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Luis J. Rodriguez writes about race, culture, identity, and belonging and what these all mean and should mean (but often fail to) in the volatile climate of our nation. His passion and wisdom inspire us with the message that we must come together if we are to move forward. As he writes in the preface, “Like millions of Americans, I’m demanding a new vision, a qualitatively different direction, for this country. One for the shared well-being of everyone. One with beauty, healing, poetry, imagination, and truth.” The pieces in From Our Land to Our Land capture that same fantastic energy and wisdom and will spark conversation and inspiration.
About the Author
Former poet laureate of Los Angeles (2014–2016) LUIS J. RODRIGUEZ is the author of fifteen works of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry, and children’s literature, including Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times and the acclaimed best seller Always Running. His most recent memoir, It Calls You Back, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2011. He is the recipient of the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers Award, a Lannan Foundation Poetry Fellowship, a Carl Sandburg Book Award, the PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award, and more. A script consultant for the FX drama Snowfall, he founded Barking Rooster Entertainment, a production company for original content for film, TV, and web. Thirty years ago he founded the well-respected Tia Chucha Press, which publishes mostly poetry collections, and he is co-founder of Tia Chucha’s Cultural Center & Bookstore in LA’s San Fernando Valley. In addition to traveling extensively, he teaches every week at two maximum-security yards at Lancaster State Prison. He was the Green Party’s candidate for governor of California in 2014. He lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife, Trini, and his children, Ramiro, Andrea, Ruben, and Chito.
"Luis Rodríguez is a poet prophet for our times."
—Sandra Cisneros, author of A House of My Own: Stories From My Life
"Powerful from start to finish, Rodriguez's book celebrates Xicanx culture and wisdom while calling for much-needed global healing. A thoughtful and radically provocative collection."
"Former Los Angeles Poet Laureate, Luis J. Rodriguez reflects on a lifetime of experiences, wisdom and healing, illuminating the intersections of the personal, spiritual, and historical. His is the 'story of the ‘other’ Los Angeles,' a love song to the city, Xicanx culture, its influence around the world, and the spirit of revolution full of risk, but also one full of triumph. He says 'this is not about avoiding trouble, it’s about getting into the right kind of trouble.' A poet at heart, Rodriguez rightly claims that 'as long as the world needs changing, we’ll need poetry.' There is still much left to change and the captivating work contained here is a testament to the possibilities of our will to make a difference."
—Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, author of Children of the Land
"In a climate fraught with division and increased in-fighting amidst the tension, From Our Land to Our Land is a welcome and generous call to recognize the myriad gifts peoples across the world have contributed to our present and celebrate that which we share in order to imagine where we as a society go from here. Tracing connections between language, cultures, and how one chooses to identify, whether Native or non-Native, to current social, environmental, and political concerns, Luis J. Rodriguez reminds us there are healers still at work in this world, and yes, poets walk among them."
—Abigail Chabitnoy, author of How to Dress a Fish