Blue Mountain Review Feb. 2021

Page 30

Interview with

hilda weiss of poetry.LA By: Clifford Brooks

Introduce yourself to our readers. I am a poet, and I’m also the co-founder and curator of www.Poetry.LA. I have a chapbook, Optimism About Trees, have been nominated for a Pushcart prize and have been published in various journals.

When we started Poetry.LA (that’s: poetry dot LA), I thought it would be a good way to learn more about local poets and poetry venues. Now, I’m proud to say, we’ve turned the website into an online resource promoting the poetry scene in Southern California.

What sparked the creation of Poetry.LA? In 2007, I was doing a reading with other poets, one of whom asked my partner, Wayne Lindberg, to take some photos. Wayne was curious about YouTube which had just started in 2005. He thought videos of poets in performance posted to YouTube would be interesting.

We started our video project by taping open mic poets at that same venue, Redondo Poets at Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach, California, and moved on from there to many other venues and featured poets throughout Southern California.

How does Poetry.LA stand out among other literary groups? We are a video gallery of poets in Southern California which anyone can access at www.Poetry.LA. •

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We have videos from more than 60 poetry venues and reading series, we’ve videotaped more than 500 poets and have over 600 videos posted including 4 U.S. Poet Laureates (Juan Felipe Herrera, Natasha Trethewey, Kay Ryan and Rita Dove) and 3 LA Poet Laureates (Eloise Klein Healy, Luis Rodriguez and Robin Coste Lewis). We have several interview series that focus on poets’ experience and craft as well as on individual poems with interviewers such as Mariano Zaro and Lisa Grove. We also have a dramatic film/poetry noir series called They Write by Night, hosted by the well-known poet and educator, Suzanne Lummis.

Essentially, we are presenting poets performing in Southern California and giving them a wide internet audience. You could say we’re both promoting and archiving the poetry scene in So Cal.