Stephanie Brown has authored two collections, Domestic Interior (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 2008) and Allegory of the Supermarket (Univ. of Georgia Press, 1999). Her poems have appeared in six editions of the annual anthology, The Best American Poetry (Scribner's), and her poetry and essays have been anthologized in Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present (Scribner's, 2003), The Grand Permission: New Writing about Motherhood and Poetics (Wesleyan Univ. Press, 2003), and others. She was awarded the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Poetry at the Breadloaf Writers' Conference in 2009.
David St. John is a prominent national poet, scholar, and mentor to many SoCal poets. He has been honored with many of the most significant poetry prizes, including the Rome fellowship and the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He has authored ten collections including The Window (Arctos Press, 2014) and The Auroras: New Poems (Harper, 2012). With Cole Swenson, he co-edited American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry (W.W. Norton, 2009). In 2014, he became Chair of the USC English Dept.
Marsha de la O's new collection, Antidote for Night. winner of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, will be published by BOA Editions in 2015. Her first collection, Black Hope, won the New Issues Press Poetry Prize and Small Press Editor's Choice Award. Her work is included in the anthologies Intimate Nature (Ballantine Books, 1998) and Beyond the Valley (Sacred Beverage Press, 1998). She and Phil Taggart co-founded and edit the Askew Poetry Journal. They also founded the annual Ventura Erotic Poetry reading, a popular SoCal literary event.
The poetry of Nikola Madzirov has been translated into over 30 languages. A native of Macedonia, he won the Hubert Burda Prize for young East European poets for his collection Relocated Stone (2007), and has received several international awards and fellowships, including the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa (2008) and Literarisches Tandem in Berlin (2009). A selection of his poetry, Remnants of Another Age, was published by BOA Editions in 2011 with a foreword by Carolyn Forché. He is one of the coordinators of the world poetry network Lyrikline.
B.H. Fairchild is one of SoCal's most nationally recognized poets. His poetry explores working class lives in the small towns in Texas and Kansas where he grew up. His collections include The Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems (W.W. Norton, 2014), Usher: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2009), Local Knowledge (W.W. Norton, 2005), Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest (W.W. Norton, 2003), and The Art of the Lathe (Univ. of Maine, 1998). Fairchild received the William Carlos Williams Award, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Aiken Taylor Award, the Arthur Rense Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among many other honors.
Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-born poet, writer, editor, and literary translator, now living in LA. Her work has been lauded by Billy Collins, Alicia Ostriker, and Chris Abani, among others. She has authored three poetry collections, Keeping Time With Blue Hyacinths (Univ. of Arkansas, 2013), Rooftops of Tehran (Red Hen Press, 2008), and The Scar Saloon (Red Hen Press, 2004). Her translation of iconic Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad's selected work, Sin (Univ. of Arkansas Press), won the Lois Roth Persian Translation Award in 2010. Her anthologies include The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and Its Exiles (Michigan State Univ. Press, 2012).
Douglas Kearney -- dynamic on stage, innovative on the page -- describes his evolution in both areas and discusses his hallmark "performative typography." Kearney's poetry collections include Patter (2014), The Black Automaton (2009), chosen for the National Poetry Series, and Fear, Some (2006).Named a Notable New American Poet by the Poetry Society of America, his other honors include a Whiting Writers' Award and commissions for new work from Minneapolis's Weisman Art Museum and New York's Studio Museum. Kearney, who is also an opera librettist, teaches at CalArts.
Laurel Ann Bogen's poetry career was launched in the late 1960s when she won an Academy of American Poets' award as a freshman at USC. Today, she is the author of 10 books of poetry; her work has appeared in over 100 journals and collections; and, since 1990, she has taught poetry and performance for the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, receiving the Outstanding Instructor of the Year award in 2008. Known for her dramatic performance style, she has appeared at many A-list art and literary venues across the country. However, as she tells host Mariano Zaro in this interview, there were tough challenges along the way.
Wanda Coleman (1946-2013) was called the "unofficial poet laureate of L.A." with a literary career that spanned over 30 years. Her numerous volumes of poetry and fiction include Jazz & Twelve O'clock Tales (Godine/Black Sparrow Books, 2008) and The World Falls Apart (Pitt Poetry Series, 2011). In this interview from May, 2013, she discusses her life and work with Mariano Zaro.
Ellyn Maybe has authored several poetry collections and performed her work at venues across the U.S. and Europe, including poetry slams and readings in Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Stuttgart. She opened the MTV Spoken Word Tour in LA and often performs with the The Ellyn Maybe Band which recently released the CD Rodeo for the Sheepish and performed at the Glastonbury Music Festival. Writer's Digest named her one of ten poets to watch in the new millennium.
William Archila was born in El Salvador, in 1968, and migrated to the U.S. with his family to escape the civil war. His first poetry collection, "The Art of Exile" (Bilingual Press, 2009), reflecting on that experience, won the Emerging Writer Fellowship Award from the Writer's Center. His work has appeared in numerous journals. He discusses with Mariano Zaro the evolution of his work and his writing process.
Timothy Green is the author of American Fractal (Red Hen Press, 2008) and editor of the poetry journal RATTLE. His poems have appeared in many journals, including The Connecticut Review, Fugue, Mid-American Review, and Nimrod International Journal. In this Poetry.LA interview, he discusses his work, creative process, the current role of poetry, and other topics.
Willis Barnstone, prolific poet, translator, scholar, and memoirist has authored, edited, or contributed to countless volumes over six decades. In this conversation with Mariano Zaro, he talks about his development as a poet and the work of some poets he has translated and admires.
Holly Prado's books include, "From One to the Next" (2008),"These Mirrors Prove It" (2006) and "Esperanza: Poems for Orpheus" (1998) from Cahuenga Press. Her work has appeared in a hundred publications and a dozen anthologies, both national and international. She discusses her life and process as a poet with Mariano Zaro as part of the Poetry.LA interview series.
Tony Barnstone's several collections of poetry include "Tongue of War" (BkMk Press, 2009) winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, selected by B.H. Fairchild, "The Golem of Los Angeles" (Red Hen Press, 2007), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award."
Brendan Constantine, author of "Calamity Joe" (Red Hen Press, 2012), "Birthday Girl with Possum" (Write Bloody Publishing, 2011), and "Letters to Guns" (Red Hen Press, 2009), discusses his work with Mariano Zaro.
Suzanne Lummis, LA poet icon, poetry educator/instigator, and co-founder of the L.A. Poetry Festival, discusses her work, poetry craft, and the L.A. poetry monde (as she prefers to call it).
Charles Harper Webb, a veteran LA poet with a national following, has authored numerous collections, most recently, Brain Camp (Pitt Poetry Series, 2015). Other titles include What Things Are Made Of, Shadow Ball, Liver, Hot Popsicles, and Amplified Dogs. His work has appeared in the Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prize, and Poets of the New Century anthologies. In this interview, Webb, a professor of English at CSU-Long Beach, who has also had careers as a psychotherapist and rock musician, discusses his writing and shares observations about contemporary American poetry and the Los Angeles poetry scene.
"I go for that place where the intellect and the imagination meet," says Gail Wronsky who has been praised by David St. John as being "among the most distinguished poets of her generation." She has authored ten books of poetry, prose, and translations, including So Quick Bright Things (What Books), Poems for Infidels (Red Hen Press), and Dying for Beauty (Copper Canyon Press). Her poems and essays have appeared in anthologies and many journals, including Poetry, Colorado Review, Antioch Review, Boston Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Wronsky teaches creative writing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Two-time national poetry slam champion, Javon Johnson, PhD., combines lyricism, comedy, and occasional rap rhymes with an incisive cultural critique. The Los Angeles Times observed, "It's hard not to have a good time while watching him have a good time on stage." His Button Poetry video, 'cuz he's black, went viral with over 1.5-million YouTube views. He has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam and co-wrote the Showtime documentary Crossover. A native of South Central LA, he is a perennial audience favorite at Da Poetry Lounge, LA's mega spoken-word venue attended by hundreds each week. Johnson teaches Communication Studies at San Francisco State University.
Amy Uyematsu's deft blending of the personal, political, and spiritual has given the Asian-American experience one of its most consistently eloquent voices and earned her poetry a national reputation. A third generation Japanese-Californian, Uyematsu was an activist in the 1960's-70's Yellow Power Movement and co-editor of the seminal anthology Roots: An Asian American Reader (1971). Since a Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize launched her career in 1992, she has authored four collections of poetry, most recently The Yellow Door (Red Hen Press, 2015) and her work has been included in several anthologies including Wide Awake - Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque Books, 2015).
The poems of Ben Trigg -- generous shots of often cheerfully bleak whimsy served on the rocks -- can be found in his full-length collection, Kindness from a Dark God (Moon Tide Press, 2007), and several anthologies. Most Wednesday nights, the poet himself can be found co-hosting the legendary reading series, Two Idiots Peddling Poetry, at The Ugly Mug Caffé in Orange, now in its fifteenth year. In 2011, Trigg and co-host Steve Ramirez edited the anthology Don't Blame the Ugly Mug: 10 Years of 2 Idiots Peddling Poetry, containing the work of over 150 poets who have appeared in the series. Trigg, one of the organizers of the Orange County Poetry Festival, has been published in anthologies including Blue Arc West (Tebot Bach, 2007) and So Luminous the Wildflowers (Tebot Bach, 2003). He has performed in many parts of the U.S.
Alicia Partnoy, university student and poet during Argentina's "dirty war" of the 1970s, was one of thousands of "disappeared" sent to detention camps by the military dictatorship. During three years of imprisonment, she was tortured and many of her friends were killed. Expelled from Argentina in 1979, she came to the United States as a political refugee. Her first book, The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival (Cleis Press, 1986) is her "tribute to a generation of Argentines lost in an attempt to bring social change and justice." Her poetry collections include Flowering Fires (Settlement House, 2015), Little Low Flying (Red Hen Press, 2005) and Revenge of the Apple (Cleis Press, 1992). Partnoy edited the anthology You Can't Drown the Fire: Latin American Women Writing in Exile (Cleis Press, 1988). She currently teaches Spanish and literature at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Larry Colker's poems are wistfully wrapped packages of unexpected images, dead-on metaphors, and everyday mysteries. His most recent collection is Amnesia and Wings (Tebot Bach, 2013). An active member of the L.A. poetry world, he is well known as co-host, with Jim Doane, of the legendary Redondo Poets Tuesday night reading series at Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach. Winner of the 2006 California Writers Exchange poetry contest sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc., his work has appeared in many print and online journals, as well as California poetry anthologies. His chapbooks include Girl with Tattooed Heart, Boy Standing (2008), What the Lizard Knows: New and Selected Poems (2003), and At the Curb, Car Waiting, Boy Standing (1997). In 2006, he and poet/artist/photographer Danielle Grilli published a joint chapbook, Hunger Crossing. Colker is an instructional designer.
Luis J. Rodriguez, L.A. Poet Laureate since 2014, is a renowned figure in Chicano literature. As a young man in East L.A., he renounced his street gang involvement and drug use to become a political activist, journalist, and poet. His memoir of that early life, Always Running (Curbstone Press, 1993; Open Road Media, 2012) is a perennial bestseller about which the N.Y. Times said "Here's a truth no television set, burning night and day, could ever begin to offer." As founding editor of Tia Chucha Press, Rodriguez has published poets such Terrance Hayes, Elizabeth Alexander, and Patricia Smith, who have since gained national recognition. In 2001, with family members and other poets, Rodriguez founded Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural in Sylmar, a not-for-profit cultural arts center and bookstore whose programs have served thousands of children, teens, adults, and seniors. Winner of numerous poetry honors, Rodriguez continues to maintain an active political voice, running as Green Party Candidate for California Governor in 2014.
LA-based poet and publisher Chiwan Choi, whose latest collection is The Yellow House (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017), was born in Seoul, Korea. His family immigrated to Paraguay, then to the US when he was five. He is a cofounder of Writ Large Press, which organizes literary and cultural gatherings, most recently producing "90 for 90"-- 90 events at different venues across the LA area over 90 consecutive days. His work engages themes of community, racism, exile, and family, which he discusses in this Poetry.LA interview hosted by Mariano Zaro. Choi's other collections include The Flood (Tia Chucha Press, 2010) and Abductions (Writ Large Press, 2012). His columns have appeared in Cultural Weekly. Choi earned an MFA at New York University.
Ramón García has authored two poetry collections, The Chronicles (Red Hen Press, 2015), a finalist for the Latino International Book Award for Best Poetry Book in English in 2016, and Other Countries (What Books Press, 2010), and a monograph on photographer and mixed-media artist Ricardo Valverde (Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2013). His poems, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in a variety of journals, anthologies and museum catalogs, including The Best American Poetry, The Floating Borderlands: Twenty-Five Years of US-Hispanic Literature, The American Journal of Poetry, Los Angeles Review, and Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas. He has contributed to projects of various visual artists, including Berta Jottar, Harry Gamboa Jr., Susan Silton, David John Attyah, and Sandra de la Loza. Born in Colima, Mexico, García grew up in Modesto, California. He has a B.A. in World Literature from the Univ. of California Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in Literature from the Univ. of San Diego. He is a Professor at California State Univ., Northridge, and lives in Downtown L.A..
Some poets contribute to the poetry community by hosting a reading series or founding a small literary press or website, or by curating literary events, or running workshops, or editing anthologies, or supporting emerging poets. Now meet Southern California poet Sarah Thursday who has done all those things in a span of five years while working a full-time teaching job and producing her own full-length collection, All the Tiny Anchors, (Sadie Girl Press, 2014) and three chapbooks. While her poetry advocacy has been most strongly felt in the Long Beach poetry scene, she reads and participates in events throughout the region.
Lynne Thompson is the author of Start with a Small Guitar (What Books Press, 2013) and Beg No Pardon (Perugia Press, 2007) winner of a Perugia Press First Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award. She also received a 2015 Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A.). Her poems have appeared in many journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, Salamander, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, African American Review, Crab Creek Review, Poetry International and several anthologies including, most recently, Nasty Women Poets: An Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017). A former practicing attorney, Thompson lives in Los Angeles and is the reviews and essays editor for the literary journal, Spillway.
Jack Grapes is an award-winning poet, playwright, actor and teacher. In 1989, he founded the internationally noted literary journal, ONTHEBUS. His book, Method Writing (Bombshelter Press), is in its 11th edition. He has authored over a dozen collections including The Naked Eye: New and Selected Poems, 1987-2012. In 2017, he published Wide Road to the Edge of the World - 301 Haiku and One Long Essay. He has won numerous publishing grants and Fellowships from the NEA and nine Artist-in- Residence grants from the California Arts Council to teach writing in schools throughout LA. He has taught over 2000 poets and writers through UCLA's Extension program and private classes.