Beloved San Francisco Bay Area poet,
Adelle Foley, passed away
Monday, June 27, 2016 .
Rest In Peace, Adelle.
ADELLE JOAN FOLEY (August 15, 1940-June 27, 2016) was a poet, a social, neighborhood and arts activist, and, for the past twenty years, a member of the administration of AC Transit. She was, in addition, a devoted and loving mother to her son, Sean Foley, and a deep friend to her daughter-in-law, Kerry. She married poet Jack Foley on December 21, 1961 (the longest night of the year), and their marriage was a long and happy one. The Foleys were familiar and much-loved figures in the local poetry scene, performing duets of Jack’s unique choral pieces and Adelle’s haiku. Beat poet Michael McClure wrote, “Adelle Foley’s haikus show us humanity. Their vitality and imagination shine from her compassion; from seeing things as they truly are.” Jack writes of “Your presence next to me as we read poetry together…your voice rising to mine.”
Adelle was born in New York City to a dentist father and a mother who was both a housewife and a social activist, believing in liberal causes and active in The New York Herald Tribune Fresh Air Fund, an organization that provides free summer vacations in the country to New York City children from low-income families. Adelle continued her mother’s activism in Oakland as a member of many local organizations, assisting in neighborhood clean ups, neighborhood watch programs, and in revitalizing the Melrose Branch of the Oakland Library in East Oakland. “Could they ever guess / that we’d be celebrating / in 2016?” she wrote for the Melrose Branch’s centennial. For these activities she was designated a “Local Hero.” She was also a member of the Board of the long-standing poetry organization, Poetry Flash.
Adelle graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Goucher College in 1961 and earned an MA in Economics from Cornell University in 1962. In 1963, she and Jack crossed the country in their 1956 Oldsmobile to Northern California, where they lived for the rest of their lives, settling for the first year in Berkeley and then in Oakland. Jack entered the University of California, Berkeley, as a graduate student in English literature, and Adelle found employment at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She left the Fed in the early 1990s to work for the City of San Francisco and then, after a period of uncertainty, transitioned to AC Transit, first as a temp employee in 1993 and then full time in 1995. She enjoyed her work there, spending her final years with the company as Retirement Administrator.
In 1989, she began to write poetry. Her chosen form was haiku, which she wrote in the traditional 5-7-5 syllables. One of her most memorable, “Learning to Shave: Father Teaching Son,” concerned her son, Sean, born in 1974: “A nick on the jaw / The razor’s edge of manhood / Along the bloodline.” Her book, “Along the Bloodline,” appeared in 2003. In it she declared, “It’s not that I write / Because of what I see. I / See because I write.” A second book, “Fennel in the Rain”—a collaboration with Jack—appeared in 2007. A final collection, edited by Jack, is forthcoming in 2016. The 2007 anthology, “For New Orleans,” featured Adelle’s contribution on its cover.
Adelle Foley is remembered for her great intelligence, her quick wit, her sudden lyricism, her social conscience, and her flashing smile. She wrote in a “selfie” haiku: “An infectious smile / Tapping out daily Haiku / Pretty good figure.”
In 1960 she sang an ancient French song, “A la Claire Fontaine,” to Jack. The refrain of the song is “Il y a longtemps que je t’aime / Jamais je ne t’oublierai” (“I have loved you for a long time / I will never forget you”). Over the years they often sang the song together. In 2016 Jack sang the song to Adelle as she lay dying in the hospital: “I have loved you for a long time / I will never forget you.”
Jack and Adelle Foley can be seen in many clips on YouTube.
The funeral will be held at Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611. Visitation (viewing) on Saturday, July 16, Chimes Chapel, 6 – 8 p.m. Funeral service on Sunday, July 17, Chimes Chapel, 10 a.m. Family and friends are invited to speak at the service. A second memorial tribute to Adelle will be held in August: her work will be featured along with special memories; again, everyone is invited.
Mother's Hen is an organization dedicated to helping Bay Area poets, artists, photographers and organizations present their work to the community in which they live.
Started in 1971 by poet/photographer Louis Cuneo, and joined by artist/activist Marcia Poole in 1993, it has expanded its operation to include: the publication of books of poetry by the Muchos Somos Series & Mother’s Hen Publications; created, published and produces online the Open Mic Directory for the San Francisco Bay Area; founded and coordinated the Touch of A Poet Series; founded and coordinated the first 10 Berkeley Poetry Festivals; produced musical CDs; created and operated Lean Frog Graphics - for Print and Web; created and operates cuneopoole.com, a site for digital photography and prints by Marcia Poole and Louis Cuneo; and and has curated exhibitions for local photographers & visual artists in Berkeley & the East Bay.
Mother's Hen is community based and is non-hierarchical. The goal is to give working artists a chance to perform and contribute their voices to the community.
A Celebration of Haiku & Its Relationship to The Beats & Zen Buddhism
in the San Francisco Bay Area from the 1950’s
A Book Release Party for “Haiku Revisited Volume 2 - A Creative Textbook”
by Louis Cuneo (Mother’s Hen Publications)
7- 9 pm
The Beat Museum
540 Broadway & Columbus
A Book Release Party for “Haiku Revisited Volume 2 - A Creative Textbook” by Louis Cuneo (Mother’s Hen Publications)
7- 9 pm
The Beat Museum
540 Broadway & Columbus
The Beat Museum of San Francisco is pleased to invite the public to a special free event celebrating Haiku in the San Francisco Bay Area from the 1950s until now. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and others, through their avid interest in Zen Buddhism, adapted this unique Japanese form to the new free-verse of the American poetic voice. Jack Kerouac would call them “Western Haiku” in his “Scattered Poems” published by City Lights Publications.
This event, hosted by Lean Frog & The Beat Museum, will inform and entertain you with readings of some of the original Beat haiku poets and the new voices of this special tradition. Haiku poetsLouis Cuneo, Bob Booker, Tobey Kaplan, Jeanne Lupton, Clive Matson, Florence Miller, Amos White, Catalina Cariaga other special guests will read their own haikus and some from the 1950’s Beat Poets. Music will be provided by Lucho on sax and Toku Woo on guitar. Wes “Scoop” Nisker will conduct the invocation and Louis Cuneo will be the MC. Hear some of the original Haiku works by Jack Kerouac and other Beat poets in this special celebration along with the voices of those currently writing Haiku.
There will be a reception, book release party and book signing for “Haiku Revisited Volume 2.” by Louis Cuneo at the end of the celebration. As the poet, painter, publisher & co-founder of the historic City Lights Bookstore, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, stated in reviewing the original “Haiku Revisited” in 1975, “They are true haiku worth revisiting over and over...”
Please join us on this special occasion! This is a free event is sponsored by The Beat Museum of San Francisco and The Foundation of Creative Expression, a 501.C.3 nonprofit. www.kerouac.com