The Place That Inhabits Us:
Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed
~Selected by Sixteen Rivers Press
~Foreword by Robert Hass
“What a splendid volume of poetry and what an incredible range of poets—including some of the greats as well as the yet unknown—and what a rich and impressive array of topics, themes, settings, and emotions! If you love poetry and poetics, you will be smitten over and over again by this cornucopia, this amazing, diverse harvest.” —Michael Krasny, Forum, KQED-FM, San Francisco
“One of the great pleasures of this anthology is that, at a certain moment, a group of early-twenty-first-century poets made a selection of poems about the place that mattered to them, so that this book is about the experience of place—and about being given the remembered expression of the experience of place by others who have lived here. And that begins to be a culture.” —Robert Hass, from the foreword
The poems in this anthology embody what it’s like to live in the astonishing weave of cities and towns, landscape and language, climate and history that make up the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Selected by the members of Sixteen Rivers Press, a regional poetry collective named after the web of rivers that flow into San Francisco Bay, the poems in The Place That Inhabits Us are drawn from both a physical and a metaphoric watershed. From the granite slopes of the Sierra to the Delta, through the Coastal Range to the bay and shores of the Pacific, one hundred poems by poets well known and not well known, living and dead, map this improbable region. There are egrets and grievous losses here; prayers, panhandlers, Delta mornings and sunsets in the ’hood; the fog, certainly, and the bridges, but there are shades of Dante on a Miwok trail, and Wang-wei haunts the slopes of Grizzly Peak. These poems are internal maps, the mental maps “that for humans,” writes Robert Hass in the foreword, “make a place a place.” Gathered together, they evoke the San Francisco Bay watershed, the place that inhabits us.
Publication date: 2010
Paperback / 160 pages
price: $20 Place an order
Links to reviews of The Place That Inhabits Us
Molly Spencer reviewed The Place That Inhabits Us in the January 2013 issue of the online journal Flycatcher.
Ellery Akers’ poem “The Word That Is a Prayer” featured in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry column 312 on 3/14/11
Review by Alexa Mergen in Rattle’s online blog (1/25/11)
Publicity for Sacramento Public Library reading and article about Sixteen Rivers Press in Jannie Dresser’s column, San Francisco Poetry Examiner (9/6/10)
Petaluma360.com Book Case blog (3/29/10)
Links to readings at Diesel, A Bookstore, in Oakland on July 11, 2010
The poets of Sixteen Rivers deeply regret that the last five lines are missing from Julia Levine’s “Golden Gate” as it appears the first printing of our anthology, The Place That Inhabits Us. The poem appears correctly beginning with our second printing of the anthology. Here is the poem in its entirety:
For the lonely, the bridge is a seam between two skies.
And sky, the lowest register of sleep.
Once a colleague of mine locked her baby in a room
and drove two hours out to this bridge to die.
And driving through these fields of mustard,
not even a glimpse of two bulls fighting in the hills
could keep my friend from climbing the guardrail,
skirt hiked up.
Now my daughter opens her mouth to the radio’s song,
face turned toward the window,
and I see I was mistaken:
I’ve been speaking to my younger self all along,
swaying on the bridge up there, a handful of pills
sleek as bullets cupped against her lips.
Tell me, what is loneliness,
if not the strain of standing on the edge of all you know?
Look, my daughter says suddenly,
pointing to the ocean’s watery nothing.
Which is beautiful and blue and carnal. For the sea,
everything that matters is the sky
as it is interrupted by a bridge: thinnest line
that can hold two worlds together
without becoming one.