MFA Founding Chair Eloise Klein Healy Is Los Angeles’ first Poet Laureate

eloiseEloise Klein Healy, the founding chair of AULA’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, was named the first Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles. Healy will serve as Poet Laureate for a two-year term, from November, 2012 until October, 2014, during which time she will visit schools, give readings, write one or more commemorative poems about Los Angeles, and act as the official ambassador of Los Angeles’ vibrant poetry and literary culture.

“It comes as no surprise that the first Poet Laureate of Los Angeles is Eloise Klein Healy, the author of Passing and the founder of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles,” says Steve Heller AULA’s current MFA program chair. “Over the last twenty-plus years, no one has done more for poets and poetry in the City of Angels than Eloise.”

In his announcement of the appointment, Mayor Villaraigosa noted, “…Eloise Klein Healy’s work highlight[s] the truly innovative and imaginative nature of our City’s literary genius. I am proud to have her serve as the Ambassador to our City’s vibrant poetry and literary culture.”

In addition to being the founding chair of AULA’s MFA program, Healy won the inaugural Horace Mann Award and is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Emerita.

Eloise Klein Healy has published five books of poetry and a chapbook. Her collection of poems, Passing, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Poetry and the Audre Lorde Lesbian Poetry Prize from the Publishing Triangle. Healy has also received the Grand Prize of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival and has received six Pushcart Prize nominations. Healy was involved in the Woman’s Building, the well-known West Coast feminist cultural center, throughout the 1970s and 1980s in various capacities including teacher and Board of Directors member. She is the founding editor of Arktoi Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press that was established in 2006 to publish literary works of high quality by lesbian writers. She is resident faculty at the Idyllwild Summer Poetry Workshop and a founding partner of Eco-Arts LLC.

Healy’s appointment as Poet Laureate coincides with the beginning of the 32nd MFA residency at the Antioch University Los Angeles campus. The program was founded in 1997 as the nation’s first low-residency creative writing program on the West Coast and is the world’s only MFA program specifically devoted to literature and the pursuit of social justice.