Poetry News

Robin Coste Lewis Named Los Angeles Poet Laureate

By Harriet Staff

Robin Coste Lewis

Robin Coste Lewis has been named the newest Los Angeles poet laureate, succeeding outgoing poet laureate Luis J. Rodriguez. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the news last Thursday. LAist's Julia Wick has the poet's statement, in which she remarked: “The role of the L.A. Poet Laureate is two-fold: first, to celebrate and curate an ever-widening cross-city appreciation for poetry of all kinds, from all cultures and nations; second, to celebrate the rich and diverse history of Los Angeles poetry.” More:

"I don’t know if I understand myself as an LA poet — to me that image has always been represented as white, Venice Beach, a little Beat, folks who came here and invested in the very manufactured stereotype of LA," Lewis told the Los Angeles Review of Books last year. "Much of this work remains disinterested in LA’s history of jubilant and tense migrations from all over the world: so many Asian countries, South and Central America, the Gulf States, just to name a few. "

"But I do understand and celebrate myself as an LA native," she continued. "Or perhaps I’m interested in redefining what 'LA Poet' means. And what that means has nothing to do with the representation of Los Angeles in the media. 'LA Poet' for me means people like Wanda Coleman, for example, or the Watts Writers Workshop, or Garret Hongo, Juan Felipe Herrera. It means Samoan poetry and Korean poetry, and the politics of la linea. Of course, almost primarily, it means Mexican and Chicano poetry, Salvadoran poetry, Filipino poetry. Do you know what I mean?"

Read the full story here.

Originally Published: May 2nd, 2017