Luis J. Rodriguez

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General Information

Name: Luis J. Rodriguez

Pen Name: None

Born: July 9, 1954 in El Paso, Texas



Illinois Connection

Rodriguez moved to Chicago in 1985 and lived there until 2000.

Biographical and Professional Information

Luis Rodriguez is a poet, lecturer, and journalist. He has published articles, reviews and poetry in numerous journals and newspapers. His work has won several awards, and he is recognized as a major figure of contemporary Chicano literature. His best-known work, Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A., is the recipient of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, among others, and has been the subject of controversy when included on reading lists in California, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas schools due to its frank depictions of gang life. Rodriguez has also founded or co-founded numerous organizations, including the Tía Chucha Press, which publishes the work of unknown writers, Tía Chucha's Centro Cultural, a San Fernando Valley cultural center, and the Chicago-based Youth Struggling for Survival, an organization for at-risk youth.

Published Works

  • Poems Across the Pavement, Tia Chucha Press, 1989
  • The Concrete River, Curbstone Press, 1991
  • Always Running, La Vida Loca--Gang Days in L.A., Curbstone Press, 1998
  • America Is Her Name (for Children), Curbstone Press, 1998
  • Trochemoche, New Poems, Curbstone Press, 1998
  • It Doesn`t Have to Be This Way, A Barrio Story (for Children), Children`s Press, 1999
  • The Republic of East L.A., Stories, Rayo/Harper Collins, 2002
  • Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, Seven Stories Press, 2003
  • Music of the Mill: A Novel, Rayo/Harper Collins, 2004
  • My Nature is Hunger: New & Selected Poems, Curbstone Press/ Rattle Edition, 2005

Titles for Purchase and at Your Library

Literary Awards

Always Running, La Vida Loca, The Gang Days in L.A.

  • Carl Sandburg Literary Award, 1993
  • Chicago Sun Times Book Award, 1993

Other Awards:

  • Poetry Center Book Award, San Francisco State University, 1989
  • PEN Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence, 1991 & 2003
  • National Association for Poetry Therapy Public Service Award, 1997
  • Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature, 1998
  • Patterson Prize for Books for Young Adults, Foreward magazine's Silver Book Award and Parents' Choice Books for Children Award. 1999
  • Illinois Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 2000
  • Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Wisdom in Action, 2001

Speaking Engagements and Upcoming Appearances

Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes, contact:

Susan Bergholz Literary Services

17 West 10th Street #5

New York, New York 10011

External Links

Luis J. Rodriguez on WorldCat


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