The Poet’s Corner is a quiet place and a lovely lookout hidden in a small public space called Ina Coolbrith Park. The park itself is a bit off the beaten path, located atop a steep hill in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.
The park offers great views of downtown, Coit Tower, the Bay Bridge, and Alcatraz Island, not to mention some nice gardening. Many San Franciscans don’t even know about the park, let alone this little corner of it.
Founded in 1911, the park is named after the 20th-century poet Ina Coolbrith, a prominent San Francisco writer who was the first Poet Laureate of California. The park was built a block from Coolbrith’s home, which was destroyed by the disastrous fire in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
Several years later, in 1919, Coolbrith created the Ina Coolbrith Circle, a group of literary enthusiasts who, in addition to sharing poetry, work to keep California-related literature alive and thriving. The group established the Poet’s Corner in 1984, and is going strong to this day.
Know Before You Go
This park is up a hill, so be ready to walk uphill and up some stairs if you aren't going by car. There is a small flat section of road on Taylor Street where it crosses Vallejo (which doesn't really make its way up because there is a park there, but there is a sign for it). Enter the park from this flat, and choose the left entrance. After not too many steps on this path, you'll see the Poet's Corner on the left.
If you keep going downhill through the park (after you've read or written some poetry) to enjoy some more lush gardening and another little secret in the park to discover. (Interesting side venture if you want, across the flat from the park is a stairway that looks private but isn't, and it takes you to the top of Russian Hill, a cul-de-sac with magnificent homes.