“Poetry … must be tactless, falling down stairs like a toddler,
slipping into ravines like a dancer on high alert,
forgetting the words but remembering the way. Poetry must be.”
On the heels of the powerful Women’s March, when love trumped hate en masse, a message from the heart: Invest in love.
A call to action: “As the dark wings of native fascism threaten to blot out our sun, it is essential that American writers, artists, poets, journalists and musicians use their imaginative resources to push against that darkness.”
What does Donald Trump’s inaugural dinner reveal? We’ve obtained the top-secret menu and offer it up as an additional excerpt from THE POLITICAL COOKBOOK: A Compendium of American Dishes. Spoiler Alert: Misogyny Soup will be served.
In her latest acclaimed novel, LITTLE NOTHING, Marisa Silver compels us to look, and look deeply, at how hatred distorts not only those we fear, but ourselves. An excerpt and conversation with HAUNTING BOMBAY author Shilpa Agarwal examining the meaning of “other” and more within and without this extraordinary work.
Author and activist Désirée Zamorano questions how we go forward, but is determined to fight. “Each day the news can be petrifying, freezing us in steps. What good can I do? And since we cannot do this alone, to you I say, ‘Join us, bring your art, your talent, your compassion, your energy.’ Because there is no Wonder Woman. There’s only us.”
We have been honored to feature an array of tremendous titles from incredibly talented and diverse writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Here are some of our favorites published in the year we now leave behind.
“Our role to make our country great will never be easy, but the American way is to get back up and fight for what this country should and must stand for. I am not alone. We are not alone. Sending peace and love to my fellow Americans. We’ve got work to do.”
Visiting Manzanar, a former Japanese internment camp in the California desert, challenged one writer to ask how to move forward after witnessing the consequences of U.S. policies through the lens of history. “To realize that, no matter who’s in charge, this is our country. We, the people, play a valuable part in transforming it.”
A poet’s reflection on fear, written on 11/9, after the dismaying results of the election.
For the first time in her life, writer Alana Saltz is afraid of being Jewish. She isn’t alone. Yet history has taught her not to give in to fear, but to fight back and to survive.
Prose incantations written pre- and post-election by L.A. poet and author Rich Ferguson. All selections part of his collection in progress, “Everything Is Radiant Between the Hates.”
“We live inside stories. Stories we tell ourselves about who we are, about where we come from, about what the world is.” Now, more than ever, author Samantha Dunn is committed to telling her story and to helping others tell their stories, too. “This is a long game, folks. Be the storytellers.”
Ryann Perlstein, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, learned a tough lesson in adult politics when she interviewed a parent for her school paper. The parent turned out to be celebrity Republican Scott Baio. The experience made her realize how critical it is now to take action to make a difference.
A holiday toast to fighting the good fight. Get a taste of THE POLITICAL COOKBOOK: A Compendium of American Dishes by humorist George R. Wolfe. First, we whet your appetite with satirical cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Then, main dishes and desserts. Vive la Revolution!
When the Electoral College cast its vote, our collective loss on 11/9 resonated doubly. How do we continue to hope when hope seems lost and far off?
Read an excerpt from “Wedding Bush Road,” a new novel by David Francis on the complexities of the journey “home,” and a Q&A with the author exploring the freeing power of distance and how the change of regime now challenges writers to “be more aware of the ‘political'” in their work.
“I hadn’t noticed the accumulation of paper cuts until now. All those moments when I gave a man something he wanted. I carry around these memories like a jar of stones that dream of shattering windows.”
An excerpt from the fiery, acclaimed debut novel by Jade Chang, “The Wangs Vs. the World,” and a frank Q&A with the author post-11/9.
“I wish I could make the piñata’s vibrant colors fade to pale nothingness, but I still see that mouth. It haunts me like a giant black hole, hungry to suck the entire universe into its grim, empty abyss.”
“I grieve for Los Angeles
Left behind me.
I grieve for Obama’s America
Soon to be gone.”
“Can you imagine a Saddam-like statue outside the White House — a massive, gold-plated tuft of hair blotting out the view from the Jefferson Memorial — bearing the words ‘Donald J. Trump, Leader of the Free World?’ Don’t laugh. It could happen.”
In his poems, Sergio A. Ortiz explores a range of roiling emotions post-11/9: feelings of longing and regret, resentment stirring at the emerging depravity, and warnings about remaining silent. But there is also hope in resistance: “Listen to how frozen hurricanes emerge from the dew!”
“I am Her. Every woman is, whether she knows it or not. And the tears keep falling.”
A poignant letter and apology from a journalist and writer to his daughter in this tenuous and frightening time mounting in our country, a promise to do all he can and a message for her: Resist.
The premiere of the lyrics video for “I’m Not My Friend,” the first single off Ruby Friedman Orchestra’s powerful debut album, GEM, reveals haunting, true stories of those vulnerable to predators and a vigilante determined to seek justice outside the law. In the post-election glare, the revenge anthem takes on new meanings.
A pledge we make. “Hope is no superficial undertaking, but demands absolute allegiance even in apocalyptic times.”
A new, post-election song by Peter Harper calls on the need for all to fight for freedom.
A instant bestseller, LOS ANGELES IN THE 1970s, an anthology edited by David Kukoff, gives an insider’s look into the good, the bad and the ugly of L.A. in its heyday, with contributions from The Doors’ John Densmore, Matthew Specktor, Luis Rodriguez, Susan Hayden, Deanne Stillman, Dana Johnson, Jeremy Rosenberg and more.
A glimpse into the whimsical, weird and compelling debut collection of crafted and surreal stories by Meredith Alling.
Henry Hoke’s dazzling and daring new fiction challenges the concepts of memoir and dreamscape, reality and surrealism, literature and sexuality.
The debut of the Angels Flight • literary west Salon Series at Clifton’s illuminated the need to come together in community and resistance, in celebration, still, in this darkness. Together, we write, we read, we talk, we touch, we create change, we hope. Together. We do.
A glimpse into Dana Johnson’s acclaimed new collection of stories set in the heart of Los Angeles that explore love, class and race in intimate and daring ways.
“Some people will backpack or scale mountains to remember who they really are. Some dive to the blackest ocean depths or don boxing gloves or parachute into thin air. I found a different way.”
THE BITCH IS BACK: OLDER, WISER, AND (GETTING) HAPPIER editor Cathi Hanauer shares an in-depth overview of the BITCH series, insights into powerful essays by 25 prominent women writers, and the joy and method of her rigorous editing process.
An L.A. story in every sense of it, Gina Frangello’s latest, heralded novel also is a portrait of the modern family in America, examining assimilation, the legacy of secrets and the morality of desire, across ethnicities, nationalities and sexualities.
A window into Rich Ferguson’s visceral and poetic debut coming-of-age novel, NEW JERSEY ME, plus excerpts of the audiobook with music and a Q&A with the author about his inspirations and literary L.A.
Fifteen years later, we remember 9/11 with a poem written in 2001 in New York by L.A. journalist and musician Solvej Schou, reverberating with the grief, confusion and sadness she felt at the time of the tragedy.
Welcome to “Life’s Rich Pageant,” a month-long celebration of dazzling, provocative, whimsical, bold and resonating stories. Come on!
WE WERE THRILLED by the HUGE response to our launch party and reading at The Last Bookstore. VIEW photos and WATCH videos of the event and readings and more here!
A selection of poems by Lisa Mecham deftly explores the haze of infidelity, deflections that bring us back to ourselves and the anguish of facing a partner’s mental illness.
Read a haunting excerpt from GRACE, the debut novel by Natashia Deón universally hailed as a new, essential slave novel, and a revealing Q&A with the author on how her work delving into our country’s dark past relates to Black Lives Matter, sex and love.
In a pulsing excerpt and personal Q&A, John Doe, from X, recreates an unforgettable night at the Whisky a Go Go and reflects on his journey from the early days of punk L.A.
A searing series of narrative prose poems by Ashaki M. Jackson offer observations from her childhood and document the painful commonness of devaluing Black lives.
An excerpt from Deanne Stillman’s epic MUSTANG, with excerpts from the just-released audio version, narrated by Anjelica Huston, John Densmore, Frances Fisher, Wendie Malick and Richard Portnow.
“Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’ /
I was layin’ in bed /
Wonderin’ if she’d changed at all /
If her hair was still red.”
A first-look excerpt from Chris Morris’ candid memoir, “Together Through Life: A Personal Journey with the Music of Bob Dylan,” published on Dylan’s 75th birthday.
“Southern California was the perfect place for show business to sink its shallow roots in the era of silent film. Of course, at the time they weren’t actually known as ‘silent films,’ since there was no other kind of film. They were instead called ‘no-talkies.’”
After a traumatic adolescence and seeking shelter in a “safe” life that no longer fit, writer Bernadette Murphy found her way back to her true self through risk taking. In a riveting excerpt and Q&A, she describes crossing paths with her childhood idol character, The Fonz, in a surprising way.
“I never told you that I saw you kissing her, that I watched you do it without hesitation, inching closer to her instead of backing away. I watched long enough to see her curl her fist under her chin to get more comfortable, the gesture natural and familiar, as if she had done it before.”
The temptations against staying clean start the moment Dean gets a ride out of rehab.