Writer, urban activist Luis Rodriguez to present next University Lecture, April 4
Writer, urban activist Luis Rodriguez to present next University Lecture, April 4March 29, 2006Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Luis J. Rodriguez has emerged as one of the nation’s leading Chicano writers with eight books of memoir, children’s literature and poetry in print. Such prolific output is all the more remarkable in light of the violent and impoverished world in which this writer grew up–though in many ways, Rodriguez’s passion for literature is what saved him from becoming a victim of this brutal environment. The lessons learned in his transformation from gang member to artist are central to Rodriguez’s University Lectures presentation, “Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times.” The lecture, scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel, is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the Irving Avenue parking garage.
Rodriguez’s poetry has won a Poetry Center Book Award, a PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award and Foreward magazine’s Silver Book Award, among others. His two children’s books have won a Patterson Young Adult Book Award, two Skipping Stones Honor Awards and a Parent’s Choice Book Award, among others.
Rodriguez achieved national prominence for his 1993 memoir of gang life, “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.” (Curbstone Press), which was written as a cautionary tale for Rodriguez’s then-15-year-old son Ramiro. An accomplished poet, Rodriguez is the author of three collections of poetry: “Poems Across the Pavement” (Tia Chucha Press, 1989), “The Concrete River” (Curbstone Press, 1991), and “Trochemoche” (Curbstone Press, 1998). His books for children, “America is Her Name” (Curbstone Press, 1998) and “It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way: A Barrio Story” (Children’s Book Press, 1999), are published in both English and Spanish. His first novel, Music of the Mill (Rayo Books/Harper Collins) will be published May 1.
Rodriguez has helped establish a number of ground-breaking community organizations, including Chicago’s Guild Complex, one of the largest literary arts organizations in the Midwest, and Youth Struggling for Survival, a Chicago-based not-for-profit community group working with gang and non-gang youth.
The University Lectures is a cross-disciplinary lecture series that brings to the University individuals of exceptional accomplishment in the areas of architecture and design; the humanities and the sciences; and public policy, management and communications. The series is supported by the generosity of the University’s Trustees, alumni and friends. More information about University Lectures is available at http://provost.syr.edu/lectures/current.asp.