Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez to do Reading at CSUN

Luis Rodriguez. Photo by Arlene Mejorado

Luis Rodriguez. Photo by Arlene Mejorado

Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez will read from some of his work during a special appearance at California State University, Northridge on Wednesday, May 6.

The event, scheduled to take place from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Northridge Center of the University Student Union, will include a student spoken-word performance in honor of Rodriguez, who was named the city’s poet laureate by Mayor Eric Garcetti last fall.

CSUN Chicana/o studies professor Denise Sandoval said the event on May 6 will celebrate Rodriguez his contributions to literature and Los Angeles’ Chicano culture.

“Luis Rodriguez is a national literary hero, not just a hero in the Chicana and Chicano community,” Sandoval said. “CSUN is celebrating his work and his contributions not just to the San Fernando Valley as a founder of Tia Chucha’s in the northeast San Fernando Valley, but all of Los Angeles. He has helped shape the Chicano community with his art and his activism.”

Brought up in Watts and East Los Angeles, Rodriguez is a community activist and vocal advocate for the power of words to change lives.

Best known for his memoir “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.,” Rodriguez is also an award-winning poet. His collections include “My Nature is Hunger,” “The Concrete River,” “Trochemoche” and “Poems Across the Pavement.” He published a sequel to “Always Running” in 2011 called “It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing.” The following year, the book became a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography.

Rodriguez also is founder and editor of Tia Chucha Press, which has a bookstore and cultural center in Sylmar that is popular with CSUN students.

His ties with the university run deep. He co-edited with Sandoval “Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams: How the Arts are Transforming a Community” in 2012. He also co-produced a documentary of the same name, written by John F. Cantu. The book won an award from the Independent Publishers Association.

Those wishing to attend can make reservations by emailing juana.mora@csun.edu.