Seven Stories Press, 2020
Agent: Elise Capron
Essays on race, culture, and identity, Native Americans, the Xicanx community, and more from the prolific writer, activist, bookseller, and LA's Poet Laureate.
Luis J. Rodriguez writes about race, culture, identity, and belonging and what these all mean and should mean (but often fail to) in the volatile climate of our nation. Rodriguez has a distinctly inspiring passion and wisdom in his approach. Ultimately, the book carries the message that we must come together if we are to move forward. As he reminds us in the first essay, “The End of Belonging”: “I’m writing as a Native person. I’m writing as a poet. I’m writing as a revolutionary working class organizer and thinker who has traversed life journeys from which incredible experiences, missteps, plights, and victories have marked the way. ...I belong anywhere.” The pieces in From Our Land to Our Land capture that same fantastic energy and wisdom and will spark conversation and inspiration.
• Featured in the Los Angeles Times
• Publishers Weekly Fall 2019 Top 10 Essays & Literary Criticism picks
“A distinguished Mexican American writer meditates on the place of Xicanx culture in what he sees as a sick and increasingly fragmented global society. …Powerful from start to finish, Rodriguez’s book celebrates Xicanx culture and wisdom while calling for much-needed global healing. …A thoughtful and radically provocative collection.”
“Rodriguez's essays, like his poetry and fiction, emphasize the experiences of Indigenous and Xicanx peoples in a United States that too often is, at best, indifferent to them. …A work of revolutionary empathy.”
"Luis Rodríguez is a poet prophet for our times."
—Sandra Cisneros, author of A House of My Own: Stories From My Life
"Former Los Angeles Poet Laureate, Luis J. Rodriguez reflects on a lifetime of experiences, wisdom and healing, illuminating the intersections of the personal, spiritual, and historical. His is the 'story of the ‘other’ Los Angeles,' a love song to the city, Xicanx culture, its influence around the world, and the spirit of revolution full of risk, but also one full of triumph. He says 'this is not about avoiding trouble, it’s about getting into the right kind of trouble.' A poet at heart, Rodriguez rightly claims that 'as long as the world needs changing, we’ll need poetry.' There is still much left to change and the captivating work contained here is a testament to the possibilities of our will to make a difference."
—Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, author of Children of the Land
"In a climate fraught with division and increased in-fighting amidst the tension, From Our Land to Our Land is a welcome and generous call to recognize the myriad gifts peoples across the world have contributed to our present and celebrate that which we share in order to imagine where we as a society go from here. Tracing connections between language, cultures, and how one chooses to identify, whether Native or non-Native, to current social, environmental, and political concerns, Luis J. Rodriguez reminds us there are healers still at work in this world, and yes, poets walk among them."
—Abigail Chabitnoy, author of How to Dress a Fish