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

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

Biographical and Professional Information

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

Poems across the Pavement

ISBN: 0962428701
Release Date: 2014-04-01

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The Concrete River: Poems

ISBN: 0915306425
Release Date: 1995-07-01

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Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.

ISBN: 0743276914
Release Date: 2005-10-04

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América Is Her Name

ISBN: 1880684403
Release Date: 1998-04-01

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Trochemoche: Poems by Luis Rodriguez

ISBN: 1439502366
Release Date: 2008-06-26

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It Doesn't Have to Be This Way/No tiene que ser asi: A Barrio Story/Una historia del barrio

ISBN: 0892392037
Release Date: 2004-06-25

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The Republic of East L.a.: Stories

ISBN: 1435297881
Release Date: 2008-06-05

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Hearts and Hands: Making Peace in a Violent Time

ISBN: 1583222634
Release Date: 2001-09-09

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Music of the Mill: A Novel

ISBN: 0060560770
Release Date: 2006-02-28

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My Nature is Hunger: New and Selected Poems, 1989 – 2004

ISBN: 1931896240
Release Date: 2005-09-01

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Literary Awards

  • Poetry Center Book Award, San Francisco State University in 1989
  • PEN Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence in 1991 & 2003
  • Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Always Running, La Vida Loca, The Gang Days in L.A. and Chicago Sun Times Book Award in 1993
  • National Association for Poetry Therapy Public Service Award in 1997
  • Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature in 1998
  • Patterson Prize for Books for Young Adults, Foreward magazine's Silver Book Award and Parents' Choice Books for Children Award in 1999
  • Illinois Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and Americas Award for Children and Young Adult Literature Commended Title in 2000
  • Unsung Heros of Compassion Award presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Wisdom in Action in 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

Luis J. Rodriguez on Amazon

Luis J. Rodriguez on Wikipedia


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