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Acclaimed Chicano poet, novelist, children’s book author, and journalist Luis J. Rodriguez tells the story of his childhood as a gang member in the national bestseller Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. This vivid memoir explores gang life and cautions against the death and destruction that haunts its participants. A New York Times Notable Book, Always Running was named one of the nation’s one hundred most-censored titles by the American Library Association due to its frank depictions of gang life.
Rodriguez is the author of several collections of poetry including My Nature is Hunger: New and Selected Poems, 1989–2004 and Borrowed Bones: New Poems from the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. He has won a Poetry Center Book Award, Paterson Poetry Prize, PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and was honored with a Lannan Fellowship for poetry. In 2014, Rodriguez was appointed Los Angeles Poet Laureate. His books for children, América Is Her Name and It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way: A Barrio Story, were published in English and Spanish and have won several prizes including a Parents’ Choice Award. Rodriguez is also the author of Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, and a novel, Music of the Mill. He is coeditor of Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams: How the Arts Are Transforming a Community with Denise M. Sandoval, which was honored by the Independent Publisher Book Awards. In 1993, Rodriguez Rodriguez received the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize in journalism with photojournalist Donna De Cesare for their coverage of Salvadoran gang youth in Los Angeles and El Salvador.