Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this city's new poet laureate, Luis J. Rodriguez, on Thursday at downtown L.A.'s Central Library.
Rodriguez grew up in Watts and East L.A. During the event, he gave an emotional reading from his “Love Letter to Los Angeles."
"I loved L.A. when I slept in abandoned cars alongside the concrete river and during all-night movie showings in downtown art deco theatres. The city beckoned as I tried to escape the prison-like grip of its shallowness, sun-soaked image, suburban quiet, all disarming, hiding the murderous heart that beats at its center.”
Rodriguez is best known for his frank depictions of L.A. gang life. He's also a vocal community activist and the founder of the Tia Chucha Press — a bookstore and cultural arts center in Sylmar.