor

Welcome to San Francisco Peace and Hope #5! I hope you will immerse yourself in the poetry and artwork in all of the chapters. Be sure not to miss the foreword by Al Young, the in-depth interview with Jeannie Motherwell and explore Journey by cover artist Elaine Drew.

Much has happened in the past year -- we had a packed house at the SF Peace and Hope 2016 Fest at ANEW Gallery, and a special anniversary featured reading at Sacred Grounds. Our 2016 book received a Gold Seal at the Poetry Dancing Festival. Twenty-five contributors were onstage at the California Legion of Honor to receive the award!

As the editor of every issue I see certain themes that occur within the poetry and artwork submitted. Last year, what a surprise to receive all the kitchen submissions. The aha moment arrived when I realized that the various metaphors used had to do with presence and mindfulness. Slicing an orange, eating a plum, or just looking at the kitchen floor took on unusual meanings.

This year’s topics included ancient historical sites and the subject of death. The poetry and art seemed to be yearning for connections rooted in the past. Death has always been a tiptoe subject, but the poets and artists confronted this theme as well. Amazing, really, how civilizations survived despite ongoing wars, plagues, diseases, political turmoil, and other cataclysmic events.

With artist Susan Jokelson you will behold the megalithic site through her collage, Carnac & Karnak. You will also be introduced to City Street Gods with Bay Area poet Deborah K. Tash. And Duane Herrmann will take you on a secret journey hidden in the hills with the poem Bay Fortified.  

The current political climate is one of the most unsettling in the history of our country. Politicians throw words around carelessly and dangerously – and this year Trumpism has brought forth a sad new model.

The fact is, words matter. Images matter.  If anyone understands this, it is the poet and the artist. We need words and images that pave the way for evolution; words and images that can be part of history, that one hundred, two hundred, one thousand years into the future, people will look back on and be inspired.

At SF Peace and Hope we believe that the most important moment is now. How shall we use this moment in time? We need to choose carefully. Every word, every image, every action makes an impact for ourselves and the world. With a creative act there is always a new beginning, always a fresh hope when a poem or painting is created.

We stop to "smell the roses" through poetry and art and connect with nature and eternity. A renewal of spirit takes place that is akin to coming home. Here at SF Peace and Hope, we believe that examining global change and celebrating the changeless aspects of life are both essential.

These are words from Dr. Victor Frankl from his book Man's Search for Meaning, about his experiences at Auschwitz during World War II. "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

So, given all this constant change and turmoil, are peace and hope even possible? Evolution will ultimately tell the tale. Albert Einstein said, "Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions." The poets and artists in the journal have together created a vision of peace and hope. My wish is that the poetry and artwork in this journal will help you through hard times and perhaps even offer a preview of what's to come. Thank you to all the talented contributors to SF Peace and Hope for creating this vision…and possibility.

The Beginnings

September 11th, 2001, was personally devastating, as I had always thought of New York City as a home away from home. Since my father was in the military, my family moved constantly throughout the U.S. and abroad, but we always returned to visit relatives there, and even after I relocated to the Bay area, those strong links remained. I started blogging on September 12th as a way of connecting to New York and San Francisco, east and west, past and present — and, perhaps, through writing and art, making a small contribution toward improving the world situation.

The Bay area poets Kit Kennedy, Frances Spencer, Claire J. Baker, Ken Saffran, Mary Rudge, and Richard Angilly responded immediately to that challenge, and the Peace and Hope enterprise has grown and matured during the past decade, expanding to become an online and print publication informed by the idealism of the 1960s.


A huge thank you to Al Young, who has contributed the inspiring foreword and serves as our advisor, to Jeannie Motherwell who has been amazingly generous with her time and talents, to Philip Lewenthal for photographing our events, and to Kit Kennedy, who has brought in so many fine poets, and who served as emcee at the inaugural SF Peace and Hope Fest.

Elizabeth Hack