La Palabra Poetry Reading


Featuring:  Luis Rodriguez

Sunday July 26. 2009 from 2 to 4 pm

  Luis J. Rodriguez has emerged and is recognized as one of the leading contemporary Chicano writers in the country with fourteen published books in memoir, fiction, nonfiction, children's literature, and poetry. His poetry has won a Poetry Center Book Award, a PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award and a Paterson Poetry Book Prize, among others. His children's books-America is Her Name and It Doesn't Have to be This Way: A Barrio Story-have won a Patterson Young Adult Book Award, two "Skipping Stones" Honor Awards and a Parent's Choice Book Award. A novel, Music of the Mill (2005) and a short story collection, The Republic of East LA (2001), are from Rayo Books/Harper Collins.

Luis is best known for his  1993 memoir of gang life, Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. Selling more than 300,000 copies, it garnered a Carl Sandburg Literary Award, a Chicago Sun-Times Book Award, and was designated a New York Times Notable Book. Always Running was turned into a stage play by the Cornerstone Theater Company and performed for 6,000 high school students in the Mark Taper Auditorium of the Los Angeles Public Library from 2003-2005; and at the Ivar Theater in Hollywood for a limited run in 2005. Written as a cautionary tale for Luis’ then 15-year-old son Ramiro--who had joined a Chicago gang--the memoir is popular among youth and teachers.. Despite this, the American Library Association in 1999 called Always Running one of the 100 most censored books in the United States.

Luis, founder of Tia Chucha Press, a small poetry publisher producing quality cross-cultural poetry collections, chapbooks, and CDs for twenty years,  is also cofounder of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore located in and serving the Northeast San Fernando Valley. His latest book "My Nature is Hunger: New & Selected Poems" (Curbstone Press) won the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize. Limited-edition hand-made art books and broadsides of Luis' poems have also been printed by C & C Press of Pajaro, for sale to collectors, universities, libraries and other institutions, including the works  Seven, Two Women/Dos Mujeres and Making Medicine.

Co-hosted by Laura L Longoria & Don Newton