by Brian Dunlap
The last time La Palabra was held at Avenue 50 Studios in December, host Karineh Mahdessian couldn’t hold back tears that spoke to the deep connections she’s made during her time as host of the long running open mic reading series. Karineh’s time was coming to a close. The community she helped nurture packed the back room to help send her off.
This month Avenue 50 Studios announced the new host of the 17-year long La Palabra Poetry Reading Series: poet Angelina Sáenz. She’s already booked four features (B.A. Williams, Chenel King, Regis Peeples and a special guest High School poet) for February’s La Palabra, already putting her own stamp on the reading series that’s had five pervious hosts.
As a Latina born and raised in urban Los Angeles, Sáenz knows this landscape well. Engaging directly with the Highland Park Community that she’s a part of, she helped found and is a teacher in the acclaimed Aldama Elementary Dual Language Program in Highland Park. Angelina’s passion and commitment to educational and linguistic justice, feeds her daily poetic recordings of life, her classroom and everyday interactions in the community.
Sáenz’s work focuses on memory, mujeres, motherhood and cultural/linguistic unfolding. Her poems have appeared in Díalogo (the Journal for Latino Research at DePaul Univeristy), Split this Rock and Out of Anonymity (The Journal of the UCLA Writing Project).
Angelina Sáenz comes to Avenue 50 Studios through the PEN Center USA-Otis College of Art and Design Community Connection Initiative, in which their literary arts coordinator, Jessica Ceballos y Cambpell, is a mentoring partner.
Come welcome Angelina Sáenz as the new host of the La Palabra Poetry Reading Series on February 25th, at 2pm, for La Palabra Poetry – February 2018!!