GuerrillaReads No. 94: Ian Brennan

Ian Brennan is probably best known as a Grammy-winning producer, working with acts that include Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Tinariwen, Lucinda Williams and David Hidalgo (Los Lobos). Some folks also know him as the author of three books (and a fourth one coming soon).

Brennan’s most recent novella, Sister Maple Syrup Eyes, is a fictionalized account of a man who survives his partner’s rape. It’s something Brennan knows about from a very personal experience.

At age 21, Brennan’s life was forever changed when his first love was raped. He describes his experience this way:

I knew full well that the trauma I’d experienced was infinitesimal compared to hers. Yet, nonetheless, it was still devastating and changed the course of my entire life. The one thing I was determined to do was to try to produce something good from that bad, a celebration and memorial of what was, and that if it leant some small healing to even one person, it was somehow worth the while to help tip the scales however insignificantly back towards sanity.

Brennan has gone on to train people in violence prevention, anger-management, and conflict resolution at shelters, schools, hospitals, clinics, jails and drug-treatment centers across the US and in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This book delves more deeply, exploring the experience of the other victim of rape.

Watch Brennan’s guerrilla reading here, and learn more about the book.



GuerrillaReads No. 93: Norman Molesko

Norman Molesko is LA’s own “young oldie” poet. He’s an ambassador for seniors, and he’s currently working his second-half-of-life-career in the Senior-Advocacy-Through-Poetry-Program (SATPP), in partnership with the Los Angeles Poet Society.

True to form, Molesko read his poetry at the 2015 LitCrawl in Los Angeles at the NoHo Red Line Metro stop. Think you can keep up with this guy? Go ahead, give it a try!

GuerrillaReads No. 92: Juan Cardenas

The Los Angeles Poet Society was out in force at the 2015 LitCrawl in Los Angeles. They read and recited their poetry at the North Hollywood red line Metro station. GuerrillaReads caught Juan Cardenas on camera while we were there.

Cardenas is a poet, drummer and classically trained flautist, as well as a bilingual educator with California Poets in the Schools. He was born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, crossed the desert with his family at the young age of 10, and was raised in the north San Fernando Valley. Here he reads a poem about his first-hand experiences, Border Truth Number 170.

Look for guerrilla readings from three more LAPS poets at the LitCrawl – coming soon!

GuerrillaReads No. 91: Ifalade TaShia Asanti

Ifalade TaShia Asanti is a poet, performer and seer. In her poem, Sistah I Sing For You, she writes

i drum at sunrise for the common ancestors that walk with us
for the garbage in our oceans
wombs of broken glass
trust crushed in seas of betrayal

GuerrillaReads caught up with Asanti at LA’s first ever Blk Grrrl Book Fair where she did a guerrilla reading of her poem The Oracle. Learn more about her on her website.

GuerrillaReads No. 90: Savannah Mae Jenkins

Watch out, 50 Shades of Grey, here comes Fluid: Out of Darkness Comes Light, a collection of grown and sexy stories about the locomotive power contained in the 7th chakra. In this guerrilla reading, Savannah Mae Jenkins, who co-authored the book with Tiffany Maxwell, gives us just a taste of what’s inside the covers. It’s the first mildly NSFW reading I’ve ever posted to GuerrillaReads, so watch at your own risk – you might get scalded.

GuerrillaReads No. 89: Peter J. Harris

Peter J. Harris is an African American cultural worker who has published poetry, essays, and fiction in a wide range of national publications since the 1970s. He has worked as a publisher, journalist, editor and broadcaster. He’s also been an educator, and workshop leader for adults and adolescents.

Harris’s work often explores the lives of Black men, and this guerrilla reading is no exception. GR caught up with him at the Blk Grrrl Book Fair in South Central LA, where he read from his latest book, The Black Man of Happiness.

GuerrillaReads No. 88: Charles Degelman

Charles Degelman has been an antiwar activist, political theater artist, musician, communard, carpenter, hard-rock miner, and itinerant gypsy trucker, and eventually grew up to be a writer, editor, and educator living in Los Angeles.

He recently returned to his guerrilla roots for this reading of his new novel, A Bowl Full of Nails, set in the counterculture of the 1970s. Nails was a finalist in the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, founded by Barbara Kingsolver. It will be published by Harvard Square Editions in February 2015.

Degelman teaches writing and media studies at California State University, Los Angeles. You can find out more at his website.