L.A. Times Book Festival Poets Reading List

The L.A. Times presented its annual book festival at USC this past weekend and the line-up included both the first poet laureate of Los Angeles, Eloise Klein Healy, and the current one, Lynne Thompson, as well as the current poet laureate of Pasadena, Ron Koertge. I wish I could have attended either Saturday or Sunday’s presentations, but Linda and I are having to move out of our studio in the Loft in San Pedro due to the rent doubling. Our last day there will be April 30th.

Even if I had been free, however, I would have preferred a line-up that featured a larger percentage of poets as eminent as Will Alexander, Kathy Fagan, Patricia Smith, Gail Wronsky, Pam Ward, and Saeed Jones, all of whom have attained canonical relevance. Putting together a poetry festival is always a tortuous proposition, however, and the choices of curators inevitably exclude certain poets decade after decade. The one advantage that such curators have is that almost no one takes any notice of the snubbing of certain poets; such amnesia is one of the major side-effects emanating from mainstream verse. At this point, any poet based in Los Angeles who has not been part of the line-up of poets in the L.A. Times book festival is either a wretched writer or someone whose body of work is too perplexing to be absorbed by any other than an extremely hermetic audience.

2023 Edition of the L.A. Times Book Festival Poetry Line-Up

Elena Karina Byrne and Marty Williams, Emcees Poetry Stage

Roger Reeves, Reading from ‘Best Barbarian: Poems’
Robert Wood Lynn, Reading from ‘How To Maintain Eye Contact’
Cynthia Hogue, Reading from ‘instead it is dark’
Courtney Faye Taylor, Reading from ‘Concentrate’
Mark Irwin, Reading from ‘Joyful Orphan’
Monica Youn, Reading from ‘From From’
Jill Bialosky, Reading from ‘Asylum’
Kien Lam, Reading from ‘Extinction Theory’
L.A. Times Book Prize Poetry Finalist Roundtable:
Anthony Cody, Cynthia Parker-Ohene, Marwa Helal, and John Evans
Will Alexander, Reading from ‘Divine Blue Light (for John Coltrane)’
Kathy Fagan, Reading from ‘Bad Hobby’
Poetry Reading: “The Los Angeles Times” and other works by Shandela Contreras
Matthew Shenoda, Reading from ‘The Way of The Earth’
Katerina Canyon, Reading from ‘Surviving Home’
Christopher Soto, Reading from ‘Diaries of a Terrorist’
Patricia Smith, Reading from ‘Unshuttered’
Cynthia Parker-Ohene, Reading ‘Daughters of Harriet: Poems’
David Baker, Reading from ‘Whale Fall’
Dana Gioia, Reading from ‘Meet Me at the Lighthouse’
Marwa Helal, Reading from ‘Ante body’
Anthony Cody, Reading from ‘The Rendering’
Jacqueline Osherow, Reading from ‘Divine Ratios’
Donna Sprujit-Metz, Reading from ‘General Release from the Beginning of the World’
Brenda Cardenas, Reading from ‘Trace’
Eloise Klein Healy, Reading from ‘A Brilliant Loss’
Douglas Manuel, Reading from ‘Trouble Funk’
Melissa Studdard, Reading from ‘Dear Selection Committee’
Poet Gail Wronsky and Artist Gronk Present “The Stranger You Are”
Doing the Work: Talking with Chowdhury Prize Recipient Victoria Chang
Boris Dralyuk, Reading from ‘My Hollywood and Other Poems’
Saeed Jones, Reading from ‘Alive at the End of the World’
Stuart Dischell, Reading from ‘Lookout Man’
Los Angeles Poet Laureate Lynne Thompson, Reading from ‘Fretwork’
Vandana Khanna, Reading from ‘Burning Like Her Own Planet’
Pam Ward
Ron Koertge
Jessie Kim

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