Eloise Klein Healy Named First Poet Laureate of the City of Los Angeles

Posted on December 8, 2012

The city of Los Angeles now has its own poet laureate. The Los Angeles Times reports that Eloise Klein Healy, 69, has been appointed as the city's first poet laureate. Healy is professor emerita at Antioch University Los Angeles and the co-founder of Eco-Arts. She has published six books of poetry.

She accepted the appointment from Mayor Antonio Villaraigoisa during a ceremony yesterday at the downtown central library. Villaraigoisa quoting former New York Governor Mario Cuomo during the presentation saying, "One of our most beloved governors ... once said famously, 'You campaign in poetry, and you govern in prose.' Today, we're here to govern in poetry."

The position lasts for one year and pays $10,000. Healy will act as an ambassador for literary art and will travel to schools and various neighborhoods to promote literacy and poetry. At the ceremony Healy read from one of her poems, "Artemis in Echo Park." She wrote the poem when she lived in Echo Park and was inspired when she backed out of her driveway onto the asphalt trail:

This is a trail, even under asphalt.
Every street downtown cuts through adobe
and the concrete wears like a curve
of a bowl baking on a patio or the sway of a brick wall
drying in the sun.
The life before cement is ghosting up
through roadways that hooves and water
have worn into existence forever.

You can read more about Professor Healy's life and poetry at her website.