Los Angeles Poetry - Departures Style

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.

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