Monday, August 28, 2017

#90X90LA Strikes Again, This Time with Lawyers Who Write


When the poet, Chiwan Choi, reached out to me to participate in 90X90LA, I was delighted. Aside from being a writer, Chiwan is also a partner at Writ Large Press, a Los Angeles-based indie publisher, which is “focused on using literary arts to resist, disrupt, and transgress.” Once I checked my calendar and saw that I was free, I said yes.

The organizers of 90X90LA include the fine people at Writ Large Press, and specifically Chiwan Choi, Judeth Oden Choi, traci kato-kiriyama, Skira Martinez, and Peter Woods.

What is 90X90LA? Well, to use the words of Michelle Franke, Executive Director of PEN Center USA, “it is the most ambitious reading series…attempted in Los Angeles, not to mention one of the most inclusive.” Started in 2014, the series presents 90 events in 90 days.

This year’s #90X90LA started on July 5 and will run to October 1, 2017. The 90 events will be spread out among three historic Los Angeles neighborhoods: Little Tokyo, DTLA, and South Central Los Angeles.

Yesterday’s brunch event was held at The Escondite, 410 Boyd St. Los Angeles, CA 90013 (you should really check out this bar/restaurant…I had the French toast). It was one of the two Working Writers Brunch readings which gather “people from two different fields that we don’t often think of when we think of POETS or WRITERS” (to quote from #90X90LA’s website).

I participated in the Lawyers Who Write brunch. My fellow barristers were Natashia Deón, David Rocklin, Jill Rosenthal, and Olivia Samad. Each has a different style, but all of them offered well-crafted, evocative work. And it made me feel quite at home having other lawyer/writers share their literary side. Rocío Carlos served as the emcee (she was wonderful!). Here they are doing their thing:

Olivia Samad

Jill Rosenthal

David Rocklin

Natashia Deón

Rocío Carlos

Daniel Olivas
(Photo credit: Malinda Lee)

I read a story titled “The Great Wall" from my forthcoming collection, The King of Lighting Fixtures (University of Arizona Press, Sept. 2017), which (sadly) is my first Trump-inspired piece of fiction where I imagine a world where his border wall has been constructed. I also read “Papa Wrote” from my debut poetry collection, Crossing the Border (Pact Press, Nov. 2017). I had not read either of these in public before, but it was good practice as I get ready for two book launches.

There’s still time to catch the literary events that make up 90X90LA. Check the website for a complete listing.


Speaking of my forthcoming collection, The King of Lighting Fixtures, yesterday morning, Foreword Reviews published the first review of my collection. You may read the very thoughtful piece here (it is written by the award-winning poet, Karen Rigby). This is one of the harder parts of publishing a book: waiting for the reviews. I am very pleased by Ms. Rigby’s analysis.

And here is the flyer for the book launch. If you’re in town, come enjoy the event.

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