Luis J. Rodriguez
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It Calls You Back
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Recent Blog Posts
This piece first appeared on January 21, 2016 on the Los Angeles Public Library website:http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/city-angels-city-poets
On historic Central Avenue near East 45th Street, the Vernon Branch Public Library looks like a jail—tall fences surround the circa 1915 building and a fenced walkway leads up to the doorway. Like the surrounding neighborhood, the library appears worn, beaten down. It’s situated on the edge of the high-crime Central-Alameda...
This homage to Native American poet and activist John Trudell originally appeared on December 14, 2015 at the L.A. Public Library website:http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/grandmothers-talking-my-time-and-teachings-john-trudell
We hear what you say
One Earth one Mother
One does not sell the Earth
The people walk upon
We are the land
How do we sell our Mother
How do we sell the stars
How do we sell the air…
Poet and activist John Trudell expressed...
This piece appeared November 24, 2015 at the blogpost of L.A. Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez on the LA Public Library website:http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/every-road-should-come-end-place-called-home
Every road should come to this end:
A place called home.
When you don’t have one
the expanse of sky is your roof,
the vacant lots and sidewalks your living room.
Every city, your city.
When you speak, you speak for the country.
In the wrinkled faces and the sun-scarred...
Salinas community leaders welcome intervention expert Luis J. Rodriguez; Vow to target the roots of youth violence….
Over two nights, 40 grassroots leaders met with urban peace activist and author Luis J. Rodriguez. They came from all over Salinas as well as Castroville, Seaside and other Tri-County communities to the first gathering of the Salinas Area Youth Violence Intervention Project.
Salinas, California—On November 9 and 10, 2015, forty community leaders representing over half a dozen...
From the Los Angeles Public Library website:http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/what-latinx-heritage-month-means-me
In the United States, “Latinx Heritage Month” is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. This is a time to recognize and honor Latinx peoples, cultures, issues, contributions, and histories.
Yet this year Latinx Heritage Month is arriving with a backdrop of presidential nomination candidates attacking Latinx migration to this country, calling for billions of...
I’ve been a conscious revolutionary writer, thinker and organizer since 18 when I began to relentlessly remove myself from “La Vida Loca,” the Chicano gang life in an East L.A.-area gang, including drug addiction, violent acts and jail. I’m fortunate to have begun this difficult process at the right time, when my own internal development aligned with the social movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
My mentors were among the most radical members of the civil rights, anti-war and labor...
This piece was a blog post by Luis J. Rodriguez on June 23, 2015 as L.A.'s Poet Laureate for the LA Public Library's website. Here's link:http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/trauma-transformation
The calling came to me while I languished
in my room, while I whittled away my youth
in jail cells and damp barrio fields.
It brought me to life, out of captivity,
in a street-scarred and tattooed place
I called body.
Until then I waited silently,
a deafening clamor in my head,
This post first appeared as a weblog on April 29, 2015 in the Los Angeles Public Library website:http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/praise-chicano-poetry.
Chicano/a poets have emerged as major literary figures in the United States with the recent appointments of Juan Felipe Herrera as California Poet Laureate (although he just finished his two-year term) and Alberto Rios as first poet Laureate of Arizona. We alsohave Alejandro Murguia of San Francisco, Laurie Ann Guerrero of...
I received an email on April 1 from poet Steven Reigns, who's been working on National Poetry Month banners in West Hollywood. He said that at 4 am that day street banners were hung along Santa Monica Boulevard of poets, including one for yours truly. What a grand honor. Twenty-two poets appear with a line from one of their poems. Here's Marilyn Chin with "Float my mind toward the other side of hate." And Toi Derricotte with "Joy is an act of resistance." And Raphael Campo's, "Your voice, how...
This blogpost first appeared on the Los Angeles Public Library website on Friday, March 27, 2015:http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/celebrate-national-poetry-month-support-your-local-poets
As the new Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, I’m excited about National Poetry Month, which every year falls on April. This April, I will be visiting libraries and schools as well as take part in the largest gathering of writers and teachers of writing in the country—the Association of Writers...
When Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural non-profit component was established in July of 2003--to enhance the amazing work, presentations, workshops, and artists arising out of Tia Chucha's Cafe Cultural, LLC--the then working board (Angelica Loa Perez, Victor Mendoza, and Luis J. Rodriguez, with Michael Centeno as our first director) created the following philosophical statement on August 13, 2003. This served as a guiding document for our present and future work. Twelve years later, the document...
My second blogpost for the Los Angeles Public Library website is reprinted below:
“Well, write poetry, for God’s sake, it’s the only thing that matters.”
That statement, by a U.S. poet known for highly stylized poems, who’s own views moved from Unitarian to Republican, may appear odd, contrived, out of touch. I can’t say Cummings’ words are entirely true. How can poetry be all that matters? Most poets wouldn’t say that. Even good teachers can’t claim their students are all that...