Visit the author's web log for his latest
opinions, poems, news, information on book
tours, speaking engangements, and much more!
Name's Not Rodriguez, LJR's spoken
word/music CD is in its second printing
- and it's now available at Bestbuy,
Tower Records, and Cdbaby.com. Details here.
account of his coming of age is vivid, raw, fierce,
and fearless. Here's truth no television set burning
night and day, could ever begin to offer.
-Gary Soto, New York
Times Book Review
proven commitment to healing and justice for his
community gives his writing authenticity and thus
Luis Rodriguez, for the beauty of a strong singular
-Piri Thomas, author of
Down These Mean Streets
J. Rodriguez's new memoir, the sequel to "Always
Running," will be released in October of 2011 by
Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster. The book is entitled
"It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction,
Revolutions, and Healing" (ISBN 978-1-4165-8416-2;
hardcover; $24.99). Please go to Luis's Events
page on this website to get information on future
readings, talks, and book signings, including for
the new book. For ordering information from Touchstone
Books, please call 1-800-223-2336. Audio books of
"It Calls You Back" as well as "Always Running"
are now available at Dreamscape.com
can order books and tapes at amazon.com, indiebound.com,
or any other book outlet in the Internet or in your
neighborhood. Please support independent booksellers
whenever you can. If you want to order these through
Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore, the cultural
space and bookstore my wife and I helped create in the
San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles, go to www.tiachucha.com.
this brilliantly jagged sequel to the gang-life classic,
Always Running (1994), acclaimed journalist, poet and
fiction writer Rodriguez (Music of the Mill, 2005, etc.)
chronicles his struggle to leave behind a drug- and
crime-ridden world that always threatened to 'call him
back.' An acute political consciousness and powerful
love of the written word ultimately saved the author
from the lurking dangers of the street and the 'nothing
life' to which most Latinos in East Los Angeles were
leading a thankless working-class existence that amounted
to little more than 'despair on the fast track,' Rodriguez
landed in a training program for minority journalists
at UC-Berkeley. '[A]s a reporter,' he writes, 'I could
help right the wrongs, accomplish something long lasting
with what I was being given. Now truth and the full
picture could bleed from the pen or a camera, not from
a gun.' But the way forward was as difficult as it was
anguished. At every turn, Rodriguez had to face not
only a troubled past that still beckoned to him, but
also his own personal demons: alcoholism, heroine addiction
and a violent temper that indiscriminately 'roll[ed]
over people, family, friends, kids, [and] enemies.'
overcame his darker urgings, but not without revisiting
them through his eldest son, who became tragically entangled
in the 'web' Rodriguez had escaped. Yet it was this
very crisis that brought him into more authentic alignment
with himself as it drew him closer to a family and community
that, for all its 'diversity and antagonisms,' he could
not help but love. Raw, searing reading from start to
you can see Luis J. Rodriguez speak on "Always Running"
and his new memoir, "It Calls You Back," from Studio
4/Simon & Schuster:
met a fella named Luis Rodriguez, a writer and a poet,
who had a cultural center in Los Angeles. These are
people I've known and worked with for a long time. These
are the people trying to fill the holes that should
long ago have been filled by government. Those are the
people who give me optimism. They're relentlessly hopeful,
and they face it all on the front lines on a daily basis."
Bruce Springsteen from Rolling Stone magazine, Nov.
My wife Trini Rodriguez, our friend Bruce Springsteen,
and Luis Rodriguez backstage at the Los Angeles Sports
Arena, April 2009.
a reading by Luis J. Rodriguez of an excerpt from "Always
Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.",
latinopia.com. That website
also has a page of Luis J. Rodriguez "In
His Own Words".
Luis was part of an Amici Curiae brief to arguments
for ending juvenile life without parole sentencing in
front of the US Supreme on November 9, 2009. Along with
other notable youth offenders who have changed their
lives after being given second changes (in some cases
fourth or fifth chances) such as actor Charles S. Dutton,
former US Senator Alan Simpson, and others, Luis' story
will be included in support of petitioners Terrance
Jamar Graham and Joe Harris Sullivan, both of Florida.
Our hope is to overturn these laws that throw away our
youth, rather than providing all the necessary resources
to help turn their lives around. Visit www.endjlwop.org/
for more information.
Wonder and Luis Rodriguez during Stevie's show on Thursday,
July 31, 2008 on KJLH-FM, 102.3, Los Angeles. Luis talked
about current issues and even sang Marvin Gaye's "What's
Going On" with Stevie on keyboards.
ABC's Vista L.A.covered Tia Chucha's Cultural Center
in their Sept. 13, 2009 broadcast.
On Friday, Jan. 1, 2010, NBC Nightly News with Brian
Williams broadcast a short segment on the life and work
of Luis J. Rodriguez.
J. Rodriguez is known for visiting prisons, juvenile
facilities, universities, college, public & private
schools, homeless shelters, Native American reservations,
conferences, and more throughout the U.S., Latin America,
Japan, and Europe. He often addresses issues of violence,
gangs, community building, the arts, and poetry, among
others, in his travels. Here are two pieces by Erica
Marrero on Luis's recent visit to Chihuahua City and
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico:
Chucha Press is one of this country's best loved small
presses. Now the publishing wing of Tia Chucha's Centro
Cultural & Bookstore (www.tiachucha.com),
the press was founded almost twenty-five years ago by
Luis J. Rodriguez in Chicago with the publication of
his award-winning first book of poetry, "Poems Across
the Pavement." He has since published the works of Chicanos,
Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, African Americans, Jamaican
Americans, Native Americans, Japanese Americans, Filipino
Americans, Korean Americans, Irish Americans, Italian
Americans... a truly cross cultural literary experience.
authors include those who later became Pulitzer Prize
nominees as well as winners of a National Book Award,
Poetry Slams, a Whiting Writers Award, Lannan Fellowships,
National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Lila
Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers Award, a USA Arts fellowship,
and more. These poets include President Obama's inaugural
poet Elizabeth Alexander as well as Patricia Smith,
Diane Glancy, Terrance Hayes, A. Van Jordan, Ricardo
Sanchez, Kyoko Mori, Nick Carbo, Lisa Buscani, Tony
Fitzpatrick, Luivette Resto, Patricia Spears Jones,
Chiwan Choi, and many others. The most recent books
are "The Shallow End of Sleep" by Jose Antonio Rodriguez
and "The Armageddon of Funk" by Michael Warr.
the spring of 2012, Tia Chucha Press will produce its
first non-poetry book called "Rushing Waters, Rising
Dreams: How the Arts Are Transforming a Community,"
edited by Denise M. Sandoval and Luis J. Rodriguez,
on twenty years of arts development and growth in the
Northeast San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles--the
second largest Mexican community in the U.S (funded
in part by the L.A. County Arts Commission). You can
order Tia Chucha Press books at www.tiachucha,com or
through our national distributor Northwestern University
Press at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-621-2736.