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.

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Órale Boyle Heights ep 31: Nikolai Garcia

By Erick Huerta

Screenshot_20200119-120943_DuckDuckGoErick Huerta’s guest this episode is Nikolai Garcia. He is a poet from South Central L.A. and they met up at his favorite bar, Hanks, to discuss his new poetry chapbook, what it was like growing up in the hood, his journey to becoming one of those great L.A. poets. You can follow Nikolai on Instagram and Twitter at @HelloKommie. Listen to the podcast here: https://audioboom.com/posts/7470644-orale-boyle-heights-ep-31-nikolai-garcia

Literary History: Kate Braverman, Whose Poetry and Prose Captured a Dark Los Angeles, Dies in Santa Fe, N.M.

By Dorany Pineda
From: Los Angeles Times

download.jpeg-2Kate Braverman a poet, novelist and short-story writer whose work was fueled by a sprawling Los Angeles, has died. She was 70.

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Facundo Bernal’s Poems Spotlight Early Chicano Life in L.A. Long Before Border Walls

By Alex Espinoza
FROM: L.A. Times

la-1553218495-skqvu0dmdl-snap-image.jpegAs the president issues the first veto of his tenure after Congress rejected his declaration of a national emergency to fund his wall, it’s hard to imagine that the dynamics along the U.S.-Mexico border were once different, when people shuttled back and forth between the two nations. Facundo Bernal marks such a moment in “Palos de Ciego,” his manuscript of poetry translated to English for the first time by Anthony Seidman as “A Stab in the Dark” for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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‘Cruising’ Maps the Cultural History of L.A.’s Hookup Spots

By John Birdsall
FROM: L.A. Times

la-1562115803-0mfjnzzzea-snap-image.jpegI had a favorite study carrel at UC Berkeley: third-floor Moffitt Library, northeast corner. The bathroom — folded within an interior wall, set off, secluded — was weird, though. Someone had taken the time to punch a raw opening through the metal partition separating two stalls. It was as big in diameter as a Coke can, sometimes lined with wadded toilet paper, and framed with scrawled hieroglyphics (arrows, initials). I dismissed it as crazy, an elaborate work of vandalism, but it nagged at me. While I studied James Joyce and Virginia Woolf and stressed about my senior thesis, the men’s room was undergoing a silent and illogical transformation.

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