Los Angeles's unofficial poet laureate Wanda Coleman once said of her city:
...to love this turf is love hard and unrequited. Is to be a constant trick, a constant victim of the dry screw. Is to never be quite satisfied on deeper levels. Is to always be hungry. Hungry for the sweet love promised.
Whether setting the tone for the the Beats movement in Venice, or shedding new light on the Los Angeles River, poetry has been a way of connecting to and making sense of Los Angeles. In honor of National Poetry Month, we are celebrating the poets and artists who have connected with Departures, by highlighting a poem a day. We also encourage you to share your words, beats, licks, and poems about Los Angeles. Submit yours here and make sure to find out what other poets have to say in either the recent community submissions or the National Poetry Month calendar, both featured below.
National Poetry Month was initiated by the Academy of American Poets in order to "highlight the extraordinary legacy and achievement of American poets." At Departures, we have had the opportunity to interview many Los Angeles based poets, but we know there are still more out there.
Our collection below features a poem for each day of April from the Departures installments, the student producers of Youth Voices, StoryShare participants, and from special guest poets.
Luis Rodriguez - The Concrete River
Erendira Hernandez - Los Angeles
Philomene Long - America
Lindsey Haley - Que Hubo Jose te Manda Saludos La Lindsey
Irvin Lai - With No Home to Return
Lewis MacAdams - Two Poems from The River: Book One
Rosina Talamantes - Reasonable Suspicion: A Profile
Mike the Poet - LA: Land of a 1000 Dances
Gregory Itzin - Concrete Causeway
Luis Rodriguez - Meeting the Animal in Washington Square Park
Philomene Long - Cold Ellison, Recited by Fred Dewey
Lewis MacAdams - Riverboy: "The Mask"
Ann Pibel - Rosaries
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez - 1 de Mayo del 2010 and The Treaty
Francisco Letelier - The Verses
Frank Rios - A Poem for Stuart
Rachelle Cruz - Unfriend
Los Geekz - Change is Coming
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo - Mexican Girl in Chavez Ravine
Keith Jones - Whooptie Whoop
Kelly Simpson - Two Haikus
Jessica Wilson - Old City Glamour
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez - Untitled
Frank Rios - Black for Tony Scibella
A.K. Toney - Many
Suzanne Lummis - Man's Shirts Flung from Window
D. J. Waldie - Rush
Grant Keller - Trying to be Beat in the 21st Century
A Poem from the River Book by Lewis MacAdams
Los Angeles, A Song by X
Click an image below to read poems from the community.
Erika Ayon - Love Letter to Ocativa
Linh Duong - L.A. Minute
Zosimo Quibilan, Jr. - Melrose Ave
Peggy Barker -Two Poems
Jerry Garcia - At The Grove
Matthew Florio -Untitled
Fred Chandler - The Western
William Mikell - Life in L.A.
M. T. Whitington - Untitled
Joshua A. Robinson - Untitled
Departures is collecting your poems about Los Angeles to add to the collection from neighborhoods. If you have any troubles any submitting your poem or have any questions, email us.