“Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond” edited by Los Angeles poet Suzanne Lummis is the most comprehensive poetry collection of L.A. poets including 112 poets spanning the history of Los Angeles poetry. However, a few too many key L.A. poets have been left out. Notables are: Marisela Norte, Will Alexander, Amy Gerstler, Michelle T. Clinton, Victor Valle. Also, Los Angeles poet Bill Mohr spoke on on the same problem in a recent blog post titled, “Wide Awake: Two-thrids of the Poets of Los Angeles.” Never the less, having a 112 Los Angeles poets compiled together, displaying L.A.’s poetic history, is still worthy of a read. I look forward to cracking open the anthology soon.
A good article about the anthology by Mike Sonksen is excerpted below.
Wide Awake with the Breakbeat Poets
by Mike Sonksen
The first anthology to discuss is “Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond,” just published under the umbrella of the Pacific Coast Poetry Series by Beyond Baroque Books. This new volume extends for over 300 pages and features over 112 Los Angeles poets. Edited by Suzanne Lummis, the collection aims to be the most ambitious assembling of Los Angeles poetry yet. There have been a number of Los Angeles poetry anthologies over the last century, but most of them were very focused and centered on a particular neighborhood or school of local writing.
Suzanne Lummis writes in her introduction, “These poems endorse neither the dream nor the nightmare vision of Los Angeles. Instead they wander through absurdity, pathos, comedy, anguish, irony and tenderness. And through NELA, NoHo, West L.A., Venice West, Malibu, Hollywood, East Hollywood, Downtown, K-Town, J-Town, East Los and Leimert Park they wander, usually with a purpose.” The purpose seems to be delivering a micro-narrative. Each poem is a separate story, and the 200 plus poems collected cover all sides of the city. Read the full article here.