By Brian Dunlap
The latest release from local L.A. press Los Nietos is Long Beach poet Thomas R. Thomas’ collection Star Chasing. The collection explores the themes of childhood, marriage, death and the gods of America that Donna Hilbert blurbs “chronicles [life] in tract-house Southern California.” These poems, as author Scott Noon Creley notes, are written with “minimalist lines.”
Thomas was born in L.A., but grew up in the San Gabriel Valley in the 1960s and 70s, just before the region transformed into the nation’s first Asian suburbs. Now Thomas is the publisher of Arroyo Seco Press, publishing poetry and fiction. On the about section of its website, instead of an explanation about the press, there is a poem titled “Swimming the Arroyo Seco,” whose first stanza reads:
The Arroyo Seco was my
mom’s playground in the 20s.
Swinging from a tree she
dove into the water before
the river was paved.
He is also the author of Five Lines (World Parade Books, 2013) and the chapbook Scorpio (Carnival).
Los Nietos Press’ previous publication was last year’s successful poetry collection Dancing in the Santa Ana Wind: New and Selected Poems y Cuentos by fellow Long Beach poet and San Bernardino native liz gonzalez. The press publishes the works of poetry and short stories, as it says in their website, “that help understand the lives and history of the people who make up the diverse community of Southern California.” Their particular interest, their Facebook story says, is, “the people and the place that fans out East and South from Los Angeles…into the vibrant working communities from East L.A. to Long Beach, from Santa Ana over to the historic cities of the Inland Empire.”
Another local writer finds publishing success.