The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles

The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles

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This anthology features the vitality and variety of verse in the City of Angels, a city of poets. This is more about range then representation, voice more than volume. Los Angeles has close to 60 percent people of color, 225 languages spoken at home, and some of the richest and poorest persons in the country. With an expansive 502.7 square miles of city (and beyond, including the massive county of 4,752.32 square miles), the poetry draws on imagery, words, stories, and imaginations that are also vast, encompassing, a real "leaves of grass."

Well-known poets include Holly Prado, Ruben Martinez, traci kato-kiriyama, and Lynne Thompson. Many strong new voices, however, makes this a well-rounded collection for any literary class, program, bookstore, or event.

The image of the coiled serpent appears in various forms in mythologies throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, India, and America. In pre-conquest times, Quetzalcoatl—the Precious Serpent—served as a personification of earth-bound wisdom, the arts and eldership in so-called Meso-America, one of seven "cradles of civilization" that also includes China, Nigeria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and Peru.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781882688524
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 04/15/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 250
Sales rank: 1,176,609
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Neelanjana Banerjee, managing editor at Kaya Press and co-editor of the award-winning Indivisible: An Anthology of South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas Press). Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Pank Magazine, The Rumpus, World Literature Today, the Literary Review, and more.

Daniel A. Olivas is the author of seven books including the award-winning novel, The Book of Want (University of Arizona Press). His first nonfiction book is Things We Do Not Talk About: Exploring Latino/a Literature through Essays and Interviews (San Diego State University Press). Olivas is also the editor of the landmark anthology, Latinos in Lotusland (Bilingual Press).

Ruben J. Rodriguez, a recent graduate of UCLA, Magna Cum Laude, was previously an editor at Westwind magazine and has read at UCLA’s Powell Library.

Table of Contents

Luis J. Rodriguez 11

Introduction: City of Angels, City of Poets

Ricardo Lira Acuña 15

Intimate Set

Thomas Adams 17


Tanzila Ahmed 19

Iftar Streets


Nelson Alburquenque 21

Body Against Me

Eggs on City Limits

Rosie Angelica Alonso 23

Recipe for a Tattoo

Li Yun Alvarado 25

In Los Angeles

Melissa F. Alvarado 26

Fifth Grade

Karina Oliva Alvarado 27

By the Tree

Rafael F J Alvarado 29

Untitled Prison Poem, #30

E. Amato 30

Earthquake Weather

William Archila 32

Three Minutes with Mingus

Erika Avón 34


Danny Baker 35

Inalienable Right to Genuine Autonomy Nietzcshe and Kierkegaard

Andres Bermejo 37

Night, Sleep, Death, and the Stars

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo 38

Ode to Pan Dulce

The Boys of Summer

Laurel Ann Bogen 40

Bine Smoke and Steel

Hollywood Hills Noir

F. Douglas Brown 43

What I Know About Watts

Love Letter to Rashida Jones

Jeffrey Bryant 47

A Veteran's Day (2014)

Ruthie Buell 49


Don Kingfisher Campbell 51

Ventura Highway

Luís Campos 52


Jessica M. Wilson Cardenas 53

Being Human

Anaid Carreno 55

Snake Tongue: Lengua de Culebra

Iliana carter 56


Jessica Ceballos 60

Two dreams

Joaquin lives in Los Ángeles

Adrian Ernesto Cepeda 64

Traffic buying a familiar refrain

Her moon over Los Angeles

Angel Cerritos 66

La Calaca

Robert Chambers 68

Poem for Lost Angels

Lisa Cheby 69

Guests in a Guileless Land

When a Sonnet Loses Track of the Seasons

Gabreal Cho 71


Chiwan Choi 72

If 100, then 150

Marcus Clayton 75

Schizophrenic on the Steps of Bank of America

Wanda Coleman 76

Sonnet for Austin

Rafa Cruz 77

My Mind on the 239

Iliana Cuellar 78

Canto in Two Lenguas

Yago S. Cura 79

Los Angeles Country Jail Sonnets, #5

Watts Shadormas, #1

Art Currim 81

It is Upon Us

Kamau Daáood 82

Los Angeles

Doren Damico 83

Unfurl My Spirit

Woman of Colors

Carol V. Davis 87

Driving Late at Night in Hollywood with a Foreign Visitor

Iris De Anda 88

Terra firma

Seven Dhar 89

When 1 Smoked Pencils

David M. Diaz 91

An addiction

Kim Dower 93



Sharif Dumani 98

Los Angeles

I Went and Saw You Again, Tonight

Christian Elder 100


Seth Elpenor 102

From California…

Francisco Escamilla (Bus Stop Prophet) 103


Boyle Heights

Yvonne M. Estrada 106

The Coyotes in the Living Room

My Name on Top of Yours, #14

Eric Eztli 108

A Different Doorway

Rich Ferguson 109

When Called in for Questioning

A Worry Bead, a Blessing

Jamie Asaye Fitzgerald 112

The Night Nurse

The Voyage of Comparative Snapshots of My Father's Brain

Angela Rose Fiores 114

Like My Mother

Michael C. Ford 116

Closing Prayer

Mariana Franco 117

Night 1

Jerry Garcia 118

Interstate 60

Downwind from a Man Sleeping in His Own Puddle

Nicolai Garcia 121

Did You Know Sea Otters Hold Hands When They Sleep So They Don't Drift Away From Each Other?

A Long Drive

Marisa Urrutia Gedney 124

City Hall Try


Dana Gioia 128

Meet Me at the Lighthouse

Liz gonzález 129


William A. González 130

In the Valley

Dorothy Randall Gray 132

Sandy in the Streets

Robert Gribbin 134

The Man in 702

Peter J Harris 135

Baby Talk


Hazel Clayton Harrison 137


Kevin James Hearle 138

Water and Power

The Politics of Memory

Adolfo Y. Hernandez 141

Tamale hustle

Raul Herrera 142


To Quentin Tarantino

William Ryan Hilary 147

How to Sell Your First Screenplay and Become Rich

Poems from the Bargain Bin

Martens Hitt 150

Child on a Floor with Marble

Big Thunder

Jen Hofer 152


Alexandra Hohmann 153

The Brown Girl in Her

This Small Thing

Boris Salvador Ingles 156

All the characters

Evergreen head stones

Gerda Govine Ituarte 160

Part 1, 44 Days

Poster Boy

Traci kato-kiriyama 162


Pilgrimage to the Meaning of Ash

Douglas Kearney 165


Karen Kevorkian 167

The Proofreader Raises Hands to Eyes Without Anyone Seeing

Our Lady of Sorrows or is it Solitude

Doug Knott 169

Home Movie in Green and White

The Laughing Wall

Haley Laningham 171

A Year of Being Both Gay and Religious

The Valley and Family Tectonic

Teka Lark 174

Choices of Heat

Random Violence

Anthony A. Lee 179

Memory of Abel

No Moon in L.A.

Janice Lee 183

Los Angeles

Kimberly Lieu 186


Mark Lipman 188

The Price of Doing Business

Jaime Lopez 190

Love Me, Rain

Robert Mäder-Kammer 191

Mom's War Stories

Karineh Mahdessian 192



Ruthie Marlenée 194

Christmas in Duarte

Cuate, the Barrio Drunk

Jeffery Martin 197

The Poverty of Access

Rubén Martínez 199

"Contrabando y traicion": A Critical Karaoke

Phoebe MacAdams 202

February 14

Rhiannon McGavin 203


Elena minor 205

Historia de un amor

Singer, Not Song

Penelope Moffet 207


Bill Mohr 209

Real Dajs Off


Alejandro Molina 211

Border Crossing

Henry J. Morro 213

Boiling Rice

Sybil Mosely 214

A Clamor

Majid Naficy 215

Promenade at Dawn

Santa Monica Farmers' Market

Janet Nippell 217

L.A. Rockabye

Harry E. Northup 218

Young Latino Writes in Her Journal

East Hollywood 3

Martin Ott 220

Caves of Los Angeles

California is Sinking

Melinda Palacio 223

Broken Bone Poem

Rae Paris 225

Uncle Kwanza: November 1

Candace Pearson 227

From the Permanent Collection

From the Permanent Collection II

Alice Pero 229

Word Hummingbirds

Desert Hot Springs

Ramona Pilar 232

Six Lines to Thirty Eight

Jenuine Poetess 233

Colors i have been

Holly Prado 234

Pursuit of Happiness

I Need the Sanctified. I Need the Obvious

Arturo Quiros 236

Gasoline Dreams

A. Razor 238

If Bubba's Taxi Could Talk

Ellen reich 240

After the Rape

Steven Reigns 241

Morning, West Hollwood

Luivette Resto 243

Fingerprints on Tortilla

The Kind of Woman

Erika Reyes 246

For My Best Friend

Michael Reyes 247

Math Quizes at Breakfast

Atypical Love Poem

Thelma T. Reyna 249

Night Rituals

Sophia Rivera 250

To Make Yourself Yours

Claudia Rodriguez 252

On Being Butch

Daniela Rodriguez 254

A Temporary Whisper

Norma Rodriguez 256

L.A.: Story of a Traisplant

Ramiro D. Rodriguez 258

Dancing Through a Beating

Trini Rodriguez (Matriz) 262

Grown Men

Jeff Rogers 264

An L.A. Freeway Songbook

What Grows Below Ground

Conrad Romo 267


Jessica Romoff 268

Not Knowing What a Protest Tastes Like

For My Dear Naomi: Forever 16 Years of Age

Melissa Roxas 272


Pogo Saito 274

Highland Park, 2 am

Abel Salas 276


Alexandra Sanchez 278

To My Absent Father

Cathie Sandstrom 280

Seven Tall Windows

OK, L.A., You Win

T Sarmina 283

Motet Paul Bunyan

When the Sun Sits

Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut 287

Survival Mask

S. Pearl Sharp 288

Easing Into An Avenue 50 Choir

Mahtem Shiferraw 290

Behind Walls & Glass

Mike Sonksen (Mike the Poet) 292

Blind Faith, Sour Grapes & Outside My Window

Robert Stanley 294

Wounded Angels

Austin Straus 296

The Good Woman of Watts

Ambika Talwar 297


Tezozomoc 299

Lake Tetzcoco

Lynne Thompson 303



Michael Torres 305

After I'm Gone

Anna Ureña 306

What do you mean Beverly Hills doesn't need a drone?

Amy Uyematsu 308

The Sign Says "Closed for Business"

Insomnia Entry No. 24

Rolland Vasin (Vachine) 310



GusTavo Adolfo Guerra Vasquez 312


Vickie Vertiz 314

1 Postcard from My Father

2 Postcard to My Father

Jennifer Lisa Vest 317

When I was Born

Estela Victoria-Cordero 319

Concrete Love

Antonieta Villamil 320

Evening Snapshot

America Malinche's Trade

Celia Viramontes 322

A Book All My Own


Melora Walters 324

Nature Poem, #5

Hilda Weiss 327

Before the Long Weekend

The Poem

Sammy Winston 329


Terry Wolvertan 330


Nancy Lynée Woo 331

The Disappearing Act


Gail Wronsky 334

Dolphins Are People, Too

And in green meadows raise a purple temple

Tina Yang 337

Why My Mother, the Bald Headed Nun, Rejected Me


Mariano Zaro 339

My Mother Wakes Up Late

Acknowledgments 341

Contributors 347

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