For My Ashes
There will be no further poems from us—
it’s all here now,
the collected Lummis
[first published in One for the Money: The Sentence as a Poetic Form—A Poetry Workshop Handbook and Anthology (Lynx House Press)]
Recently Facebook introduced me to someone with whom I share a few hundred “friends.” This is not unusual, since a huge percentage of my connections are from the field of publishing and other arts. But what caught my eye was that we shared a connection with Carlos Palomino. Carlos is a retired boxing champion, a good man with a scholarly intellect—but not a writer. I have a fairly large network of friends from the world of boxing, mostly because of my boxing essays and my friendship with Jeff Bumpus (Becoming Taz: Writing from the Southpaw Stance). But rarely do those twains meet, so I was intrigued. After a polite hello, I was introduced to a poem. I liked it. Very much. Impulsively I sent the poet a link to Canopic Jar and asked if we might include her as a Featured Voice. Fortunately for us, she agreed.
Canopic has been known to utter phrases such as “lead with the art,” so I’m pleased to say that Suzanne Lummis leads with the art. Thing is, I was drawn in by one poem, but that’s just a beginning. I feel as though with this Featured Voice I’ve casually tapped into a gold-bearing vein. And I’m not alone. Turns out that there are quite a few folks besides King Carlos who are familiar with the work of Suzanne Lummis. In addition to the poems Suzanne has graciously shared with us, a quick online search will reveal many avenues to pursue. Truly, I’m just getting started, and I’m having a blast.
As writer, poet and influential teacher with the UCLA Extension Writers program, Suzanne Lummis is among the best-known figures in the Los Angeles literary community. She was among the principal avatars of the Los Angeles and Long Beach based movement of the 90s, Stand-up Poetry, and, through her poems and essays, is associated with the Poem Noir, a sensibility influenced by the dark themes, chiseled beauty and striking dialogue of the black and white crime movies of the 40s and 50s. Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, Antioch Review, Ploughshares, New Ohio Review, Plume, The American Journal of Poetry and The New Yorker. Her most recent collection, Open 24 Hours, won the Blue Poetry Prize and was published by Lynx House Press. Suzanne edited Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series/Beyond Baroque Books), one The Los Angeles Times’ Ten Best Books of 2015.