Michael Meade & Mosaic Multicultural Foundation

Mosaic’s annual Men’s Retreat in Mendocino, CA has been a great incubator and fertilizer for our Street Poets community; and Michael’s wisdom, mentoring and storytelling have had a profound influence on our work. He has written many rich, soulful books, but we recommend “Fate & Destiny” as a starting point for those mentoring youth into purposeful adulthood. For more info: mosaicvoices.org

Malidoma Somé

Malidoma’s “Of Water and the Spirit” is a powerful and thought-provoking memoir, but his book “The Healing Wisdom of Africa” has become a well-worn reference book in the heart of our office library. This Dagara elder’s ability to translate core principles of indigenous West African spiritual practice for a Western psyche is exceptional. Much of the ritual work that has developed in our community in recent years has been inspired and/or informed in some way by Malidoma’s writing and teaching. For more info: malidoma.com

Ed Tick & Soldier’s Heart

Ed Tick’s book “War and the Soul” as well as his more recent “Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War,” both of which illuminate his soulful, transformational work with U.S. Military veterans, should be required reading for all Americans in these war-torn times. Street Poets have been blessed to participate in “Soldier’s Heart” retreats serving veterans of the streets as well as veterans of foreign wars. Ed and his books are a great source of wisdom for anyone working with veterans, youth or ex-inmates healing from trauma. For more info: soldiersheart.net


Luis J. Rodriguez & Tia’s Chucha’s Centro Cultural

Luis is a celebrated author and the current poet laureate of Los Angeles, as well as a mentor, activist and creative community builder. The classic “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in LA” is a best-selling coming-of-age memoir, but his book “Hearts & Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times” is the real must-read for those seeking wisdom and guidance in this field. For more info:

Bill Plotkin & the Animas Valley Institute

An author, depth psychologist and wilderness guide, Bill Plotkin has devoted his life and work to the “re-wilding” of the Western psyche. His book “Nature and the Human Soul” is a powerful manifesto for personal and cultural transformation, and “Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche” maps the territory between the natural world and the human mind. For more info: animas.org

Jimmy Santiago Baca

This award-winning writer/poet (who first taught himself to read and write while in prison) and his work have been an incredible source of inspiration for our Street Poets youth and staff since the beginning. His poems remain on our list of writing workshop favorites and his memoir “A Place to Stand” (as well as the documentary movie it inspired) are staples in the Street Poets library. We also strongly recommend his book “Working in the Dark: Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio.”

Sources of Poetic Medicine

(Currently in heavy SP workshop rotation): Maya Angelou, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Wanda Coleman, Nikki Giovanni, Hafiz, Etheridge Knight, Yusef Komunyakaa, Pablo Neruda, Natalie Diaz, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, Willie Perdomo, Luis J. Rodriguez, Rumi, Sapphire, William Stafford, David Whyte.