Poetic License

San Francisco tries regulating poetry readings in coffeehouses

ALL THEY WANTED WAS A LITTLE POETIC JUSTICE, A bit of free verse. Many poets and coffeehouse owners in San Francisco were outraged over the recent enforcement of an old city code calling for permits in venues where poetry is read. In the case of the Blue Monkey cafe, the permit would have cost $638. Local poets demonstrated and got the ear of Mayor Frank Jordan, who asked the police commission to suspend enforcement of the 20-year-old licensing code (it was amended in 1991 to specifically cover poetry).

Later, Angela Alioto, president of the city board of supervisors, announced plans to...

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