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Poets to board Metro Rail for Live Rush-hour Readings during National Poetry Month in April

Monday April 05, 2004

n a month-long series of live poetry readings aboard Metro Rail during April, celebrated poet Elena Karina Byrne leads bands of poets in live readings at rush hour on the Metro Red Line subway on Thursday, April 8; on the Metro Blue Line trains on Thursday, April 22, and in the Metro Gold Line Mission Station plaza in South Pasadena on Thursday, April 29.

Poets on Board > go to Press ReleaseComplete ScheduleBiographies
  • April 8  - Metro Red Line readings boarding at Union Station, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    Poets: . Elena Karina Byrne . Kate Durbin . Liz González . Eitan Kadosh . Larry Jaffe . J-son Wooi-chin . Gloria Vando

  • April 22 - Metro Blue Line readings boarding at 7th Street/Metro Center Station, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    Poets: . Noah Blaustein . Elena Karina Byrne . Larry Colker . Dina Hardy . Regina O'Melveny . Elisa Pulido . Karen Schumacher

  • April 29 - Metro Gold Line Mission Station, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    Poets: . Therese M. Bachand . Elena Karina Byrne . Catherine Daly . Michael C. Ford . Charlotte Innes . Alicia Portnoy . Antoineta Villamil

  • Biographies


Poets on Board> Dina Hardy, Elena Karina Byrne, Briony Bax and Danielle Cohn prepare to board Metro Red Line for National Poetry Month rush-hour readings in 2003.

Poets to board Metro Rail for Live Rush-hour Readings during National Poetry Month in April

Poet Elena Karina Byrne

Breaking through the rush-hour monotone, acclaimed poets will be riding the rails, lifting the heart, and inviting Metro Rail riders to cherish the moment in celebration of National Poetry Month in April. The poets are staging live readings of poetry in the Metro Rail system at rush hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on three Thursdays in April in celebration of National Poetry Month.

The rush-hour readings personify and extend the experience of Poetry in Motion ® L.A., where the work of poets inscribed on placards placed aboard nearly 2,400 Metro buses brings poetry to more than one million bus riders a day.

Poetry in Motion L.A. has staged rush-hour readings during National Poetry Month since its inception in 1999. The alternative space in the context of a transit system is a new platform for the spoken and written word, delivered to delighted audiences by published poets in great performances. Award-winning poet Gloria Vando, boarding the Metro Red Line on April 8 for the rush-hour reading on the subway, described her first on-board performance in 2003:

Poet Gloria Vando reads to waiting 
Metro Green line passengers

On the train we introduced ourselves ("Hello, my name is Gloria Vando and I'll be your poet today"), explained our mission, handed out bookmarks inscribed with poems, and then read aloud. Laurel Ann Bogan, a terrific performance poet with a booming voice and spiked strawberry hair, stood at one end of the train and recited her poems to the entire car. I took a more intimate approach and read to small groups. I prefer connecting -- eye to eye -- with people (I was also suffering from laryngitis). Then we talked about poetry. One high school girl had a poem she had written in school, and I asked Laurel to read it aloud and she did. The girl was delighted.

The month-long celebration of National Poetry Month will culminate in a staged reading and book signing on April 29 in the courtyard adjacent to the Metro Gold Line Mission Station in South Pasadena at 4 p.m. Poets Therese M. Bachand Elena Karina Byrne, Catherine Daly, Michael C. Ford, Charlotte Innes, Alicia Portnoy, and Antoineta Villamil will read their work. Admission is free for all readings. Valid fare is required to board Metro. 

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Poets Richard Beban, above, and R. Skye Palkowitz, below, deliver purple passages to Metro passengers in the 2003 readings of Poetry in Motion L.A. ®

Poetry in Motion ® L.A. EVENTS Schedule

  • April 8 > Metro Red Line / Thursday, 4 p.m to 6 p.m.

Poets: .Elena Karina Byrne .Kate Durbin .Liz González .Eitan Kadosh .Larry Jaffe .J-son Wooi-chin .Gloria Vando.

Departing from Union Station at 4 p.m., poets will wander the stations and trains of the Metro Red Line to read selected poems from the Poetry In Motion® series until 6 p.m.
Location: Departure from Gateway Transit Center, East Portal, 801 Vignes St., downtown Los Angeles.

  • April 22 > Metro Blue Line / Thursday, 4 p.m to 6 p.m.

Poets: .Noah Blaustein .Elena Karina Byrne .Larry Colker .Dina Hardy .Regina O'Melveny .Elisa Pulido .Karen Schumacher 

Departing from the 7th Street/Metro Center/Julian Dixon Station at 4p.m., poets will wander the stations and trains of the Metro Blue Line to read selected poems from the Poetry In Motion® series until 6 p.m.
Location: Departure from 7th Street/Metro Center/Julian Dixon Station, 696 W. 7th St., downtown Los Angeles

  • April 29 > Staged Reading and Booksigning
    Metro Gold Line Mission Station courtyard/ Thursday, 4 p.m to 6 p.m.

Poets: .Therese M. Bachand .Elena Karina Byrne .Catherine Daly .Michael C. Ford .Charlotte Innes .Alicia Portnoy .Antoineta Villamil

Poets read their published works and selected poems at podium in courtyard setting adjacent to Metro Gold Line Mission Station in South Pasadena. Location: Courtyard adjacent to Mission Station, 905 Meridian Ave., South Pasadena

ONLINE: -- Schedule, biographies of participating poets, background

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April 8 . Elena Karina Byrne . Kate Durbin . Liz González . Eitan Kadosh . Larry Jaffe . J-son Wooi-chin . Gloria Vando 

April 22 . Noah Blaustein . Elena Karina Byrne . Larry Colker . Dina Hardy . Regina O'Melveny . Elisa Pulido . Karen Schumacher

April 29 . Therese M. Bachand . Elena Karina Byrne . Catherine Daly . Michael C. Ford . Charlotte Innes . Alicia Portnoy . Antoineta Villamil

Regina O'Melveny is a writer, assemblage artist, and teacher who has lived in southern California for most of her life, with the exception of years spent in India, Mexico and Italy. Her prize-winning poetry and prose have been anthologized and widely published in literary magazines such as Solo,Yellow Silk, Passages North, Barrow Street, Poetry/LA, The Sun, The LA Weekly, and the Wild Duck Review. Her work has been performed on radio, KUSC FM Los Angeles, as well as choreographed and performed by the San Pedro City Ballet at the Western Regional Dance Conference in Washington. Her manuscript Blue Wolves, a collection of poems with reproductions of her assemblages, won the Bright Hill Press poetry book award in New York and was published in 1997. She has read her work throughout the Los Angeles area and in venues as diverse as the Genovese Castle on the island of Lesbos and the Instituto de Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende.

Noah Blaustein has had poems in Art/Life, Crazyhorse, Hunger Mountain, Mid-American Review, Lit, Open City, Orion, Rivendell, Solo and Pleiades. He has had featured interviews in The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine and on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Saturday. Most recently, Blaustein taught poetry workshops at the University of Redlands. His poetry manuscript, Neighborhood, has been a finalist for The Alice Jame's Beatrice Haley Prize, and the Paris Review Prize.

Eitan Kadosh, one of the funniest and most original voices in the slam nation, channels Rothian neurosis through a skewed dystopian worldview. Over nine years of performing, writing, and teaching, he has carved a frenetic niche where pop culture can safely bump against imagery and metaphor. He won the 1999 National Poetry Slam with team San Francisco, was a core member of the 2000 SlamAmerica Bus tour, filmed for HBO and BET, and is the author of "Too Neurotic! A One-Jew Show About Love, Labor, and Jewish Summer Camp." He holds a degree in "The Spoken Word and Poetry in Performance" from UC Berkeley.

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Charlotte Innes won a first prize in the Poetry in the Windows V contest, 2003, which is organized by the Arroyo Arts Collective and funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. She also writes about books and writers for various newspapers and periodicals including the Los Angeles Times and The Nation. Her essay on Chinese writer Can Xue appears as the foreword to "Old Floating Cloud" by Can Xue (Northwestern University Press). Her essays on writers Jeanette Winterson, Kazuo Ishiguro and Elfriede Jelinek were anthologized in Contemporary Literary Criticism (Vols. 64, 110, 169). She has taught journalism as a part-time lecturer at Columbia University, New York and the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Innes currently teaches English, journalism and creative writing at Brentwood School, Los Angeles.

Dina Hardy, winner of the Smartish Pace Erskine J. Poetry Prize, was also a finalist in Poets & Writers¹ California Voices Contest 2003. She lives in Burbank, California, and is the author and illustrator of Grocery Shopping with Roy Lichtenstein (Spout Graphic Press.)

Catherine Daly is a local poet and teacher who runs several local reading series (UCLA Hammer museum, B&N Westwood, B&N Glendale); Daly has written a great deal of poetry about the freeways and public transit in NY and LA, in addition to new media poems in her new book of poetry, DaDaDa (Salt Publishing, 2003) and her forthcoming book LOCKET (Tupelo Press, 2004).

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Larry Jaffe is the International Readings Coordinator for the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry undertaking, Co-Founder of Poets for Peace/United Poets Coalition and is the Poet-in-Residence/Director of Writer's Voice for the Los Angeles Ketchum Downtown YMCA. He has been featured at numerous readings and poetry festivals throughout the United States and abroad. Jaffe's work can be found in a variety of publications and anthologies. He has 5 books: Jewish Soulfood, Unprotected Poetry CD and book, Greatest Hits, Lying Half-Naked in the Doorway and L. A. Rhapsody.  

Therese M. Bachand is a poet who has resided in Los Angeles since 1983. Educated at University of California at Santa Clara, with a BA in "Classical Studies and Modern Poetry," she moved to Los Angeles after doing film-related work in the San Francisco Bay Area (Black Stallion and Lucasfilm). She volunteers extensively in literacy programs in both an elementary and high school setting. She has also worked at Beyond Baroque and Sun & Moon/Green Integer Press. Bachand is the author of three manuscripts, one of which, "luce a cavallo" won the Gertrude Stein Award for 2004 from Green Integer Press, and is forthcoming. She also been published in various journals.

Larry Colker, a San Pedro resident, has co-hosted the weekly poetry reading at Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach for five years. He was a first-place winner in the 2004 Poetry in the Windows contest sponsored by the Arroyo Arts Collective. His poetry has appeared in RATTLE, Spillway, Pearl, Solo, and in anthologies from Tebot Bach and the Valley of the Contemporary Poets.

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Elisa Pulido holds an MFA degree in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her poems have appeared in The New Welsh Review and Interchange in the UK, and in ACM and fnews in the US. She is a founder of the Casa Romantica Poetry Reading Series in San Clemente, California.

Antonieta Villamil, born in Colombia in 1962, is an international award winning poet, narrator, editor, translator, cultural activist, and author of seven books. Villamil presents her poetry in a multimedia performance.

Liz González grew up in Rialto, California, a suburb about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. She lived in Los Angeles from 1990 until 1996 when she moved to Oakland where she earned an MFA in English and Creative Writing at Mills College. Then she was awarded the 1999/2000 Writer in Residence at the Phoenix College Creative Writing Program, and she lived in Phoenix for eleven months. Beneath Bone, a volume of her poetry, was published by Manifest Press in 2000. Her poetry, fiction, and memoirs have appeared in numerous publications, including Heliotrope, Comet, So Luminous The Wildflowers: An Anthology of California Poets, ARTLIFE, Luna, Brújula<>Compass, and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was recently awarded a grant from The Elizabeth George Foundation and a residency at Hedgebrook: A Retreat for Women Writers. Since 1993, Ms. González has taught creative writing and presented her poems and stories in colleges, libraries, high schools, community centers and other venues throughout Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Phoenix. She is the editor of In Review, a book review column on, and she serves on the Los Angeles Poetry Festival organizing committee. She teaches writing at the Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus Writing and Reading Center and creative writing at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, at UCR Extension and private workshops. Currently, Ms. González lives in Long Beach with her husband and is writing a novel.

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Gloria Vando's books include Shadows and Supposes (2002, Arte Público Press, University of Houston), which won the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award and the 2003 Latino Literary Awards Best Poetry Book; Promesas: Geography of the Impossible (1993, Arte Público Press), a Walt Whitman finalist and 1994Thorpe Menn Book Award winner; and a chapbook, Caprichos (Stiletto 1989, Howling Dog Press, Denver). Other awards include River Styx International Poetry Prize; two Billee Murray Denny Poetry Prizes; Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant; a Poetry Fellowship from the Kansas Arts Commission; and the Governor's Arts Award (KS). Her work has been included in many magazines, anthologies, and textbooks, and has been presented in theatrical productions in New York City. She is editor of The Helicon Nine Reader and coeditor of Spud Songs, An Anthology of Potato Poems (to benefit Hunger Relief). Vando is founding publisher and editor of Helicon Nine Editions, a 25-year-old independent non-profit literary press. Born and reared in New York City, Vando was educated in Amsterdam, Paris, and Texas (A&M, BA in comparative literature/philosophy). In 1992, she and her husband, Bill Hickok, co-founded The Writers Place, a literary center in Kansas City.

Alicia Partnoy, poet, translator, and human rights activist, was born in Argentina. Partnoy is one of the few survivors from secret detention camps in which about 30,000 Argentineans were "disappeared." She is the author of The Little School. Tales of Disappearance and Survival in Argentina, Revenge of the Apple-Venganza de la manzana, You Can't Drown the Fire: Latin American Women Writing in Exile. ed. Pittsburgh: Cleis Press, 1988-London: Virago Press, 1989. Her work has been included in several anthologies, including: Jennifer Browdy de Hernández. Women, Writing, and Resistance In Latin America and the Caribbean Island Paschen, Elise and Fletcher Lauer, Brett. Poetry in Motion from Coast to Coast Marilyn Arnold, and others. A Chorus for Peace. A Global Anthology of Poetry by Women Dowd, Siobhan. This Prison Where I Live. The PEN Anthology of Imprisoned Writers. Cronyn, Hume, et al. Voices of Conscience. Poetry from OpressionDarr, Ann. Hungry as we are. Cavalieri, Grace. WPFW89.3FM Poetry Anthology. Partnoy, is on the Board of Directors of the PEN Center USA West, and teaches in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department of Loyola Marymount University in L.A. She is co-editor of Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social.

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Kate Durbin is an English major with a creative writing emphasis at Biola University. Currently studying poetry with accomplished poet Christopher Davidson, she is interested in projects which incorporate the community and the arts.

Karen Schumacher, most recently was awarded the Visiting Artist Fellowship Award at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she graduated with an MFA in Writing in 2003. She also holds BA's in both Theatre, and English with Honors from California State University, Northridge. She currently lives in North Hollywood and is happy to be back in California, where she looks forward to expressing all things L.A. and praising the good weather.

Michael C. Ford was born on the Illinois side of Lake Michigan. His debut spoken word recording Language Commando earned a Grammy nomination in 1986. His book of selected poems Emergency Exits was honored with a 1998 nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent volume of work is entitled Nursery Rhyme Assassin, and his newest CD is titled Fire Escapes

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J-son Wooi-chin is an immigrant from Singapore. He came to this country in 1985 as an international student at the University of Southern Mississippi.  He enrolled in some creative writing workshops, got hooked, and has been writing ever since. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including NIMROD, Mississippi Review, Pleiades, Visions-International, Northridge Review, Dominion Review, Prisms International, and Onion River Review.  Wooi Chin's first volume of poetry, Homing Pigeon, was published by the National University of Singapore in 2001. He presently teaches at Long Beach City College.

Elena Karina Byrne is a teacher, visual artist, Poetry Moderator and Consultant for the LA Times Festival of Books, and former 12 year Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America. She has served as Poetry Consultant to the Getty Research Institute (GRI) and curated the poetry reading series at The Getty Center. This year she will also run the reading series for USC's Doheny Memorial Library, and The Ruskin Art Club/Red Hen Press Poetry Series. She is one of the 2004-2005 Poetry Editors for The Los Angeles Literary Review. Her many recent publications, among others, include, The Yale Review, Chelsea, Verse, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Colorado Review, Prairie Schooner, Painted Bride Quarterly, Denver Quarterly, Volt, Hotel Amerika, The Journal, Nimrod, Poetry Daily: 366 Poems from the World's Most Popular Poetry Website and The Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry. Elena is a seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee who has won awards from the Academy of American Poets, The Chester H. Jones Foundation and the Kudzu Poetry Prize. Her first book, The Flammable Bird is available from Zoo Press. She is completing another, Masque and a collection of essays on poetry and contemporary culture entitled, Poetry and Insignificance. Elena is working with Red Car Studios on a Poetry Clip/Motion Picture Project: "Face Value."

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