Literary History: The Fearless Invention of One of L.A.’s Greatest Poets

Wanda Coleman’s work tallies and transcends the difficulties of being a black woman in a profession that hardly pays.

By Dan Chiasson
FROM: The New Yorker

200518_r36471Wanda Coleman wrote in “My Love Brings Flowers,” a poem from 1983. “Make clothes ten years old fashionable / rejuvenate one fake sable coat.” Coleman, who died in 2013, was one of the great menders in American verse: she found the extra wear in old forms like the sonnet and rummaged for new forms in everyday material, like aptitude tests, medical reports, and want ads. Poets sometimes brag about their fearsome powers of transformation; Coleman, beset by hardship for much of her life, kept her boasts closer to the bone. “I scrape bottom,” she wrote, and yet her poetry drew on deep reserves. Given Coleman’s almost chaotic originality, it is touching to encounter her stark admissions of debt: “I borrow from friends.” At a moment when many of us are learning—and teaching one another—how to make a face mask out of a sock or a bra, Coleman’s poetry might be just the model of inspired, ecstatic thrift we need.

Continue reading “Literary History: The Fearless Invention of One of L.A.’s Greatest Poets”

A Letter From Local Publusher Kaya Press

FROM: Kaya Press Facebook


FB_IMG_1585004532690Dear Friends,

We hope you and your loved ones are supported, and are able to cultivate laughter and a sense of ease during this challenging and precarious season. In order to reduce the chances of transmission of COVID-19, Kaya Press’ small team of staff and interns began working from home last week. Nevertheless, our commitment to literature, our authors, and our literary community remains unwavering.

Continue reading “A Letter From Local Publusher Kaya Press”

Forthcoming From Local Press Los Nietos: “Behind the Red Curtain” by Hồng-Mỹ Basrai

By Brian Dunlap

coverLos Nietos Press is small. Last year they published Long Beach poet Thomas R. Thomas’ latest poetry collection Star Chasing, a poetic memoir about his life growing up in a Southern California tract-house through his adulthood living in the Southland. In 2018, they published San Bernardino native and Long Beach resident liz gonzález’ first full length poetry collection Dancing in the Santa Ana Winds: Poems y Cuentos New and Selected.

Continue reading “Forthcoming From Local Press Los Nietos: “Behind the Red Curtain” by Hồng-Mỹ Basrai”

A New L.Á. Novel

By Jessica

51lXK0qo5DL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Virtual Velocity by Anthony Mora is the story of the curious creation of pop phenomena, Jake Jenkins, America’s most renowned and successful literary novelist. Spanning six decades, through three interconnected stories, Virtual Velocity follows Jake from a sixteen-year-old learning about literature and women, to frenetic rock journalist, to struggling literary novelist, to world-famous author. Journeying through L.Á.’s rock and literary worlds, it is also an homage to the city, tracking its internal and external changing landscape and its cultural shape shifting.

Continue reading “A New L.Á. Novel”

Los Ángeles Writers Publish in 2019

By Brian Dunlap

41a5-UzZuvL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgAs 2019 comes to a close, it’s clear that Los Ángeles writers explore a diverse range of topics, themes, and ideas. As the months went by, writers published novels, essay collections, poetry collections/chapbooks or announced their books had been accepted for publication in 2020. Their writing ranged from exploration of children lost too soon, to a celebration Los Ángeles, to the love of a neighborhood always reduced and racially stereotyped, to the generational trauma of people of color.

Continue reading “Los Ángeles Writers Publish in 2019”

Poetic Lenses: Our Fifteenth Annual Look at Debut Poetry

By Dana Isokawa
FROM: Poets & Writers

debut_poets_collageFor our fifteenth annual look at debut poetry, we chose ten poets whose first books struck us with their formal imagination, distinctive language, and deep attention to the world. The books, all published in 2019, inhabit a range of poetic modes. There is Keith S. Wilson’s reimagining of traditional forms in Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love, and Maya Phillips’s modern epic, Erou. There is Maya C. Popa’s lyric investigations in American Faith, Marwa Helal’s subversive documentary poems in Invasive species, and Yanyi’s series of prose poems in The Year of Blue Water. The ten collections clarify and play with all kinds of language—the language of the news, of love, of politics, of philosophy, of family, of place—and, as Popa says, they “slow and suspend the moment, allowing a more nuanced examination of what otherwise flows through us quickly.”

Continue reading “Poetic Lenses: Our Fifteenth Annual Look at Debut Poetry”

Literary History: Why L.A. Is The Perpetual Dark Heart of Crime Writing

By Jeffery Fleishman
FROM: Los Angeles Times

downloadLos Angeles is a madman’s prayer wrapped inside a murderous dream.

It’s homeless on sidewalks and hustlers in the hills. It’s laborers and housekeepers, and billboards of lust, dystopia, apes, robots, Chewbaccas, Kim and Kanye, and Lady Gaga’s newest thing. It’s clear skies, no mosquitoes and laser-sculpted people with money, hedgerows and sins. A crime writer can make of it what he or she wants, like “Westworld” or a lover who gives you a kiss and a key, and one day changes the locks.

Continue reading “Literary History: Why L.A. Is The Perpetual Dark Heart of Crime Writing”

Star Chasing by Thomas R. Thomas

By Brian Dunlap

Star-Chasing-Facebook-Feature-1-1020x576The 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.”

Continue reading “Star Chasing by Thomas R. Thomas”