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The LA Fiction Anthology Interviews: Zachary Locklin

An Interview with Zachary Locklin


What role does Los Angeles play in your fiction?

Growing up LA-adjacent (in Long Beach, a suburb on the farthest south reaches of LA County), Los Angeles has always occupied a weird place in my life. It’s both exotic (that distant place you go to for an art exhibit, a play, or a concert) and home (I would defend Los Angeles furiously in college in the Bay Area when my friends would criticize it). Because I’ve always lived at a remove from LA and thus knew it only as a visitor, I didn’t really start writing about it until a few years ago. By then I’d spent two years commuting there for graduate school and another several years visiting my friends who lived there. I gradually developed a sort of outsider’s insight into the way LA works, how people live there. One thing that fascinates me the most is the variety of the cultural landscape; Los Feliz and Silver Lake are far removed from Downtown or Santa Monica, and that’s not even bringing Pasadena into the picture.


So as I’ve started writing more about Los Angeles, it’s been from that outsider’s perspective: I inevitably bring an ironic tone to my descriptions of the peoples and cultures. Unintentional, at first.


To what degree do you think place shapes fiction in general?

Well, I never start a project without thinking at great length about where the story will take place. Often my fiction takes place in one of the three cities I’ve spent the most years living in: Long Beach, Santa Cruz, and San Diego, CA. Each of those locations has a specific set of ideas attached to it: Long Beach is “normal,” plain, and thus a good place for existential despair; Santa Cruz has a varying climate, shifting from dark and cold to brilliantly sunny and hot, making it ideal for all kinds of angst; San Diego is sprawling (very like Los Angeles, actually, in its multiplicity of locales and cultures), and its uneven topography, with its hills and canyons and shifting coastline, makes it oddly appealing for a horror story.


We write what we know, but that also means we are driven to write by what we know: our landscapes are our societies and cultures; just as a writer like Bukowski or Faulkner doesn’t work without Los Angeles or the South, someone like James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, or Graham Greene is defined by the sense of homelessness, the outsider’s view of a world.


In other words, it seems to me that in many ways, the place builds the story more than anything else because the characters are born out of it, and the story or plot is a function of the possibilities of the region.


Do you see your work as coming out of any traditions of LA fiction or poetry?

For a long time now, I’ve been interested in 1930s–50s crime literature, particularly the non-detectives like Jim Thompson, Cornell Woolrich, and Patricia Highsmith (none of whom are particularly associated with LA). For Los Angeles, that has translated, of course, into an interest in the LA crime writers like Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald. What has always attracted me to Chandler in particular is the roving, almost aimless wandering around the city and its environs. Bukowski has that, too, of course, as does Nathanael West: more than the mystery, what I like about LA noir is the roving, homeless feeling: these people who live here, in this tradition, are all nevertheless outsiders. That’s a theme I can identify with.


How does being a writer affect your work as a teacher and how does your work as a teacher affect your writing?

Stephen King says that teaching may actually be the worst career for a writer, and he may be right. The summers are great except that by the time you get to the summer, you are so burnt out that you spend a month just recuperating; then you start a project, and a month later you have to put it aside because you need to start preparing for the fall semester. If you try to write during the school year, either the novel suffers from a lack of attention or you fall very far behind in your grading (which is where I am right now). (All of this, of course, is a lecturer’s perspective; I like to dream that those of us lucky enough to get tenure-track positions have a little more time for their writing, but it’s probably not true.)


However, teaching also means that you come into contact with a never-ending supply of new people, from whom you learn new ideas, new stories, new problems. Teaching provides an endless source of inspiration. I’ve always said that the thing I like most about being a teacher is getting to know all of these people (although I’ve also always said that the worst thing about being a teacher is having to meet all of these people—but that’s social anxiety for you).  Teaching can humanize you, can help you learn empathy, and can broaden your perspective, if you let it: all things I think are necessary for being a real writer.


What is your current project?

I don’t like to talk too much about a project while I’m working on it—a superstition—but I will say that it is a Long Beach–based lesbian Gothic suspense novel: think Carol meets Crimson Peak. It’ll probably turn out terrible, but them’s the breaks.



Bio: Zachary Locklin is the author of My Beard Supports Nothing: The Facebook Poems. His work has been published in PearlPoetic DiversityMagnapoetsRe)verbFreefallBeside the City of Angels, Slagdrop, Beggars and Cheeseburgers, Weekly Weird Monthly, Cultural Weekly, and a slew of other places. He is a graduate of the Master’s of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California, and he teaches English composition, creative writing, and literature at California State University, Long Beach.


LA Fiction Anthology Interviews: Part 1 (Grant Hier)

Today marks the release of the LA Fiction Anthology, a collection five years in the making. In its pages you will find stories from some of the Southland’s most prolific authors, including Ron Carlson, T.C. Boyle, Judith Freeman, Rob Roberge, Dana Johnson, Percival Everett, and more!

With discussion and essay questions closing each story, this book is designed to start a dialogue. So in that vein, the Red Hen Blog will be posting interviews with the anthology’s authors once each week. Contributor Kathy Hall kicks things off with an interview of fellow contributor Grant Hier.



Grant Hier Interview
Conducted by Kathy Hall, Mt. San Antonio College
December, 2015


Kathy Hall (KH)
Thank you for agreeing to speak to me about writing and Los Angeles. I want to talk first about cities and nature. New York is a city that has weather. Chicago is a city that has weather. Los Angeles is reputed to be a city of no weather, yet it is often written about in terms of really elemental forces—like in that right column of your poem “Untended Garden” which I kept reading in the voice of Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Why is it impossible to write about Los Angeles, this ostensibly most synthetic of cities, without returning to fire and water (including its concrete rivers) and earth?


Grant Hier (GH)
That’s funny you hear that voice as Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but now that you say it, I can hear it that way. I consider that a huge compliment. (And now that gives me an opening to send him a copy of the book!) I think your observation about the fierce elemental forces of nature being a common feature in the writing about Los Angeles is an astute one. Anyone who lives here for any length of time certainly gets used to the local news blaring “Special Reports!” about these elemental forces. The earthquakes. The riptides and floods. The wild fires (which are a vital part of the natural cycle of life restoring itself). The sonic landscape, too: the constant sound of sirens. All of this becomes part of the consciousness of Angelinos and Southlanders. Even the air here. The smells and the smog. The Santa Ana winds. So, we have unique weather extremes here, but the norm is mild. And these contrasting extremes are then used by writers as metaphors for life here. Raymond Chandler writes about how “Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks,” when the Santa Anas blow. Joan Didion notes how the “violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” They manifest into our literature, I think, precisely because they so dramatically contrast the myth of paradise we also affix to life here, and the contrasts shape our interior landscapes too.

This applies, as well, to those features that have been radically altered by us—those concrete ravines that cut obtrusively across the land, replacing the natural rivers and creeks. I think that those human-made alterations reveal even more about who we are. Those majestic eucalyptus trees imported and planted in rows to shield the agriculture crops from winds, yet they poison the soil all around them so that nothing else can live nearby. Or those iconic palm trees, which are similarly non-native—and which the government has just voted not to re-plant when they die off, by the way, which should be in the next decade or so since their life span is similar to humans, so that will leave us with all but a few “permitted” non-native palms and the L.A. skyline will look dramatically different once again. All of the shaped and re-shaped landscapes literally reveal our story, which is largely the story of the transplanted, flooding in and changing the natural order. Remember that every human who has ever settled here was a transplant, from those who boated in or walked a land bridge, and most everyone (except the slaves) came to chase the dream of a better life. And what we do to achieve those dreams will determine whether ours are stories of exploitation and dominion or respect and stewardship. How is it we should act in this place? The flooding L.A. River caused the Tongva to build homes of willow wikiups so they could move them out of the way in “This frozen zone so prone to overflowing…” as I write in Untended Garden (the frozen zone being the botanical term for this region). The Paleolithic peoples of the Americas, then the Millingstone Horizon Cultures, and later the Tongva, they each lived as one with the nature as it existed and co-habitated with the flora and fauna, which is the essence of the “Reinhabitation” theme. Then centuries later came the new settlers, exploitation, and the modern re-carving and re-routing of the rivers and industry to better serve the population, or at least to better serve those who could buy in. But imposing a re-design of nature has repercussions, creates imbalances, so there are also the stories of the alienated and overlooked which need to be told. In my novel, which is about the homeless who live on the streets of this ever-changing city, the climax is lit by images of palm trees on fire during the riots, their tops igniting like match heads while the city burns below as the dream is deferred. For the epigraph of that novel, I use these great lines by Sandberg:

“I will die as many times

as you make me over again,

says the city to the people,

I am the woman, the home, the family,

I get breakfast and pay the rent;

I telephone the doctor, the milkman, the undertaker;

I fix the streets

for your first and your last ride—

Come clean with me, come clean or dirty,

I am stone and steel of your sleeping numbers;

I remember all you forget.

I will die as many times

as you make me over again.”


—Carl Sandburg

from “The Windy City” (1922)


Yes, your novel is bookended by the two riots in 1965 and 1992, and Sandburg’s words about Chicago could certainly be about those manmade fires which, like California’s wildfires, offer hope for renewal in the future but remain painful in the present. Like Sandburg’s, your poetry and prose relate the knowing of one’s literal place to the knowing of one’s place in the world. What has knowing Southern California taught you about yourself? This is the closest I have come to understanding the idea of reinhabitation. If you have anything else to say on that topic, I would be glad to hear it.


Sure. The term was coined by Gary Snyder, in an essay by that name: “Reinhabitation” (which he originally wrote with a hyphen, as Re-Inhabitation). Untended Garden starts with an excerpt from that essay: “How does knowledge of place help us know the Self? The answer, simply put, is that we are all composite beings, not only physically but intellectually, whose sole individual identifying feature is a particular form or structure changing constantly in time. There is no ‘self’ to be found in that, and yet oddly enough, there is… no self-realization without the Whole Self, and the whole self is the whole thing. Thus, knowing who and where are intimately linked.”

Snyder goes on the conclude, then, that we must therefore re-learn the old ways and re-inhabit the earth with a better knowledge of our place in it. His thesis is that we must go back to a more natural way of co-inhabitation, with respect to all life forms. The idea of reinhabiting the land after being away and estranged by it in order to learn to live there sustainably. Untended Garden likewise asserts that knowing who and where are intimately linked, but without calling for any particular way of living, as Snyder does—although I absolutely agree we should live sustainably. I celebrate the progress and the change as natural, inevitable, but my thesis is that we can’t be myopic or exclusionary in our growth or our actions or else that disconnectedness will have dire consequences. My poem at its core is an argument for inclusion and egalitarianism, as Whitman’s is in his long poem, and it urges the individual to keep encouraged, to consider oneself and every other person as vital and important. To consider everyone’s story as part of the web and of our collective larger story.

So, this journey to know one’s self by knowing one’s place in the continuum really began as a way to research those questions I had as a child, digging in the dirt of the new tract home in suburbia, wondering what I would find beneath me. What came before? What stories are there hidden in the past, on this very spot? And who the heck am I here, and what is it I plan to do with my one wild and precious life? (to quote one of my favorite lines by Mary Oliver). Learning what came before necessarily connects one to the larger, longer history, and that necessarily informs how one should live. We are all connected. That is what is to be learned—rather, remembered. The poem is against forgetting, really. So, even though Untended Garden is a story steeped in a specific place, it truly is a universal story. A song of myself, yes, but also a song of the interconnectedness of all life forms, of all that came before, and all that is here now—and of which we are all a part. With no exceptions. And these connections extend out in all directions, and include what was before, is now, and will be after we are gone. All one, really. Which makes separateness an illusion.


Untended Garden is often compared to Whitman, as you suggest when you call it a song of yourself, but it feels to me more like Robinson Jeffers. How did California influence his poetry, and how are writers experiencing the same influences now?


Great question. Jeffers was as rugged as the places he wrote about, and he saw a fierce beauty in the violent universe. In “Self-Criticism in February,” Jeffers confesses, “It is certain you have loved the beauty of storm disproportionately,” referring to the violence and brutality in his poems, of course, but it was also true of his literal love of the weather. One of my favorite lines of Jeffers is from a private letter to Lawrence Clark Powell: “We are having a beautiful rain and wind storm here.” I love that. Having a beautiful storm. Wish you were here! I certainly share that deep love of storms and churning surf, the thrill of standing outside, exposed to the rough, wild elements — though I’m not sure that’s something others necessarily share! (Back to our ridiculous local news: “Special Report: Storm in the Southland!” “BULLETIN: It’s raining! Beware!”)

I absolutely love Jeffers, and would encourage everyone to read him.

A little too abstract, a little too wise,
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again.
I will go to the lovely Sur Rivers
And dip my arms in them up to the shoulders.
I will find my accounting where the alder leaf quivers
In the ocean wind over the river boulders.
I will touch things and things and no more thoughts…
Mercy. How beautiful is that? Jeffers is considered the first environmental poet by many, and few realize that he was one of the very first to use the term “ecology.” Late in his life, Jeffers reflected on how his dad, determined to give him the best education possible, tutored him indoors all day, every day, and he says that only occasionally would his father allow him to hike the countryside. Jeffers thinks that resulted in his lifelong desire to live in open country. Few realize, too, that he was the physical specimen he was. At age 8 he taught himself to swim, and as an adult he would swim the rugged open waters of Northern California coast, off Point Lobos, in ridiculously rough seas. He was thin and sinewy. While attending Occidental and USC he was a tireless hiker, and would often hike a small trail up Mount Wilson to the Observatory, which is at some 5,700 feet elevation. His professor (of Bacteriology) at USC taught him to wrestle, and within the year, no kidding, he had won the heavyweight wrestling championship. Pretty impressive. It was the similarly rough and rugged California landscape that most influenced his writing, his philosophy. He writes, “My love, my loved subject: mountain and ocean, rock, water and beasts and trees / Are the protagonists; the human people are only symbolic interpreters.” Jeffers literally rolls enormous boulders from the Carmel River, some more than 400 pounds, up a bluff and then rigs wooden planks and a block & tackle system with ropes and pulleys to lift the stones and mason them into a 40-foot tower overlooking the rugged coast—for his wife Una (they both loved Yeats and his Thoor Ballylee Tower in Galway, Ireland). “Hawk Tower” (with a secret passage stairwell between the walls for his twin boys) is designed and raised solely by Jeffers working alone, laboring hard with his body while his mind composes and memorizes the poetry he would transcribe and refine on paper later. “I hung / stones in the sky” he writes. “…my fingers had the art / To make stone love stone.” Which parallels his craft of assembling words. Jeffers is a marvel and a master. One of a kind.

As to how writers are experiencing the same California influences now, well, I think we each do it in our own way, based on where we come from and how we live. For me, I wrote my personal epic of place, Untended Garden, about this home in suburbia and the surrounding area. “Write what you know” is the starting point, yes, but my best writing is an exploration of what I don’t know. I described the project to Snyder while I was writing it, by the way, and we discussed the challenges of structure and craft in writing a sustained long poem (Snyder was just completing his epic long poem, Mountains and Rivers Without End, at the time). He said he was delighted that I was applying Reinhabitation to suburbia instead of the more remote nature that he wrote of. But, that begs the question, what is meant by “nature” anyway? One might argue that nature exists everywhere.


Yes, there is nature even in suburbia. But regardless of the kind of regions we write about, regionalist poetry—regionalist art in general—has come under a kind of attack recently. Does it require a defense?


I don’t think it does. Any more than any other creative form does. Art either stands and lasts, or it doesn’t. No amount of arguing or persuasion about its relevance will affect that, in the long run. The survival of any art will depend on the connections it makes with the audience, how it affects us and informs us—and that is greatly dependent on its relevance to the time and place it emerges from. All art, I’m talking about here. Art is, necessarily, a product of its time and place, and since it a human act, since it emerges from humans, it is thus a reflection of a people in that time, that place, that particular culture (or segment of culture). And this is really the essence of my response to your question about why the literature about Los Angeles appears as it does.  Now then, there is a separate issue that is critical to this discussion, and that is the issue of how the art reaches its audience—or doesn’t. You can’t appreciate a poem of Jeffers, say, if you’ve never ever seen it. So, it is absolutely critical for a society’s survival to support and nourish the arts. And that is in real danger now. That sad fact reveals a real weakness of our time and our culture: the zeitgeist of an America that underfunds the arts, that eliminates art education and practice from required curricula, that downplays its importance by treating it as not relevant to our culture or survival, or even mocks it or dismisses it outright. That is why it is so important that the little mags, the online literary sites, the local writing communities, find a way to survive, so that people get exposed to the literary arts. You asked, does regionalist poetry and prose require a defense? No. But it does require a concerted force behind it so that it gets into the ears and mouths and brains and psyches of the people. It requires continued support so that it gets released out into the world, for art is vital to our survival—and that is not mere hyperbole. “There is something / something urgent / I have to say to you,” William Carlos Williams wrote. “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.”


If only the arts received a fraction of the local support that sports teams do. I am amused by the fact that you live behind the Orange curtain and appear to be a Dodgers fan while I live in Los Angeles county and drive to Anaheim for baseball. Your stories in the Anthology of Los Angeles Short Fiction are about baseball as a metaphor for life and sex and suchlike. Why focus on baseball when writing about Los Angeles?


The baseball theme of those pieces was a specific project that emerged from an idea of what bubble gum trading card packs made for Little League Baseball might look like. But I must say that I do love baseball more than any other sport (the reason my right shoulder is now a mess), and I’ve attended a lot of Dodger and Angel games throughout my life. Speaking of local history, I own one of the first issued “Junior Angel” membership cards, from back when the team joined the majors. My dad (who pitched several no hitters in high school and was scouted by the pros) used to take us to the L.A. Coliseum to see Wally Moon, Albie Pearson, Dean Chance, etc. And my dad also drove us in our family DeSoto across the bumpy dirt construction site as the Big A and Angel Stadium was being erected. And later, as a teen, I’d drive the 5 Freeway north to Chavez Ravine to sit in the left field pavilion for most Dodger home games during the early ‘70s, and watched those great teams play. So, I’ve rooted for both the Angels and Dodgers equally in my life. I love the game more than I do any one team. And I love this beautiful place we live in and run across the grass of, regardless of the color of the clothes we might wear while playing in any one field. Yes, I see baseball as a metaphor for life, too. The significance of neighborhood baseball games in “the middle of streets / where children still imagine fields” as I write in Untended Garden.



omphalos manhole cover…

Second base, a stain of oil
leaked in the middle of the street
from the old family DeSoto, or perhaps

the pale yellow Helms Truck last summer.

No pitcher’s rubber or mound, just a small
round surveyor’s benchmark
bolted to the center of the cul-de-sac.


Play ball –

Sunday afternoon, 1963.

Vin Scully’s tin voice

wafts down the block


from black plastic radios

on vacant work benches,

the garage doors kept open

as children play


wide eyed

until the ball

is lost against

a darkening sky.


About the Interviewee:

Grant Hier was named winner of Prize Americana for his book Untended Garden—Histories and Reinhabitation in Suburbia (The Poetry Press, 2015), which has also been nominated for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and an American Book Award.  He was recipient of the Nancy Drew Taylor Prize for Literary Excellence in Poetry (2014) the Kick Prize (2013), and several of his pieces have been nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE. His poetry has been anthologized in Monster Verse—Human and Inhuman Poems (Knopf/Everyman, 2015) and The Barricades of Heaven: A Literary Field Guide to Orange County, California (Heyday, 2017). In addition to writing, Grant is a musical artist, visual artist, and former graphic designer and art director. He is Professor of English and Chair of Liberal Arts and Art History at Laguna College of Art and Design where he teaches creative writing and various other courses.

About the Interviewer:

Kathy Silvey Hall teaches composition at Mt. San Antonio College, Cerritos College, and El Camino College.  Her story is part of an unpublished novella Alta Vista High, an effort to apply the principles of ecriture feminine to semiautobiographical vignettes; her work is concerned with the miscommunications, disruptions, and imbalances of power and privilege between the varied cultures which make up Southern California.


Kim Dower featured on America Meditating Radio Show w/Sister Jenna

This past Wednesday, Red Hen author extraordinaire Kim Dower joined Sister Jenna on the America Meditating Radio Show. Once you listen in, we’re sure you’ll be just as excited as we are about her new collection. Last Train to the Missing Planet hits the shelves March 29!

Kim Dower was born and raised in New York City and received a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, where she also taught creative writing. Her first collection, Air Kissing on Mars was on the Poetry Foundation’s Contemporary Best Sellers list and Slice of Moon, her second collection, nominated for a Pushcart Award, was called, “unexpected and sublime,” by “O” magazine.

Kim’s work has been featured in “The Writer’s Almanac,” and “American Life in Poetry,” as well as in Barrow Street, and the Los Angeles Review, to name a few. Kim is also the founder of the Literary Publicity and Media Training Company, “Kim-from-L.A.,” and teaches a workshop called, Poetry and Memory in the B.A. Program of Antioch University. Her third collection, Last Train to the Missing Planet, will be published in the Spring of 2016.  Visit www.kimdowerpoetry.com

Ellen Meeropol featured on The Laura Flanders Show!

Ellen Meeropol and her daughter, Rachel Meeropol discuss art and activism on The Laura Flanders Show!

L.A River Poetry Reading Kid Crafts

Join us for an afternoon of poetry and crafts! Kids can enjoy a refreshing drink of water, and afterwards learn how to turn their water bottles into musical instruments, hanging gardens and bracelets. A day to experience art in many forms!

LA River Poetry

Red Hen at AWP!




This week is the AWP Conference & Bookfair! Red Hen will be there with books aplenty, and our authors will be there too, signing their books at our booths and participating in panels.

Click here for the full schedule of authors signing at Red Hen’s booths. 

Click here for the full schedule of Red Hen Author panels.


Hope to see you there!

Poetry in Performance!



We are thrilled to partner up with About Productions as they revive their innovative production of ‘Properties of Silence’ (Feb.28th- March 29) at the The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse.

Each evening will offer up a blend of poetry readings, performance events, panels, and discussions in tribute to Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the first feminist writer. Red Hen Press will be there on opening night with Eloise Klein Healy, Jessica Piazza and Terry Wolverton


Eloise Klein Healy
 Eloise Klein Healy is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently A Wild Surmise: New & Selected Poems & Recordings (Red Hen Press, 2013). She was the founding chair of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles where she is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Emerita. Healy directed the Women’s Studies Program at California State University Northridge and taught in the Feminist Studio Workshop at The Woman’s Building in Los Angeles. She is the founding editor of Arktoi Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press specializing in the work of lesbian authors. In December 2012, she was appointed the first Poet Laureate of the City of Los Angeles.


Jessica Piazza
Jessica Piazza is the author of two full-length poetry collections from Red Hen Press: Interrobang–winner of the AROHO 2011 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize and the 2013 Balcones Poetry Prize – and Obliterations (with Heather Aimee O’Neill, forthcoming), as well as the chapbook This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press.) She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California and is currently a contributing editor for The Offending Adam and a screener for the National Poetry Series. She is the co-founder of Bat City Review in Austin, TX and Gold Line Press in Los Angeles, and she teaches for the Writing Program at USC and the online MFA program at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. In 2015 she started the “Poetry Has Value” project, hoping to spark conversations about poetry and worth. Learn more at www.jessicapiazza.com and www.poetryhasvalue.com.


Terry Wolverton is author of nine books: Embers, a novel-in-poems; Insurgent Muse: life and art at the Woman’s Building, a memoir; Stealing Angel, The Labrys Reunion and Bailey’s Beads, novels; Breath, a collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry: Black Slip, Mystery Bruise and Shadow and Praise. She has also edited fourteen literary anthologies, including the award winning six-volume series, His: Brilliant New Fiction by Gay Men and Hers: Brilliant New Fiction by Lesbians.  She spent 13 years at the Woman’s Building as an artist, student, teacher and administrator, eventually serving as Executive Director.  She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing center in Los Angeles, where she teaches fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.  She is also an Associate Faculty Mentor in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles.


On March 12th: Nicelle Davis, Amy Uyematsu and Laurel Ann Bogen.


Nicelle-Davis-200x300Nicelle Davis is a California poet who walks the desert with her son, J.J., in search of owl pellets and rattlesnake skins. Her latest collection of poems, In the Circus of You is available from Rose Metal Press. The author of two prior collections of poetry, Becoming Judas is available from Red Hen Press. Her first book, Circe, is available from Lowbrow Press. The Walled Wife is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2017. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Beloit Poetry Journal, The New York Quarterly, PANK, SLAB Magazine, and others. She is editor at large of The Los Angeles Review and has taught poetry at Youth for Positive Change, an organization that promotes success for youth in secondary schools, MHA, and with Volunteers of America in their Homeless Youth Center. Recipient of the 2013 AROHO retreat 9 3/4 Fellowship, she is honored to work as a consultant for this important feminist organization. She currently teaches at Paraclete and with the Red Hen Press WITS program.


revised coimbra author shot (1)
Amy Uyematsu is a third-generation Japanese-American poet and teacher from Los Angeles. She has published three previous poetry collections: 30 Miles from J-Town (Story Line Press, 1992), Nights of Fire, Nights of Rain (Story Line Press, 1997), and Stone Bow Prayer (Copper Canyon Press, 2005). Her first book was awarded the 1992 Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Her forthcoming title is The Yellow Door (Red Hen Press, 2015). Amy was a co-editor of the widely-used UCLA Asian American Studies anthology Roots: An Asian American Reader.


Laurel Ann Bogen is the author of ten books of poetry and short fiction, including Washing a Language; Fission; The Last Girl in the Land of the Butterflies and Rag Tag We KissAll of the Above: New and Selected Poems 1975-2015 is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2016.  Since 1990, she has been an instructor of poetry and performance for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, where she received the Outstanding Instructor of the Year award. Well-known for her lively readings, Bogen has read her work at Cornell University, The Savannah College of Art and Design, The Knitting Factory (NYC), The L.A. Metropolitan Transit Authority, MOCA, LACE and a host of other venues.  She is a recipient of the Pacificus Foundation’s Curtis Zahn Poetry Prize, two awards from the Academy of American Poets. Her work has been translated into french, german, italian, and spanish literary magazines as well as appearing in over 100 literary magazines and anthologies, including California Poetry from the Gold Rush to the Present; The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Stand-Up Poetry, The Maverick Poets, The Jacaranda Review; Miramar; and Upstreet.


On March 20th: Gail Wronsky and Alicia Partnoy.


Gail Wronsky, Poet
Gail Wronsky was born in Harrisburg PA.  She went to high school outside Detroit MI, then to Kalamazoo College, transferred to the University of Virginia, graduating with a BA in English.  She finished an MFA in creative writing at UVA, where, along with Richard Katrovas, she was one of the first Henry Hoyns fellows; taught for a year at Foxcroft School in  Virginia; then moved to Salt Lake City and completed a PhD in English and American literature at the University of Utah, receiving high honors.  She is the author of five volumes of poetry, a translated book of poetry by Argentinean poet Alicia Partnoy, one novel, one book of experimental verse coauthored with Molly Bendall, two books of cowgirl poetry coauthored with Molly Bendall, and is the writer of the introduction to renowned Chicano artist Gronk’s first book of drawings, A Giant Claw.  She is a founding member of the Sally Hemings Society at UVA, and of the Glass Table Collective, an artists collective in Los Angeles.  She is the recipient of an Artists Fellowship from the State of California, has been nominated for Poet Laureate of the State of California, and publishes poems and essays widely in journals and e-zines.  She has been a Resident Playwright at Sundance Institute.  Her plays have been produced in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Wasington DC, Los Angeles, and the U.K.  She lives in Topanga Canyon, California, and teaches creative writing and women’s writing at Loyola Marymount University.


Alicia Partnoy by Leticia Aiello 2 (1)
Alicia Partnoy is a survivor from the secret detention camps where about 30,000 Argentineans ‘disappeared’. She is the author of The Little School, Tales of Disappearance and Survival and of the poetry collections Little Low Flying/Volando bajito, and Revenge of the Apple/Venganza de la manzana. Partnoy edited You Can’t Drown the Fire: Latin American Women Writing in Exile, and from 2003 to 2006, she was the co-editor of Chicana/Latina Studies:the journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social. Partnoy is an associate professor at Loyola Marymount University. She presides over Proyecto VOS-Voices of Survivors, an organization that brings survivors of state sponsored violence to lecture at U.S. universities.


For a full schedule of the salon series, please visit:http://www.aboutpd.org/ot/properties/salonseries/


For tickets visit : http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/796278

Red Hen Press 2014 Award Winners

Red Hen Press is pleased to announce the winners of its 2014 awards series. The Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, the RHP Short Story Award, and the RHP Poetry Award are given each year for, respectively, an unpublished original poetry collection, short story, and individual poem. Red Hen Press also publishes the winner of the To the Lighthouse Poetry Publication Prize, awarded by the A Room of Her Own Foundation to a female author of an unpublished original poetry collection, as well as the Wild Light Poetry Contest for an original poem. All winners receive publication and an honorarium.


Winner of the 2014 Benjamin Saltman Award

Primary Source by Jason Schneiderman

There were over 500 entries for the Benjamin Saltman Award.

Publication is set for Spring 2016.


Winners of the 2014 Red Hen Press Short Story Award

“The Mercy of Others” by Kent Nelson

“The Mercy of Others” was selected from over 300 entries, and will be published in a future of The Los Angeles Review.


Winner of the 2014 Red Hen Press Poetry Award

“In the Bathroom Mirror this Morning” by Jeff Walt

“In the Bathroom Mirror this Morning” was selected from over 650 entries, and will be published in a future issue of The Los Angeles Review.


Winner of the 2014 The Los Angeles Review’s Wild Light Poetry Contest

“kaddish” by Sam Sax

“kaddish” was selected from over 200 entries and will be published in a future issue of The Los Angeles Review.


Vote for Andrea Scarpino for Poet Laureate of Upper Peninsula of Michigan!

Our very own Andrea Scarpino has been nominated for the position of Upper Peninsula of Michigan Poet Laureate! It’s a two-year position nominated by the public and voted upon by the public, and she received enough nominations to be on the final list! We’re so excited for Andrea, and hope that she wins – and you can help her by voting here.
Congrats to Andrea, and good luck! Our fingers are crossed for you.


#ThrowbackThursday: Gobble, Gobble

We hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with quality family time and tons of food! This week, we’re throwing back to last Thursday with some of our authors sharing what they looked forward to eating on Thanksgiving.

Gary Dop

Gary Dop

I crave the leftovers of a Thanksgiving meal more than the actual meal. The meal is great, but it’s so much preparation, and you have all those family members negotiating how to be sane around each other–the main meal is work. But Thanksgiving leftovers are all play: I love the moment later that night or the next afternoon, when I pull the mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, and corn from the fridge, and I plop it all into a big bowl—mix it up, add a little cheese, and toss it in the microwave.  Then I eat till I’m thankful.


Melody Mansfield

Melody Mansfield

Pecan pie.  No contest.


William Trowbridge

William Trowbridge



Michael Mirolla

Michael Mirolla, Relationship Dyads Author Photo (600 dpi)

Sweet potatoes/vegetables/turkey breast/and wine. Lots of it.