December 7, 2012

MFA Founding Chair Eloise Klein Healy Named First Poet Laureate for City of Los Angeles

Healy is the Founding Chair of the MFA in Creative Writing Program and Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Emerita at Antioch University Los Angeles

Los Angeles, Calif., December 7, 2012— Eloise 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 Angelesby Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa Friday, December 7, 2012 at the Los Angeles Downtown Public Library. 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. 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.

“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 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.”

Healy being named Poet Laureate coincides with the beginning of  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. Rather than focusing exclusively on the completion of a single book-length final manuscript, AULA’s MFA program educates students in the various roles of the writer in society, and how to make a difference on the page and in the diverse communities where writers work and live.

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.”

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.

Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa announced the creation of the City of Los Angeles’ first Poet Laureate Program in August of 2012 in collaboration with the Los Angeles City Council, the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships, and the Department of Cultural Affairs. The selection process was overseen by a Poet Laureate Task Force which was appointed by Mayor Villaraigosa.Most U.S. states have poet laureates as well as cities including Boston, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Fe, N.M.

About Antioch University Los Angeles

Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) provides a rigorous progressive education to prepare students for the complexities of today’s diverse societies. AULA, a not-for-profit institution and part of the Antioch University system, has served the greater Los Angeles area for 40 years. The core values of social justice, service to the community and lifelong learning lie at the heart of the BA degree completion program and master’s degree programs in Organizational Management, Education and Teacher Credentialing, Psychology, Creative Writing, and Urban Sustainability.

Inspired by the work of pioneering educator Horace Mann, Antioch University provides learner-centered education to empower students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. With campuses in Keene, New Hampshire, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Seattle, and Yellow Springs, Ohio, Antioch University is a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education. The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.