David Kipen at Literary Fest & Tree Lighting

Dec 3, 2012

Photos courtesy of

The holidays and literature seem to go hand-in-hand, so rather than ringing in the season with only the flick of a switch to “light” the Christmas tree, Allendale Public Library is adding a literary angle to the event.

David Kipen, proprietor of Libros Schmibros (a lending Library and used bookshop) in Mariachi Plaza and book correspondent for Southern California Public Radio, will join an impressive line-up this Saturday for the library’s Holiday Literary Festival and Tree Lighting.

Poets and authors will “explore the ‘true meanings’ of the holidays in works ranging from the irreverent and satirical to the spiritual and devotional.”

After the literary aspect of the evening concludes, the Allendale Park Christmas tree will be “lit” (the switch flipped) at 5:30 p.m. Munchies and carols will be provided by members of Blair High School’s Culinary Arts & Music programs.

Abel Prudhomme, the resident poet and playwright of the Allendale Branch Library and author of the “scathing social satire” A Modern Proposal, will read along with Naomi Hirahara, Monica Lee Copeland, Luivette Resto, Ellen Snortland, Lynne Thompson, Dorian Cohen, Chris Erskine, and Michael C. Ford.

Allendale Holiday Literary Festival and Tree Lighting
Saturday, Dec. 8th, 4-6 p.m.
Event is free to the public
Allendale Branch Library, 1130 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena 91106
For more info, visit Allendale Branch Library
Or contact Shauna Redmond at 626.744.7260 or

A quick rundown on the participants (courtesy of Allendale library):

Dorian Cohen is a Pasadena native who practices poetry, prose, and photography.  Obligatory garage band duty was followed by numerous detours, dry spells, a smattering of obscure pamphlets, plus other activities under the aegis of O Tela Group, a long-defunct artist collective.  He recently completed a multimedia prose poem, The Pinney House: A memoir.

Monica Lee Copeland is the host and Executive Director of the Pasadena-based Indelible Ink: A Vanguard Performance Art Series.  An early instigator in the SLAM Poetry Movement, she won seats on four National SLAM Poetry competition teams and was the sixth ranking individual nationally in 1997.  She has performed throughout the United States and abroad including the opening of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Lollapalooza, and the United Kingdom Black History Celebration sponsored by the Farrago Poetry Company.

Chris Erskine is a columnist and editor at the Los Angeles Times, where he writes on the lighter side of sports and life in Southern California.  He is also the author of two books on the frustrations and joys of family life in suburban America.

Michael C Ford was born in Chicago, and his approximately 26 volumes of published work since 1970 have included books, chapbooks, broadsides, pamphlets, and both vinyl and compact disc spoken word recordings.  His debut spoken word recording, Language Commando, earned a Grammy nomination, while his book of selected poems, Emergency Exits, was honored with a Pulitzer Prize nomination.  His next book of poetry, Crosswalk Casserole, will be published by Lawn Gnome Books in 2013.

Naomi Hirahara is the Edgar Award-winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series, which includes Summer of the Big Bachi, Gasa-Gasa Girl, Snakeskin Shamisen, and Blood Hina.  A former reporter and editor of The Rafu Shimpo, the bilingual Japanese American daily newspaper in Los Angeles, she has written several nonfiction books on Japanese American history.

David Kipen founded the Libros Schmibros lending library and neighborhood bookshop in Boyle Heights, where his family used to live.  He has been the book editor and critic of the San Francisco Chronicle and director of literature at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he developed and ran The Big Read initiative.  He is the author of The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History and translator of Cervantes’ The Dialogue of the Dogs.

Abel Prudhomme is the resident poet and playwright at the Allendale Branch Library.  2012 has been a breakout year for him with the release of two books, The Last of the Canterbury Tales and his scathing social satire, A Modern Proposal, both of which are available through  His new play, Hamlet Resurrected, is a sequel to Shakespeare’s greatest work.

Luivette Resto was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico but proudly raised in the Bronx.  Her first book of poetry, Unfinished Portrait, was published in 2008 by Tia Chucha Press and later named a finalist for the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize.  She is also a contributing poetry editor for Kweli Journal, a CantoMundo fellow, and the hostess of a monthly poetry reading series called La Palabra, located at Avenue 50 Studio in Los Angeles.  Her next book, Ascension, will be available in April 2013 courtesy of Tia Chucha Press.

Ellen Snortland has been a broadcast journalist, actor, and writing/media coach.  An Altadena resident, she is a regular columnist for the Pasadena Weekly, a contributor to Ms. Magazine, and a blogger for Ms. and Huffington Post.  In addition to being an NGO delegate to two major United Nations World Conferences (the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 and the Conference Against Racism in South Africa in 2001) and a goodwill ambassador for the National Women’s History Project, she has written and performs a solo show, Now That She’s Gone, which was at the Edinburgh Theater Festival in August 2011.

Lynne Thompson won the Perugia Press Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award for her first collection of poems, Beg No Pardon.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in Sou’Wester, Poemleon Ploughshares, and In Posse Review, and she’s recently taken on the post of Reviews & Essays Editor of the California journal, Spillway.



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