April is National Poetry Month. This year, the Academy of American Poets has decided to celebrate the great role that letter writing takes in the lives of poets. The poster for National Poetry Month 2013 was created by Jessica Helfand and features pens, stationary, envelopes and everything that can turn letter writing into an art. You can join the celebration of poetry and its important function in society by attending one of the many events scheduled throughout Los Angeles this month. Below are just five of those options.
Good Luck Bar
1514 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Date: April 7
This is April’s gathering of the reading series entitled “Rhapsodomancy,” which presents four writers at the Good Luck Bar on a Sunday every even month of the year. This event is 21 and over only. There is a cash bar. Besides listening to poetry and getting to know the artists, this Mandarin-themed bar allows you to feel as if in a movie set, with its red hues and round oriental lamps. Check the website above to see about this month’s featured poets.
Aldersgate Retreat Center and Buerge Chapel
925 Haverford Ave.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Date: April 8
“Moonday West” is a poetry reading held on the second Monday of the month at Buerge Chapel at the Aldersgate Retreat Center. This month, the reading features poet William O’Daly, who aside from his own work is well known for translating the poetry of the Chilean master poet Pablo Neruda. You can sign up to read your own material by arriving a half-hour early.
Barnes & Noble Marina Pacifica
6326 E. Pacific Coast Highway
Long Beach, CA 90803
Date: April 9
Barnes & Noble will host a tribute to Donna Gebron, along with an open reading. Donna Gebron authored two poetry books – “Pink and Naked in the Ultra-Violet Life” and “Shakti Catechism.” She lived in Lake Elsinore until her death in November of 2009. This store holds poetry readings every second Tuesday of every month. You are welcome to bring your own material and sign up to share.
Royce Hall – UCLA
340 Royce Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Date: April 17
This event, entitled “Kaddish,” is a live staging of Allen Ginsberg’s poem by the same name. The Beat Generation poet wrote it as a tribute to his mother and in it discusses his family life and his separation from his religion. The evening will feature renowned music producer Hal Willner and the event’s director, Chloe Webb, performing the poem while backed by live music written and conducted by Grammy winner Bill Frisell and accompanied by the projection of a film by Webb that includes paintings by artist Ralph Steadman.
22047 Sherman Way
Canoga Park, CA 91303
Date: Tuesdays through April
Celebrate Poetry Month at Cobalt Café by joining its open reading nights on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. If you want to share your own work, arrive half an hour early to sign up. Each poet gets a maximum of seven minutes at the microphone. There is a one-drink minimum per person. This is a non-alcoholic venue open to people of all ages. This night of poetry has been hosted since 1994 by local poet Rick Lupert.
Related: Best Books About Los Angeles
Dena Burroughs is a freelance writer living in Azusa, CA. She is a CSULA graduate with specialties in Creative Writing and Communications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.