I may have mentioned this before, but when I lived in Los Angeles I enjoyed some time on the fringes of their thriving poetry scene. One of the poets I got to know out there, whose work I have always loved for its humor and ever-increasing excellence over the years, is Rick Lupert. He has published something like a kajillion books of poetry — all of them so much fun to read — and he created and maintains the Poetry Super Highway and Haikuniverse, two websites every lover of poetry should get to know well.
I’m also really grateful to Rick for making a space in his town for this Houston girl to spend her summers reading her poetry in very cool bookstores and libraries. Props to him also for handling with major defusive charm one of the most obnoxious drunk heckling dudebros I’ve ever encountered in a physical (i.e. not online) public space before, one July twilight at a café reading in the valley.
This poem of his is coming out this May in a collection entitled Hunka Hunka Howdee!
The Mississippi Delta is Shining Like a National Guitar
I’ve never woken up in Memphis before and already
there’s a hangover of sorts. I’m going to need the day
to flush out Los Angeles. First on the docket is
buying a postcard with a picture of ducks on it.
Second, breakfast at a place that chases the sun.
The amount of humidity is fist fighting with the
available oxygen, and we’re putting on all the
loose clothing. We’re detaching our hair from
our heads. We’ve got biscuits in our future,
Addie just wants to rock and roll all night, which
is a hell of thing to see this early in the morning.
We are going to Graceland.
Rick Lupert has been involved with poetry in Los Angeles since 1990. He is the recipient of the 2017 Ted Slade Award, and the 2014 Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Distinguished Service Award, a 3-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, and a Best of the Net nominee. He served as a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets for 2 years, and created Poetry Super Highway. Rick hosted the weekly Cobalt Cafe reading for almost 21 years. His spoken word album Rick Lupert Live and Dead featured 25 studio and live tracks. He’s authored 23 collections of poetry, including Hunka Hunka Howdee! and God Wrestler (Rothco Press) and edited the anthologies A Poet’s Siddur, Ekphrastia Gone Wild, A Poet’s Haggadah, and the noir anthology The Night Goes on All Night. He also writes and draws (with Brendan Constantine) the daily web comic “Cat and Banana” and writes the poetry column “From the Lupertverse” for JewishJournal.com. He has been lucky enough to read his poetry all over the world. You can also find him online at http://facebook.com/rickpoet and http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ricklupert.