On the parking lot next to the Cypress Park Home Depot, in the shadow of an elevated section of the 5 Freeway, the Cypress Park Community Job Center usually draws a crowd of day laborers seeking work. This morning, however, the center attracted a group of poets and musicians to take part in an outdoor poetry reading as part of Poesia Para La Gente, a program that brings poetry readings to non-traditional places, such as a laundromat, taco shop and now a day laborer hiring site.
“What we’re also hoping to do is to bring the [poets] to the areas of North East L.A. that they wouldn’t usually find a need to visit,” said Jessica Ceballos of Posia Para La Gente, which is presented by Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park. “Some of the locations we choose have been affected, in one way or another, by economical hardship or various forms of social stigmas.”
Today’s program, titled Poesia Under The Freeway, was to have included Iris De Anda, David Romero, Abel Salas, Matt Sedillo and Julio the Conga Poet, according to information distributed in advance of the reading.
“The voices of the community have not gone unheard, and when spoken through the art of poetry — the message is louder, stronger and transcendent,” said Ceballos in a statement.
Martha Benedict is a photographer and resident of Montecito Heights. Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis stories, reviews and photos at Smashed Chair.