On Friday, November 11, 2016, as a part of our PAMLA Conference at the Westin Pasadena, we will be holding a very special Creative Artist Spotlight event from 5-6 pm in the Madera room at the Westin Pasadena. The event is titled Straight Out of … Venice, Korea Town, Leimert Park, East Hollywood, and Downtown L.A.: Los Angeles and the Poetry of its Neighborhoods.” Please do try to attend, and feel free to invite your scholarly friends–this event is free and open to the public.

Los Angeles has given rise to poets of national fame, but has one of the world’s great cities and the birthplace of The Movies produced its own style? Essays and books, including Lawrence Goldstein’s Poetry Los Angeles: Reading the Essential Poems of the City, have explored the subject. This panel, however, will regard Los Angeles not as a unified entity but as a cluster of distinct neighborhoods, districts, each with its own history, and will consider the poetry that has been identified with each neighborhood of the city. As part of the discussion, panelists will present one of their own poems and one from a noted poet of their neighborhood.

Suzanne Lummis, renowned Los Angeles poet andour moderator and organizer for the event, will speak for Northeast L.A. and the Downtown East Hollywood area. Lummis won the Blue Lynx Poetry Award for Open 24 Hours (Lynx House Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The New Ohio Review, Ploughshares, The New Yorker and other magazines. In 2014 she received Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center’s George Drury Smith Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry.  

Jawanza Dumisani will speak for Leimert Park and Watts. Dumisani is the author of Black Raising Cane Over Red, a collection that chronicles the departure of his family from Mississippi to Detroit in the forties and his young life in Motown. His poetry is included in the anthology Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond.  For years he was workshop director at the World Stage in Leimert Park.

Tanya Ko Hong, born and raised in South Korea, will speak for Korea Town and Rancho Palos Verdes. Ko Hong is a poet and translator who received her MFA at Antioch University. Her poetry collections are Generation One Point Five and Mother to Myself (in Korean), the last published by Purunsasang, 2015. Individual poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Two Hawks Quarterly, Rattle, Cultural Weekly, and Writers at Work.

Bill Mohr will speak for Venice. Mohr’s books of poetry include a bilingual selection of poems, Pruebas Ocultas (Bonobos Editores, Mexico, 2015). He has edited or co-edited three anthologies of Los Angeles or West Coast poets and is the author of Holdouts: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992. He is a Professor of English at California State University, Long Beach.