UC Writers Week — FREE AND ON-LINE (Feb. 13 – 20)

Thursday, February 11

UC Riverside Writers’ Week – 2021


Greg Kosmicki sent me a link ( https://news.ucr.edu/articles/2021/01/22/uc-riversides-44th-annual-writers-week-goes-virtual
about this festival a couple of weeks ago, and I want to thank him for reminding me of one of the most special occasions I had as a young writer. Well, I confess I didn’t feel that young in 1984. I would have been in my late thirties by then, and things were getting difficult for any poet who had cast his or her lot outside of the academy. If I had been “smart,” I would have parlayed my work as an editor and publisher of Momentum Press and the favorable notices my first full-length book of poems received in 1982 into acceptance at an MFA program and gotten busy having a “career.” I really loved living in Ocean Park, though. I had moved around so much when I was a child that finding a safe environment seemed to be a small miracle. Giving up my rent-controlled apartment to go study for two years with Greg Pape or Richard Shelton would have leaving behind a scene that I was still helping to define. The year after I read in the UC Writers’ Week, I published POETRY LOVES POETRY, which still is the best survey of what the scene was like in L.A. in the early 1980s. PLP depicted several of the most visible strands of L.A. poetry at the time that Dennis Cooper was running Beyond Baroque, including the early proponents of the stand up movement (Locklin, Koertge, Bogen, Webb, Coleman, Flanagan, Mohr) as well as the maverick avant-garde (Vangelisti, Phillips, Hickman, Ronk, Rasula). Cooper’s closest circle (Gerstler, Skelley, Trinidad) was also prominently featured. Soon after time PLP started circulating, the multi-cultural scenes in Los Angeles began to flourish, and later anthologies such as the ones edited by Suzanne Lummis began to reflect those incrementally expanding communities of poets. Throughout all the shifts, poets such as Harry Northup and Holly Prado plugged away, along with their younger colleagues in Cahuenga Press, Jim Cushing, Phoebe MacAdams Ozuna, and Cecilia Woloch.

In any case, I look back at having had a chance to read in Riverside at a festival featuring Ken Kesey as the headliner as one of my favorite mememories of that period.

Here is a list of some of the writers who have read or been honored at this festival in the past 44 years:

Daniel Alarcón; Margaret Atwood; Aimee Bender; Bonnie Bolling; Christopher Buckley; Brenda Cardenas; Victoria Chang; Wanda Coleman; Carolina De Robertis; Steve Erickson; Marilyn Chin, Rachel Cusk; Percival Everett; B.H. Fairchild; Janet Fitch; Katie Ford; Kate Gale; Frank X. Gaspar; Roxane Gay; Dagoberto Gilb; Patricia Hampl; David Hernandez; Juan Felipe Herrera; Garrett Hongo; Mark Jarman; Anna Journey; Douglas Kearney; Ken Kesey; Jamaica Kincaid; Christine Kitano; Chris Kraus; Li-Young Lee Alexander Long, Tom Lutz, Rubén Martínez, Bill Mohr, Walter Mosley; Michael Nava; Viet Thanh Nguyen; Jayne Ann Phillips; Darryl Pinckney; John Rechy; Nina Revoyr; Luis J. Rodriguez; Aimee Suzara; David Shields; Jerry Stahl; Susan Straight; Ray Suarez; Arthur Sze; Ngugi wa Thiong’o; Michael Tolkin; Quincy Troupe; Héctor Tobar; Amy Uyematsu; Diane Wakoski; Alison Benis White; Jacqueline Winspear; Gary Young.

You can find more details about this year’s festival at: