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Luis Rodriguez

Luis J. RodriguezLuis Rodriguez is a poet, journalist, social activist, and publisher whose history spans America from Mexico's Copper Canyon to East Los Angeles to Chicago. He is a survivor of much gang violence in his youth. In 1993, he published "Always Running - La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A." (Curbstone Press), a journal of his gang life experiences from the 1960s and '70s. Poetry titles of his by Curbstone Press include and "Trochemoche (Helter Skelter)" (1998), and "The Concrete River" (1991). His first poetry volume, "Poems Across the Pavement" (Tia Chucha Press, 1989), won the 1989 Poetry Center National Book Award from San Francisco State University. Rodriguez founded Tia Chucha Press, which remains one of Chicago's most noteworthy hometown literary presses.

Rodriguez' work speaks of Latinos' disenfranchisement and pursuit of empowerment in the United States in a voice that is faithful to its culture, unapologetic, and proud. His writing remains accessible to the broader Anglo society in which it lives. In 2000, Rodriguez moved his immediate family from Chicago back to Los Angeles to be closer to relatives, and to continue his writing energized by his experiences decades before. His mission through Tia Chucha then evolved into a café, bookstore, and arts center. Further information on Rodriguez can be found at the author's own website.

Audition these poems by clicking on the titles:

A Procession of Limbs
Eva sitting on the curb with pen and paper before the torturers come to get her
(A conversation with P.Z.)
from Trochemoche
Meeting the Animal in Washington Square Park
from Trochemoche
My Name Is Not Rodriguez
Pedazo por Pedazo ("Step by Step")
The Old Woman of Mérida
from Trochemoche
Victory, Victoria, My Beautiful Whisper
from Trochemoche

- March 2004