L.A.’s Poet Laureate Eloise Klein Healy and Pasadena’s Red Hen Press

Dec 7, 2012

Photo by Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times

Eloise Klein Healy has been named Los Angeles’ official poet laureate by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Born in El Paso, then raised in a small town in Iowa, Healy moved with her family to L.A. when she was ten years old. She began writing poetry at a young age (supposedly on the back of movie and television scripts that her father brought home from work).

Over the decades, she has been involved with Venice’s Beyond Baroque, taught poetry at the Woman’s Building, and in 2006 started an imprint for one of Pasadena’s own: Red Hen Press.

Books published since that deal are Passing, Ordinary Wisdom, The Islands Project, and the forthcoming A Wild Surmise: New & Selected Poems & Recordings.

For more extensive coverage, read Kate Linthicum’s piece in the Los Angeles Times: L.A. literary stalwart selected as city’s first poet laureate –

Entries: LA Log

The stars shine all day
through my scalp
five foot three inches into space
called atmosphere
or one of the ways to understand a novel.

At this address
a bougainvillea lifts her curls
and kisses a Santa Ana with her mouth open
right on its blueblue skies.

I like to ride the fast lane
es muy caliente
and under me a red chile siren
pepper peppers Alvarado with cop sauce
as I cross.

I know I know
I’m dying a little faster of Los Angeles
but I suck in a piece of it anyway,
sing it out in little puffs
about twenty times altogether
like a bunch of cheerleaders
yelling down the freeway in a bus.

Coiling out to Malibu
on a copper strand,
my sunglasses shine
like two westbound storefronts
open to the scenery business.

I never owned a map
to the stars’ homes
but I sent to JPL
for 8×10 glossies of Mars
to stick up around my mirror.

I note the traffic patterns
of two Ring-billed gulls
flying the Santa Monica Freeway,
pale boomerangs
arching across their backs
as they exit up.

(From A Packet Beating Like A Heart, 1991)



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