poet laureates

Photo by Arlene Mejorado

Pasadena’s Vroman’s Bookstore “Walk of Fame” dedication to Luis Rodriguez by Luis J. Rodriguez In two years, I spoke or read poetry to an estimated 25,000 people in over 200 events, and millions more in English and Spanish language TV, radio, publication, and Internet media. My press, Tia Chucha Press, released the largest poetry anthology of L.A.-area poets called “Coiled Serpents: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles,” edited by Neelanjana Banerjee, Daniel A. Olivas, and Ruben J. Rodriguez. One of the poems I wrote for the city, “Love Poem to Los Angeles,” was read on KPPC-FM and published in Rattle READ MORE

Luis at Tia Chucha Books

Interviewed by Barbara Lieberman Luis Rodriguez knows that Los Angeles is a “great poetry town.” His tenure as Poet Laureate went from 2014 to 2016. It may have come to an end but for Rodriguez, it’s just the beginning. Having published a new book of poetry with Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press called, Borrowed Bones, he is currently working on another book that will be a collection of essays. In addition, he’s been working as a script consultant for the FX TV show Snowfall, co-created by John Singleton. And if that isn’t enough for this busy man, Rodriguez continues to teach creative writing in two maximum-security READ MORE

Amanda Gorman, US Poet Laureate

by Natalie Durkin “It’s fantastic to be a poet in L.A., and to be an Angeleno.” That’s right, our country’s chosen wordsmith is one of our city’s own. Amanda Gorman was born near Los Angeles International Airport, fitting considering she has wings rivaling any aircraft’s. Her path to poet laureate began “at the cross-section of diametrically opposed neighborhoods; the economically stable and largely black population of Ladera Heights, the cultural vibrancy of Inglewood, the rich and sprawling Ballona Wetlands and blue Marina lining the sea.” Gorman attended middle school in Malibu and high school in Santa Monica. Trekking up, down, and around the coast cemented READ MORE

Amanda Gorman, U.S. Poet Laureate

“We the People” by Amanda Gorman, The U.S. Youth Poet Laureate We the people live in a less than perfect union That accuses the vulnerable and never the top class and race When children are ‘illegal’ and intolerance bans humans I wonder who ‘we the people’ are in the first place ‘We the people’ meant All Lives Matter, but are white lives living a coincidence When if you’re not male or pale you get destroyed for demonstrating dissidence? When the color of his skin gives a killer assumed innocence? But still we will rise up, advocate and activate, with the peoples’ diligence Let’s speak names READ MORE

Rhiannon McGavin, Youth Poet Laureate

Love under or early September (I wrote this right after the election) by Rhiannon McGavin I go to the streets in a summer dress, today, because I’m afraid of a new year with the locked air of a suitcase a cold I may not feel and all I wanted was feeling I wanted a blue jacket that smelled like thyme and you   told me it had been the dearest sleep we talked with open windows, could stare unblinking and see nothing but stars for how many days a helicopter over campus now?   then the museums could be shuddered and swept off we had READ MORE