Mary Tallmountain Celebration SF Public Library - Nov. 14, 6-7:30pm

Freedom Voices

A Celebration at San Francisco Public Library
Mary Tallmountain Celebration
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street • Latino Hispanic Room, Lower Level
November 14, 2019, 6–7:30pm

Mary TallMountain (1918-1994) was an Athabaskan Indian from a small Alaskan village on the Yukon River, 50 miles from the Arctic Circle, who settled in San Francisco in the 1960s. Adopted out of her tribe at an early age, much of her lifework and writing centered around her return to her homeland after 50 years of separation. Living in SF’s Tenderloin district, she chronicled the lives of the people there and supported other marginalized writers in finding their voices through poetry and story-telling. Though she was an acclaimed poet who won the Pushcart Prize and was featured on Bill Moyers “Power of the Word” series, she was always low-key as she continued her work in the Tenderloin. The TallMountain Circle was founded to carry on her mission of supporting marginalized writers, especially in the Tenderloin and Native communities. An archive of her work is housed at the Rasmussen Library at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

This celebration will feature readings from her work and remembrances from her friends and collaborators:

  • Duane Big Eagle, an Osage Indian singer, dancer and poet from Oklahoma, and a teacher of creative writing and Native American Studies.
  • Jess Clarke, a writer, editor and storyteller from Oakland, co-founder of Freedom Voices Publications, and Mary TallMountain’s editor there.
  • Kitty Costello, a San Francisco poet, editor and teacher, and Mary TallMountain’s literary executor and trustee.
  • John Fox, poetry therapist, founder of the Institute for Poetic Medicine, and a long- time collaborator with Mary TallMountain.
  • Linda Noel, Poet Laureate Emerita of Ukiah, CA, a poetry teacher and curator, and a Native Northern Californian from the Koyungkowi tribe, the Konkow.
  • Kim Shuck, Poet Laureate of San Francisco, an educator, poetry curator and master weaver, of Tsalagi (Cherokee) and Polish descent.


Related items:

About Freedom Voices

Some Information

Freedom Voices publishes works that speak to or from communities on the margins. Founded in 1989 in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District the press has grown from its origins as a community publisher to include works from around the globe.

FV works closely with the TallMountain Circle which produces, promotes and distributes Mary TallMountain’s literary works and chooses the winners of the TallMountain Award for Creative Writing and Community Service.

FV also distibutes New Earth Publications imprint such as translations of Nicaraguan Ernesto Cardenal’s Quetalcoatl , Costa Rican activist Luisa Gonzalez’s autobiography and Voice of Fire, Communiques and interviews from the Zapatista National Liberation Army.

Freedom Voices is a project of the non-profit Tenderloin Reflection and Education Center and organizes public readings and writing workshops in conjunction with the Center. Freedom Voices is also a partner in the Encounters in the Americas/Encuentros de los Americas project for popular literacy. The founding editor of Freedom Voices is B. Jesse Clarke. Editorial decisions are made by a collective of writers, activists, and street scholars.