Alejandro is like a bolt of lightening, organizing community events, teaching, writing, supporting the Latino
community and executing his duties as the sixth San Francisco Poet Laureate.

Alejandro Murguía: Poet, Prose Writer, Editor, Activist

The duty of the poet is to prophesize, invoke and conjure a better world.  

Our Lady of Guadalupe adorns a street corner.

Organizing for creativity.

"Support your local sign painter," says the tee shirt.

A guitar player serenading passers-by.

We call this the 'shopping cart' mural.

Stray Poems: San Francisco Poet Laureate Series No. 6
Native Tongue (2012)
This War Called Love: Nine Stories (2002)
The Medicine of Memory: a Mexica Clan in California (2002)
Spare Poems (2001)
Southern Front (1990)
Volcán: Poems from Central America: a Bilingual Anthology - Ed. w/ Barbara Paschke (1983)
Farewell to the Coast (1980)
El Sol y los de Abajo and Other R.C.A.F. poems / Oracion a la Mano Poderosa
w/ Jose Montoya and Adal (1972)


The Political Edge, "Into the Fray," Chris Carlsson, Ed. (2005)
San Francisco Noir, “The Other Barrio,” P. Maravelis, Ed. (2005)
Literatura Chicana, 1965-1995: an Anthology in Spanish, English, and Caló, "A Long Walk," Manuel de Jesús Hernández-Gutiérrez, David William Foster, Eds. (1997)

2012 San Francisco Poet Laureate
2003 American Book Award for This War Called Love
1991 American Book Award for Southern Front

Balmy Alley murals.

A local gallery with an interesting way of mounting art.

As he stated in the press release announcing his appointment as San Francisco Poet Laureate, he intends “to make San Francisco the poetic center of the Americas, a city where poetry, poetry readings and poetry workshops would blossom everywhere people work and gather, in schools and libraries, in detention centers so that hope might also spring from poetry, in government offices, the Board of Supervisors, even the Mayor’s office, because poetry demands an honest voice, expressed in clear language that is true to the word.” He told us he thought that meter maids should give you a poem with every ticket.

It was an honor to interview him, even if a little surreal with all the bustling going on to get the venue ready for a poetry reading. The Alley Cat Bookstore and Gallery, like the rest of the Mission District and Alejandro himself, is kinetic and creative. We hope you'll enjoy our visit there.

Alejandro Murguía is, by his own admission, a poets' writer. Even when writing prose, he is seeking that compact 60-ton "white dwarf star" of distilled work. He writes with his body, willing the words to course through his veins and onto the page, and then he rewrites that page up to 60 times.

He has lost and acquired two languages: Spanish and English, giving him a special joy in reading and writing. The books he reads are a study of his writing ancestry, and it informs his writing and his life. Although Alejandro said that paying attention, experiencing widely, and having fun applies to words, it applies to life as well.

Alejandro pays attention to his community, which starts in the Mission District of San Francisco and expands to Latinos/Latinas everywhere. He was a founding member and first director of The Mission Cultural Center, and was active in the Nicaraguan Solidarity movement, and calls himself an "all around trouble maker."

Interview Movie
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Audio File
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San Francisco, CA

Run Time:



Poetry, short story, nonfiction



Mexico City, Los Angeles

Youthful Influence:

An older bother who broadened his reading selections to include such luminaries as Victor Hugo, Bob Dylan, and a very broad spectrum of literature.

Favorite Authors:

Juan Rulfo, Lorca, Gabriel García Márquez, Octavio Paz, Caesar Vallejo, Daniel Sada, Ferlinghetti, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Bob Kaufman and the author of the latest book he has read.

Creative Habit:

Using a yellow legal pad and pencil, longhand. Mornings are for prose. Poetry whenever the inspiration hits, he takes 15 to 30 minutes to capture a phrase, and idea, a rhythm. He does lots of editing and revision.