Suzanne Lummis

Suzanne Lummis

Suzanne Lummis (b. September 13, 1951 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1951_in_poetry] in San Francisco, CA) is a poet, poetry educator/instigator, and co-founder and present director of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival. She is the granddaughter of Charles Fletcher Lummis. Suzanne completed her M.A. in English/Creative Writing at Fresno State University where she studied with Philip Levine. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Levine_%28poet%29] Since 1991, she has taught poetry at the UCLA Extension, including a course she developed “Poetry and the Movies: The Poem Noir.” Suzanne's seminal work comingling poetry and film noir has helped to define the poem noir motif--an edgy style that achieves a fusion of urban grit and urbane wit--causing fellow poet Mike Sonksen (aka Mike the Poet) to dub her "a poetic Raymond Chandler." [http://www.newangelesmonthly.com/article.php?id=108&IssueNum=8] In 2006 she taught “L.A. Stories,” which examines the city through fiction and film, at Emerson College in Burbank.

Career

Suzanne Lummis lives in Northeast Los Angeles and is an award-winning teacher at UCLA Extension where, since 1991, she has led the beginning through master class workshops in poetry. She is the present director of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, which produces poetry events in Los Angeles and its environs. She combines her background in poetry writing and theater by performing with the language-driven troupe Nearly Fatal Women. [http://www.nearlyfatalwomen.com/susannelummisbio.html] This group, which she helped to found, has appeared at The Knitting Factory in New York, Knox College in Illinois, Beyond Baroque [http://www.beyondbaroque] and MOCA [http://www.moca.org] in Los Angeles, and various other performance venues.

Suzanne edits the online literary magazine "Speechless the Magazine," which is published by Tebot Bach. [http://tebotbach.org/index.html] This eclectic journal of "poetry and related arts straight from L.A." has published issues covering topics such as "L.A. Poetry: Then and Now [http://www.speechlessthemagazine.org/WinterSpring%202005/index.htm] ," "Poetry Goes to the Fights [http://www.speechlessthemagazine.org/Winter-Spring%202006/index.htm] ," and more recently "Speechless Goes to the Movies," which chronicles poets' impassioned love affair with the movies. If you've ever wondered what Allen Ginsberg's favorite movies were, be sure to check out "Poets' Favorite Movies Revealed at Last" in this issue. [http://www.speechlessthemagazine.org]

Suzanne is the literary coordinator of the Arroyo Arts Collective in Northeast Los Angeles. [http://arroyoartscollective.org] From 1995 until 2003, the Arroyo Arts Collective sponsored five "Poetry in the Windows" competitions in Highland Park. During those events, poems appeared in store windows that included a pet shop, barber shop, drug store, laundermat, and bakery. Since 2006, the Arroyo Arts Collective has sponsored the annual "Lummis Day" for which Suzanne hosts the poetry festivities honoring her grandfather and celebrating the spirit and diverse culture of Northeast Los Angeles. [http://www.lummisday.org]

As visiting poet-professor, Suzanne has mentored seven-to-thirteen-year-old emerging poets at the Santa Fe Springs Art and Poetry Camp at Heritage Park and The Clarke Estate, co-sponsored by Friends of the Junior Arts Center. Her poetry and theater skills were applied in the summer of 2002 when she wrote the lyrics for a children's musical production of "Twelfth Night" produced in Beverly Hills and La Jolla by the ETC Theater Company. [http://educationaltheater.org] Her own two plays, "October 22, 4004 B.C., Saturday" and "Night Owls," were produced in Washington State and Houston, Texas, as well at The Cast Theater, Los Angeles.

Awards and Recognition

In 1996, Suzanne was awarded the UCLA Extension Outstanding Instructor Award in Creative Writing. The late Drama-Logue honored two of her Los Angeles productions with playwriting awards. She was the recipient of a Rockefeller Grant for playwriting. Twice, the Poetry Society of America has selected Suzanne's poems to be displayed on public transportation in their Poetry in Motion Project. In 2006, WriteGirl awarded Suzanne their Bold Ink Award, which honors the voices of fearless women writers. [http://web.mac.com/kerentaylor/iWeb/Site%205/Photos.html] [http://www.writegirl.org] . Suzanne is included in the film by Bob Bryan, Graffiti Verite 6: The Odyssey--Poets, Passion & Poetry. [http://www.graffitiverite.com/GV6%20Poet%20Bios.html] Suzanne is included in the new five-volume Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry (2005). [http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/GR2381.aspx] On February 16, 2008, a tribute is planned in honor of Suzanne at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, 681 Venice Boulevard, Venice Beach, CA. [http://www.beyondbaroque.org] In response to this tribute is was said, “If L.A. has anything like a poetry ‘community’ these days, I think it is in large part owing to the presence of Suzanne Lummis—one of L.A.'s major poetic voices, a highly influential teacher, keeper of the dark flame of L.A. noir, and one of the leading graduates of the historically important Fresno poetry scene. May she thrive, and may L.A. poetry thrive with her.”—B.H. Fairchild.

Bibliography

Suzanne Lummis is principal editor of "Grand Passion: The Poetry of Los Angeles and Beyond" (LAPF) and editor of "Open Windows" (Arroyo Arts Collective), Matchbook: A Little Collection of Flammable Poems (Paperback), and the forthcoming anthology "Master Class in Poetry" (Duende Books). Her poetry collections include, "Falling Short of Heaven" (Pennywhistle), "Idiosyncrasies: Poems" (Red Wind), "Spreading the Word" (Red Wind), and "In Danger," which was part of The California Poetry Series (Heyday Books/Roundhouse Press). She has completed a new manuscript, "Open 24 Hours."

Her poems have appeared in the anthologies "California Poetry from the Gold Rush to the Present" (Heyday Books), "Poems of the American West" (Knopf), "How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets" (Heyday Books), "Place as Purpose: Poetry of the Western States" (Autry/Sun & Moon Press), "Poetry Daily: 366 Poems" (Sourcebooks, Inc.), "Stand Up Poetry" (University of Iowa Press), and in major literary publications in the United States and United Kingdom, including "Poetry International," "The Antioch Review," "The Hudson Review," "Ploughshares," and "Pool."

Selected Poems

"Everywhere I Go There I Am"
"Hurrying Toward the Present"
"Medusa Depressed"
These poems can be found at Enskyment [http://www.enskyment.org/poetshtom.html#Lummis]

("Medusa Depressed,” made its debut in England in the literary magazine "Agenda"
and was later reprinted in the arts and culture magazine of the national English
newspaper "The Independent.")

"Take That Chance You've Been Considering"
This poem can be found, and heard, at Cortland Review [http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/16/lummis16.html]

"The Perfect Man"
"My Worst Poem"
These poems can be found at Caffeine Destiny [http://www.caffeinedestiny.com/poetry/lummis.html]

Quotes

“That way of noticing the oddness or loveliness or some particularity in the commonplace . . . this is something that contemporary poetry's pretty good at. Come to think of it, it may be the outstanding quality of the poetry of our times, the way many of today's best poems insist that we look again at these seemingly ordinary, even lowly, things, objects of bland domesticity, brutish creatures and insects, scuffed street corners . . . Whatever once seemed too low for the subject of poetry can now be the subject of poetry.”
-- BiblioBuffet . [http://www.bibliobuffet.com/bb/content/view/312/169] .

And:

"What poetry tries to do is bear the harsh and luminous world into language".
-- Los Angeles Times, September 17, 2001, in the article "Measuring Word's Worth" [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/80931339.html?dids=80931339:80931339&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Sep+17%2C+2001&author=LYNELL+GEORGE%3BRENEE+TAWA%3BCARA+MIA+DiMASSA&pub=Los+Angeles&edition=&startpage=E.1&desc=Measuring+Words%27+Worth%3B+As+people+try+to+express+the+emotions+of+last+week%27s+terrorist+attacks%2C+the+English+language--a+language+of+optimism--has+left+many+speechless.+Historically%2C+it+is+up+to+writers+to+pick+up+their+pens+and+expound] .

Interview

BiblioBuffet -- Talking Across the Table
Suzanne Lummis: An Interview

Suzanne explains why there are no bad poems
about cockroaches. [http://www.bibliobuffet.com/bb/content/view/312/169]

External links

* [http://www.speechlessthemagazine.org "Speechless the Magazine" ]
* [http://www.nearlyfatalwomen.com/susannelummisbio.html Nearly Fatal Women ]
* [http://www.newangelesmonthly.com/article.php?id=108&IssueNum=8 "New Angeles Monthly" ]

* [http://www.poetryflash.org "Poetry Flash"] , Summer/Fall 2005, includes Suzanne's essay/review discussing the anthology "Perfect in their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali"


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