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Iamb who iamb: L.A. gets new poet laureate

December 07, 2012|By Patt Morrison
  • Eloise Klein Healy, L.A.'s first poet laureate
Eloise Klein Healy, L.A.'s first poet laureate (Francine Orr/ Los Angeles…)

She writes poems about our freeways, our food, and, true-blue fan of the Dodgers that she is, she dreams that one day she might see a poem up there on the big lighted board at Dodger Stadium.

And now she just might.

The city of Los Angeles’ first poet laureate is Eloise Klein Healy. Her selection was announced Friday in the children’s literature section at the Central Library by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who selected her from a number of finalists drawn from more than three dozen applicants for the laureate post.

I’ll have a long interview with her in Wednesday’s “Patt Morrison Asks” column, as L.A. now joins cities like Santa Barbara and Santa Fe, and the Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a laureated place.

“Los Angeles is now working to define itself as a city of great literature,” Klein said. “All the voices heard and not yet heard need a champion. That is my first work.”

Healy’s own works include seven books, including the poetry collection “Artemis in Echo Park.” Dana Gioia, the former NEA chair who headed the selection committee, characterized Healy’s poetry as “smart, funny and human.”

Healy moved here from Iowa with her parents when she was 10 years old, and found years later that she and the city share a birthday, many decades apart: Sept. 4, the day of the city’s founding.

Healy lives in Sherman Oaks with her longtime partner, Colleen Rooney, and their brown Portuguese water dog.


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