Capital & Main and Beyond Baroque Launch Poets on the Beat

Capital & Main and Beyond Baroque Launch Poets on the Beat

The overwhelming volume of news can leave us numb. That’s where poets come to the rescue with fresh language and new ways of seeing. The poet Adrienne Rich said politically engaged poetry is not a “healing lotion.” Rather, such poems are good for “reaching into us for what’s still passionate.”

For “Poets on the Beat,” a new series launched on June 12, Capital & Main and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center have commissioned six distinguished California poets to write short essays that link poetry to social and political themes. The authors harness the poetry of the past and present to provide new perspectives on topics such as climate change, growing inequality, the immigrant experience, and police violence.

Each article is accompanied by audio or video of the poets reading their poems and original art. In the first installment, “Despite the Losses, the Singing Continues,” former Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez reflects on his personal journey from millwright to poet and the changing nature of work. He uses poetry—his own and that of others—to illuminate the joys and sorrows of blue-collar labor.

In the coming months, “Poets on the Beat” will feature essays from Shonda Buchanan, Sesshu Foster, California Poet Laureate Lee Herrick, Suzanne Lummis, and former Los Angeles Poet Laureate Lynne Thompson. In the fall, Capital & Main and Beyond Baroque will host a live event, bringing together contributors from this project and other writers to celebrate the capacity of poetry to help us find what’s still passionate.

Listen, read, and watch the first installment of “Poets on the Beat” HERE.