Poets for Climate Action: A Reading and Call for Change

Five celebrated poets and a legendary actor read poems in support of climate action and political change.

Powerful voices in poetry from Los Angeles and across the country, together with a celebrated elder statesman of the L.A. stage, come together to draw attention to the environmental crisis facing us. Readers include Kingsley-Tufts Award winner Patricia Smith; Texas Poet Laureate Emmy Pérez; Marsha Hawk Poetry Prize winner Lynne Thompson; Ovation Award-winning actor Alan Mandell; and the hosts of the program, COLA Fellow Suzanne Lummis & Director of the Literary Southwest Jim Natal.

On November 3rd, vote for survival—for ourselves, the land, the sea, and the planet.

Presented by Beyond Baroque and The Los Angeles Poetry Festival in collaboration with our community partner, Poetry Flash.

Our event is free, but please consider donating to:

This program will be present live via Zoom and Facebook Live. Audience members will be sent a Zoom link after registering.

Suzanne Lummis was a 2018/19 COLA (City of Los Angeles) fellow, an endowment from Cultural Affairs to influential artists and writers to enable them to create new bodies of work. She presented her politically engaged mega-poem, "Tweets from Hell" (the stanzas composed within Twitter windows) at Grand Performances in Downtown L.A., and at a gala night at Beyond Baroque. Poetry.la produces her YouTube series, They Write by Night, exploring film noir and poets influenced by that style and sensibility. Her poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Hotel Amerika, The Antioch Review, New Ohio Review, Plume and The New Yorker. She is the series editor of the Pacific Coast Poetry Series imprint of Beyond Baroque Books

Alan Mandell has had a distinguished 80-year acting career and is an accomplished voice-over actor. He is a founding member of the San Francisco Actor’s Workshop and co-founder of the San Quentin Drama Workshop, which started with a performance of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot inside the prison. Mandell toured with original productions of Godot and Endgame directed by Beckett. He re-created Beckett’s direction for the filming of Endgame and also performed in Endgame at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre and in London and Italy and most recently at the Kirk Douglas Theater. He has been a producer on and off Broadway, general manager of the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, consulting director at Los Angeles Theater Company and taught at UCLA’s Graduate School of Management. Winner of many awards including several Los Angeles Ovation Awards.

Jim Natal is the author of five collections of poems including Spare Room: Haibun Variations and Memory and Rain. A multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee, he is the founding director of The Literary Southwest literary series and co-founder of indie publisher Conflux Press.

Emmy Pérez, Texas Poet Laureate 2020, is the author of With the River on Our Face (U of Arizona Press) and Solstice (Swan Scythe Press). A volume of her New and Selected Poems is forthcoming from TCU Press. She is the recipient of a 2020 Poets Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, and the 2019 Modesta Avila Award from LibroMobile in her hometown, Santa Ana, California. Currently, she is Professor of Creative Writing and Associate Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Patricia Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Award, the 2017 LA Times Book Prize, the 2018 NAACP Image Award and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; and Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist. She is a Guggenheim fellow, an NEA grant recipient, a former fellow at Civitella Ranieri, Yaddo and MacDowell, a Cave Canem and Sierra Nevada University faculty member and a Distinguished Professor for the City University of New York.

Lynne Thompson is the author of Start With a Small Guitar, Beg No Pardon, winner of the Perugia Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award, and Fretwork, selected by Jane Hirshfield for the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize. The recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles, her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, New England Review, december, Colorado Review, and Best American Poetry 2020.