February 27th, 2 P.M.
Poet Laureate of L.A. Luis J. Rodriquez
PalacioMagazine.com recently interviewed Luis J. Rodriquez, the current poet laureate of Los Angeles. The Friends of the Long Beach Public Library Blanche Collins Forum are honoring and featuring Rodriguez on Saturday, February 27th at 2 p.m.
Rodriguez is the son of Mexican immigrants and has emerged as one of the leading Chicano writers with fifteen published works. He’s currently working as a peacemaker among gangs and troubled youth on a national and international level.
Rodriguez’s first memoir, ALWAYS RUNNING, LA VIDA LOCA, won a Carl Sandburg Literary Award, was a New York Times Notable Book, and had the distinction of being listed by the American Library Association as one of the nation’s 100 most censored books. His honors and recognition include The Spirit of Struggle/Ruben Salazar award from InnerCity Struggle, “Hero of the Community” from KCET-TV and Union Bank, “Hero of Nonviolence” by the Agape Christian Center, and an “Unsung Hero of Compassion” presented by the Dalai Lama.
In the phone interview, we explored a number of themes including why he writes. This is a writer who has and continues to live life fully. From the jail cells in his youth to his many roles as a novelist, short story and children’s book writer, community and urban peace activist and most prominently a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, it’s obvious he lives what he writes.
You can hear Luis J. Rodriguez 2 P.M. at the Long Beach Main Public Library Auditorium, 101 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach 90822. Doors open at 1:30 P.M. Parking is available at the City Hall parking structure. Enter from Broadway and Cedar. For more information, call 562-570-7500.
You can read more about Rodriguez at his website www.luisjrodriguez.com
Luis J. Rodriguez: List of Published Works by Medium (Poetry, Essays, Fiction, Recordings, Reportage), 1972 to present
It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing: (memoir; hardcover fall 2011, paperback July 2012) Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster, NYC) also E-book from Touchstone Books and audio book from Dreamscape (narrated by actor Jacobo Vargas). Finalist for a 2012 National Book Critics Circle Book Award in autobiography.
Making Medicine: A Poem: Fall 2008 (signed and numbered limited edition hand-made art book), C & C Press, Pajaro, CA.
My Nature is Hunger: New & Selected Poems 1989-2004: Fall 2005, Curbstone Press/Rattle Edition, Willimantic, CT; Winner: 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Finalist, Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award; Accepted in the California Collections/California Readers; rights sold to Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL; e-book from Open Road Integrated Media, NYC.
Seven and Two Women (with a Spanish version called Dos Mujeres, translated by Jorge Martinez and Trini Rodriguez, books created by Sher Zabaszkiewicz and Matt Cohen, C & C Press, Santa Barbara, CA; June 25, 2005, presented at Tia Chucha’s Café Cultural, Sylmar, CA; three special collectors’ limited art books, with paper created out of Rodriguez’s T-shirts, hand-bound, letter-pressed using polymer plates and linoleum cuts. Only 50 copies made of each book. Several broadsides of the poems were also created, numbered and signed by Luis Rodriguez. Poems: “Chuparosa (Hummingbird), “Time & Nature” (for Two Women/Dos Mujeres) and (for Seven).
Music of the Mill: A Novel: Hardcover: Spring 2005, Rayo Books/HarperCollins; paperback, Spring 2006: Chosen as one of the Best Books of 2005, Chicago Tribune; Listed in Paperback Row, April 2006, in the New York Times; also recipient of a 2006 Eighth Annual International Latino Book Award in the Best Novel–Historical Fiction category (one of three); Finalist, PEN USA Literary Awards in Fiction, 2006; 2008 International Latino Book Award for Best Adventure Novel in Spanish (Musica de la aceria)
My Nature is Hunger: Poems by Luis J. Rodriguez: Special edition of new poems published by the US Embassy, Berlin, for the Advanced English teachers at the “Re-writing America” conference in Blaubeuren, Germany, November 2004.
The Republic of East L.A.: Stories: Rayo/HarperCollins; NYC; hardcover in April 2002; short Story Collection. 2003 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award; Selected by theLos Angeles Times as one of the best books of the West for 2002; 2002 Book Sense selection for July/August; 2003 Book Sense selection (English paperback appeared March 2003; Spanish version, translated by Alfonso Gonzales, in March 2003; selected as Book of the Month for March for “Despierta Leyendo” segment of “Despierta America,” TV morning show, Univision International).
Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times: Seven Stories Press, NYC; November 2001. Nonfiction Book; Finalist for 2002 Independent Publisher Book Award in the Multicultural Nonfiction Category; core book for the “Breaking the Cycle with Dignity” Program, certified by the State of California for juvenile detention facilities (2006); reprinted 2014 by Seven Stories Press with cover art by Ramiro “Rah Azul” Hernandez.
It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way: A Barrio Story / No tiene que ser asi: una historia del barrio: Illustrated, bilingual children’s book in August 1999 by Children’s Book Press, San Francisco and in 2012 by Lee & Low Publishers, NYC; artist: Daniel Galvez. 1999 Parent’s Choice Approved Winner for Children’s Books; 2000 Skipping Stones Magazine’s Honor Award for Multicultural and International Literature; 1999 Americas Award Commended Title for Best Book for Children; Book of Month, Holyoke Public Schools, Holyoke, MA (January 2007); spring 2012 reissued by Lee & Low Books, NYC.
Trochemoche: New Poems: Poetry collection in June 1998 by Curbstone Press. 1999 ForeWord magazine’s Silver Award for Poetry Book of the Year; rights sold to Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL; e-book from Open Road Integrated Media, NYC.
América Is Her Name / Le llaman América: Children’s book, English and Spanish versions, illustrated, in May 1998 by Curbstone Press, CT.; artist: Carlos Vasquez; translater: Tito Villanueva; winner of 1999 Paterson Books for Young People Book Award; 1999 Skipping Stone Magazine Honor Award; 1999 Bank Street List of Best Children’s Books for 1998.
Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A./ La vida loca: el testimonio de un pandillero en Los Angeles: Nonfiction memoir published by (hardcover) Curbstone Press, Willimantic, CT, February/1993; (paperback) Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster; NYC; also published in Great Britain by Marion Boyars, February/1994; also a Spanish version, translated by Ricardo Aguilar Melantzon and Ana Brewington for Simon & Schuster in 1994 for the U.S. and Grupo Editorial Planeta in Mexico (under title “Siempre corriendo”). Winner: 1994 Chicago Sun-Times First Prose Book Award; 1994 Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Academic Books List; 1993 Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Non-Fiction; 1993 New York Times Book Review Notable Book; 1994 New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Audiobook, ready by Luis J. Rodriguez, released in late 2011 by Dreamscape Audiobooks; e-book from Open Road Integrated Media, NYC.
The Concrete River: Poetry collection published by Curbstone Press, Willimantic, CT, June, 1991 Winner: 1991 PEN West/Josephine Miles Literary; honorable mention, Paterson Poetry Prize; 2010 rights to Northwestern University Press; e-book from Open Road Integrated Media, NYC.
Poems Across The Pavement: Poetry collection published by Tia Chucha Press, Chicago, IL, December 1989, cover art by Gamaliel Ramirez. Winner: 1989 Poetry Center Book Award, San Francisco State University (with Adrian Louis); reprinted as 25th anniversary edition with cover photograph by Violet Soto, Tia Chucha Press, Los Angeles, March 2014.