Fifty Years of Beyond Baroque: 1968–2018

By Johanna Drucker

From: LARB

downloadFOR HALF A CENTURY, Beyond Baroque, the literary arts center in Venice, has provided a venue for an eclectic array of voices from diverse communities. Its program flyers and press releases have featured punk poets and New Age mystics, as well as gay, feminist, Black, and Latinx lyricists, storytellers, songsters, and activists. While creating an essential platform for Los Angeles and Southern California writers, Beyond Baroque has also attracted high-profile figures of international renown like Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Jack Hirschman, Dennis Cooper, and Viggo Mortensen. If Southern California shows up on the literary map of late 20th-century America, it is in some significant part because of Beyond Baroque’s tireless activity and advocacy. And the prevailing spirit of inclusiveness in its programming can be attributed to George Drury Smith, who founded the institution in 1968.

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Artist Interview with Poet Laureate John Brantingham

From: Treehouse Arts

Hanging-RockI first came across John Brantingham’s work when he sent in a poetry submission to TreeHouse Arts, which I quickly accepted (you can view that publication here). Obviously, I liked his work, but what truly caught my attention was that in his bio he mentioned that he spends summers “living off the grid in a tent in the High Sierra, teaching poetry and writing for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.”

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Cyclical Time, Slaughter, and Colonial Violence in Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex

by Maia Gil’Adí

From: American Horror Stories Site

51k44v73w7l-_sx258_bo1204203200_I assigned Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex (2005) as an incentive to begin work on the fourth chapter on my dissertation. In all honesty, I was using my students and our in-class discussions as a sounding board for my own ideas about this complicated novel. Unlike other readings this semester (besides Beloved, perhaps), Atomik Aztex is particularly difficult. It is formally and thematically challenging, implementing postmodern stylistics in conjunction with surrealism, Gonzo “journalism,” and the satirical, which can be baffling for readers.  Foster’s mixing of the “low-brow” and “high-art,” popular and consumer culture, Anglo-American and indigenous cultures also present a challenge for readers. My own interest in this book emerges from Foster’s “performance” of Chicanx in this novel and the possibilities that emerge from reading intra-ethnically and across racial and national boundaries.

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PROFILE OF A MODERN-DAY POET IN L.A.: MIKE THE POET

by ASTRID
From: L.A. Taco

IMG_9023“Los Angeles is not Baywatch or the Beach Boys, it is getting carne asada tacos from a taco truck and bacon wrapped hot dogs at two in the morning.”

These are the words of Mike Sonksen, a poet, historian, activist, teacher, husband, and father better known as Mike the Poet. The nickname was given to Mike at the age of 23, by a friend who noticed he always carried a notebook. “You know Mike, you’re not Mike Sonksen, you’re Mike the Poet.”

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Cynthia Guardado Interview Podcast with Ever Velasquez and Todd Taylor

From: razorcake.org

cynthia_guardado_takashi_matsumoto_razorcakeCynthia Guardado is a fierce and unapologetically brown Salvadorian American female punk rockera, poeta, activista, y profe straight from Inglewooooood, California. Her poems have been published in PALABRA, A Magazine of Chicano & Latino Literary Art; The Packing House Review; and Razorcake’s very own Puro Pinche Poetry: Gritos Del Barrio.

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Santa Monica Review To Celebrate 30th Anniversary

by Grace Singh Smith

From: SMC In Focus

LEADThis year—fall 2018—marks the 30th anniversary of Santa Monica Review (SMR). The national literary arts journal published by Santa Monica College (SMC) showcases the work of established authors alongside emerging writers, with a focus on West Coast fiction and nonfiction; it happens to be the only nationally-distributed literary journal at a community college.

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