LA poets document the city in ‘Coiled Serpent’ anthology

By Richard Guzman

From: L.A. Daily News

 

CW75yr1UkAAs4cMAs students take part in a guitar workshop inside his Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in Sylmar, Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez grabs a copy of the latest book published by his nonprofit organization.

He walks outside to a small table and sets down his blue Winnie the Pooh coffee cup, exposing a faded forearm tattoo of a long-haired indigenous woman as he flips through the pages of “Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles.”

“I love the beauty of it. The poems really stand out, and I think it’s really reflective of the city. The city is beautiful in so many weird ways,” says the poet and novelist, who is perhaps best known for his memoir “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.”

Rodriguez, who was named poet laureate by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014, has long been an advocate for the city, its poetry and the power of words to change lives.

And the new book exemplifies those tenets with a collection of poems that capture the experiences, cultures and even the weirdness that intertwine — and at times collide — to create the fabric of the city.

The anthology includes the voices of more than 160 L.A. poets who are part of the sweeping 371-page tome.

“We needed a big, powerful anthology that covered the range of L.A. Even if you can’t represent all of L.A. But at least have a lot of voices,” said Rodriguez, whose cultural center also includes its publishing arm the Tia Chucha Press.

A book release event for “Coiled Serpent” is slated for March 30 at the Ace Hotel in downtown L.A. during the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference.

The public event, which will be hosted by Rodriguez, will include readings by many of the poets in the anthology.

“We have a lot of voices. Some folks are brand new to poetry, some are very well-known,” said Daniel Olivas, an author and one of three editors of the anthology.

The other two editors are Neelanjana Banerjee, the managing editor at Kaya Press in L.A., and Ruben Rodriguez, Luis Rodriguez’s son and recent UCLA graduate. Read Rest of Article Here

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