Friday, December 14, 2012

Celebrity Friday: Los Angeles' Lesbian Poet Laureate

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has named Eloise Klein Healy to become the first Poet Laureate of Los Angeles.

The Advocate reports:

Healy has written six collections of poetry, including Passing and Artemis in Echo Park, which were both nominated for Lambda Literary Awards. The latter publication is inspired by a Los Angeles neighborhood. She also received the Grand Prize of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival and has been honored with several Pushcart Prize nominations. Her latest book, A Wild Surmise, is forthcoming.

Healy will "serve as the official ambassador of Los Angeles’ vibrant poetry and literary culture,” according to a press release, with responsibilities that include oversight of several readings, programs, and the composition of poems dedicated to the city
Healy responds with some thoughts of her own on being named to the position:
I thought of the hundreds of readings I have done and the audiences who welcomed my work. I've had time to look back on benefits I've read at for poets who were ill and causes that needed some fundraising help--the things that are a part of most poets' lives because we usually have a community of two that holds our emotional and political allegiance. For example, since the AIDS crisis came into our lives, I have never published a book without a poem about someone who died from an AIDS-related illness.
It's just quite amazing that such a thing has happened to me.
I'm fine with it, but I feel the tug to get back to writing and I already know I will worry about my time. That's just part of being a poet--needing time and space and there's never quite enough of that.
I have lived in and loved the City of Los Angeles for 58 years and I am happy to be a servant of the people and their languages and traditions. I am also happy to have a major new challenge at this point in my life.

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