In 2007, the Oaxaca, Mexico International Arts Festival honored U.S poets A.D. Winans and Neeli Cherkovski, who participated in literary panels and read their work at the town square and at the local university.
Winans and Cherkovski , two San Francisco icons, have been honored by the San Francisco Arts Commission, who in conjunction with the Department of Public Works, has paid recognition to the many poets, writers, film makers and literary figures from the Beat and post-Beat era, who have contributed to the rich literary history of San Francisco’s North Beach, the home of the West Coast Beat movement.
The project known as The Language of the Birds is located at the corner of Broadway and Columbus Avenue. In addition to their names being inscribed on a bronze plaque, Words from those honored are embedded in the sidewalk, taken from the writings of over 90 authors with ties to North Beach and nearby Chinatown.
The following wording is taken from one of two plaques adorning the wall of the site: “Historically speaking the Language of the birds is considered a divine language birds use to communicate with the initiated. Here, at the site, a flock of books take off from the plaza to fly to the urban gullies of the city. The fluttering pages high overhead leaves a gentle imprint of words beneath them. These serendipitously configured bits of local literature reveal layers of human culture, nature and consciousness.”
The 90 literary figures embedded on a separate steel plaque at the corner of the building include Francis Coppola, Kenneth Patchen, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghettti, Bob Kaufman, Philip Lamatina, Michael Mc Clure, Joane Kyger, Jack Micheline, Kenneth Rextoth, Gary Snyder, Lew Welch, Lenore Kendel, A. D. Winans, Neeli Cherkovski, Herbert Gold, Ruth Weiss and Charles Bukowski.
Winans is the lone native San Francisco poet so honored.
A full list of the names on the plaque can be obtained from the North Beach Public Library.
Photograph on the top of the post on the right is Lawrence Ferlinghettti & AD Winans
Photograph on the left side at the bottom is Neeli Cherkovski with A D Winans