Luis J. Rodriguez, well-known for his memoir “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.,” was appointed as Poet Laureate of the City of Los Angeles by Mayor Eric Garcetti on Oct. 9. “Luis Rodriguez is an example of how powerful an impact literature can have on young lives, and as Poet Laureate, he will impact youth across Los Angeles,” Mayor Garcetti said. “I have no doubt that Luis will run with this new role and take it to new heights.”

As Poet Laureate, Rodriguez will serve a two-year term as an official ambassador of L.A.’s vibrant creative scene, promoting the city’s rich literary community and celebrating the written word.  “I’m honored to be selected as the new Poet Laureate of Los Angeles-to expand on the new and imaginative journey Mayor Garcetti has embarked on to make this a livable, welcome, and artistically-alive city,” Luis says. “To me, poetry is deep soul-talk, a powerful means to enlarge one’s presence in the world.”

The Los Angeles Poet Laureate Program is a collaboration between the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) and is intended to enhance the presence and appreciation of poetry and the literary arts in Los Angeles and to reach out to Angelenos who have limited access to poetry or have few opportunities for exposure to expressive writing. Rodriguez ran a progressive campaign for Governor of CA on the Green Party ticket earlier this year, but was eliminated from the ballot by the state’s restrictive “top two finishers” open primary system which usually leaves only the corporate capitalist parties on the ballot in the general election.

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