September 19, 2017

Luis Rodriguez discusses “Creating Community in Troubled Times”

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A community and urban peace activist who also happens to be a former poet laureate of Los Angeles visits Southern Illinois University Carbondale to talk about “Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Troubled Times.” 

Luis Rodriguez will deliver his talk at 7 p.m. on Sept. 26 in the SIU Student Center, Ballroom D. A book signing and reception immediately follows his lecture. 

Rodriguez is a leading Chicano writer with 15 books of poetry, children’s literature, fiction and nonfiction to his credit. He is also a community and urban peace activist, mentor, healer and youth and arts advocate. Finally, he is a former street gang member. 

Rodriguez’ tale of healing through art, inspired by a mentor who was a youth worker at a local community center, and his message of how to find peace, is one he has told at universities and prisons, migrant camps and conferences, libraries and homeless shelters all over this country as well as in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe and Japan. 

His books include “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.,” which has sold nearly 500,000 copies; “It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions and Healing, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; and “Hears and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times.” His most recent collection of poetry, “Borrowed Bones,” is available from Curbstone Books, part of Northwestern University Press. 

Rodriguez will also lead a poetry workshop at 11 a.m. on Sept. 27 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library.

The University Honors Program sponsors Rodriguez’ visit to SIU. An endowment from Nancy Kreftmeyer Glassman makes the annual Michael and Nancy Glassman Distinguished Lecture possible. The SIU Hispanic Resource Center also sponsors this visit.