Poetry in El Cerrito

City Launches New Poet Laureate Program


In October 2015, the Arts and Culture Commission established the Poet Laureate Program with funding from the City’s Arts in Public Places Program. After a competitive process, El Cerrito resident Maw Shein Win was selected to serve as the City's Poet Laureate (2016-2018).

Introducing Maw Shein Win


photo of Maw Shein WinMaw Shein Win is a Burmese American poet, editor, and educator who lives and works in the Bay Area. Her writing has appeared in many journals and several anthologies, including Cimarron Review, Fanzine, The Fabulist, and others. She was an Artist in Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts and is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. She often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers, and her chapbook, Ruins of a glittering palace, was published by SPA/Commonwealth Projects. Her most recent poetry chapbook is Score and Bone on Nomadic Press in Oakland. Win’s poetry was featured in artist Megan Wilson’s mural, Flower Interruption, a public artwork in the special exhibition Flower Power at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum. Her full-length poetry collection, Invisible Gifts, will be published by Manic D Press in spring 2018.

Read Snapshot of El Cerrito, 2017, Maw's poem written for El Cerrito's Centennial.


Upcoming Poet Laureate Events


Poetry & Place | El Cerrito



"Poetry & Place | El Cerrito” is a new poetry reading series which will happen in the spring, summer & fall in different places throughout the city. The series will feature one poet from El Cerrito & one from a nearby city. There will also be an all ages open mic.

Poetry Reading on Sunday, July 30, 2017
at Arlington Park & Clubhouse from 2 pm-5pm.


The spring reading will be hosted by El Cerrito poet laureate, Maw Shein Win. Featured readers include former U.S. poet laureate Robert Haas and El Cerrito poet Michelle Lin, plus an all-ages open mic.

For more information, visit Maw's event page.

Program Goals


In October 2015, the Arts and Culture Commission unanimously agreed to establish a Poet Laureate Program funded by the City’s Art in Public Places Program. The Commission envisions that the laureate will create and lead activities that will raise the status of poetry in the everyday consciousness of El Cerrito residents and inspire writing and performances of poetry among all age groups.

The goals of the Poet Laureate Program are to:
• Promote literature and the arts in the City
• Inspire/encourage residents in their writing and personal expression
• Bring attention to poetry in less traditional settings
• Initiate a dialogue between local poets, cultural organizations, and community institutions

Keep In Touch


You can contact Poet Laureate Maw Shein Win directly by email.

You can also sign up to receive notifications from the Arts and Culture Commission about the Poet Laureate Program, other arts events and call to artist announcements.