CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 11, 2013 |
Before the ashes and the anguish, before the 1965 riots and the spotlight of attention that followed, there was a pocket of people already fighting for Watts. They fought for the arts and for the black community from a building on Grandee Avenue and 104th Street. It was there, in the community she was raised in, that Jayne Cortez founded the Watts Repertory Theater Company, an ensemble she used to unearth and highlight racial inequalities. Cortez, a performance artist whose evocative, surreal poetry tackled racial and sexual oppression, died Dec. 28 of heart failure at a hospital in New York City, said her husband, Melvin Edwards.
January 10, 2013 |
President Obama's choice of the relatively unknown Cuban American poet Richard Blanco to read at his inauguration later this month caught many people in poetry circles by surprise. Blanco, 44, will be the first Latino poet, and the first openly gay man given the honor of reading at a presidential inauguration. And his choice is a reflection of the great shifts in American poetry circles and U.S. culture at large. "I think it's an inspired choice," said David St. John, a poet and professor at USC. Though Blanco is well-known in poetry circles for his award-winning first collection of poetry and recently published his third book, "Looking for the Gulf Motel," he's "not an establishment poet," as former California poet laureate Carol Muske-Dukes put it. "It's a choice that's not only important for the gay and lesbian and Latino communities," St. John said, "but also for poets who work to give voice to people outside the mainstream of popular culture.
January 9, 2013 |
President Obama has chosen Richard Blanco, the 44-year-old son of Cuban immigrants, to be the 2013 inaugural poet. He will be the first Latino poet, and the first openly gay man given the honor of reading at a presidential inauguration. “Richard's writing will be wonderfully fitting for an inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation's great diversity,” Obama said in a statement. Blanco arrived in the U.S. when he was a few months old and was raised in Miami.
January 6, 2013 |
Though Los Angeles may never shed its image as a car-obsessed city, the past 20 years have seen significant progress and growth in its public transit system, making it a viable option for more Angelenos. Along with added convenience, the opening of each new segment brings opportunity for artists. Established in 1989, the Metro Art program has commissioned more than 300 artists and poets to create artworks for 80 stations. "The customers' experience is essential," said Maya Emsden, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's deputy executive officer, creative services.
January 3, 2013 |
Poet and journalist Dana Goodyear perches on a swivel chair in the second-floor writing studio behind her Venice home, the windows cranked open to a gentle ocean breeze. Low rooftops and tall palm trees stretch to the horizon, and Goodyear points to an anomaly just across the alley - a faded surfboard tossed up and forgotten atop a neighbor's single-story house. Such juxtapositions appeal to Goodyear, a New Yorker magazine staff writer. And while the misplaced surfboard doesn't make an appearance in her new book of poems, "The Oracle of Hollywood Boulevard" (Norton, $25.95)
December 21, 2012 |
In 2006, musician Michael Zapruder boarded the Wave Books Poetry Bus in North Carolina and spent a week riding through the South. Among the poets with whom he traveled were his brother, Matthew, an editor at Wave (a leading poetry publisher, based in Seattle), as well as D.A. Powell, Bob Hicok, Dorothea Lasky and Mary Ruefle. The idea behind the bus tour was to bring poetry to its readers by making it accessible in the most public way. Poetry, after all, remains on a fundamental level aural, a form in which meaning is as much a matter of sound, of music and rhythm, as it is of the content of the words.
December 17, 2012 |
Poet Jake Adam York, 40, died unexpectedly Sunday. The news was reported by colleagues at a number of venues that had published his work, including the New England Review, the blog of Best American Poetry and the Kenyon Review. They did not report the cause of death. York , an associate professor at the University of Colorado, Denver, was the author of three collections of poetry and a book of literary history. He had recently been named a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry for 2013.
December 11, 2012
Re "Poet laureate is chosen for L.A.," Dec. 7 In the early 1980s, I was a restless transfer student at Cal State Northridge, an undeclared major and uncertain in most things. On a whim, I attended a poetry reading in a packed CSUN office. Eloise Klein Healy read from her book, "A Packet Beating Like a Heart," and I was set free. The ache of my young life did not disappear, but I credit Healy with my decision to pursue a bachelor's degree in English. The craft of poetry is to this day my balm in a still uncertain world.
December 10, 2012 |
When I was in college in the 1970s, a significant part of my financial aid package was a National Defense Student Loan. I was grateful but bemused. I was an English major with a minor concentration in philosophy and religion. How was my study of Shakespeare and Kant shoring up America's position in the Cold War or the space race? If Congress had limited the loans to science and math majors, I would have been bummed, but I'm not sure I would have had a principled objection. Nor am I offended that some members of Congress wanted to replace so-called diversity visas with visas that favored applicants with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 7, 2012 |
Before sitting down for tea in Echo Park, the poet reaches for her iPhone. "I have to turn this thing off," she explains, silencing the ringer. "It's getting too noisy these days. " As a publisher, educator and author of seven books of poems, Eloise Klein Healy is a stalwart of the Los Angeles literary scene. Her phone has been buzzing more than usual in recent weeks as she prepares to take on a new title. On Friday, Healy will be named L.A.'s first poet laureate. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa decided earlier this year that his city, like others, should have a namesake poet.