Last week, Heather and I attended a mixer hosted by the Academy of American Poets. Our gracious host was Geneva Overholser, director of USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. She warmly greeted us in her "new-york-esque" flat in the heart of a renewed and revitalized downtown L.A. We had no clue what kind of a treat we were in for. In addition to learning about what an important mission the Academy is pursuing throughout the country, we got to hear Dana Goodyear read poems about Los Angeles, my native land. She read a poem by Bertolt Brecht that felt as fresh and relevant today as it was in the 1940s. Dana also read a couple of her own poems, including one exploring the psychics that ply their trade in L.A. She then revealed her investigations into the psychic industry in Los Angeles, apparently run by two feuding families of Roma.
It was a magical experience spending a couple hours meeting incredibly interesting artists, writers, advocates, musicians, and of course poets, contributing to the cultural fabric of L.A. in so many ways. And the setting could not have been more inspiring, overlooking a downtown core that is rapidly turning into a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and be inspired within.
One more nugget: The academy recently published an innovative book of poetry that encourages you to tear out poems to share with friends, coworkers and relatives. Poem in Your Pocket: 200 Poems to Read and Carry.