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  • By john williamson
    Apr 3, 2007
    "THE essential LA poet" Mark Dixon's poetry perfectly resonates with the California dream deferred. This is the book I most like to reread. An interview with Mark Dixon: 1) Describe how you arrived at your subjects. Your book feels a bitlike a cab ride sometimes. That is the implicit metaphor of the book. I drove a taxi at nightwhen I was in college, and the images of prowling those dark streetswith one headlight out and the dispatcher muttering softly on thetwo-way radio have stayed with me all these years. The book is alate-night tour of the Los Angeles you won't see on television, viewedfrom the back seat of my taxicab. You meet the broke film schoolstudent who steals across the alley with his biracial girlfriend lateat night to explore the long-abandoned Ambassador Hotel. You witnessthe birth of a baby in the bucket seat of a stalled Ford Pinto in thetow-away zone outside County General Hospital, or a trumpet playerstepping out the stage door for a smoke after the... More > last show. 2) How long have you been writing poetry? Who or what led you tobecome a poet? How have your approach to your subject matter and yourstyle changed through the years? I've been writing poetry off and on since high school, but became whatI'd call a serious poet about seven years ago when I started attendinga local poetry reading. I met three very talented poets and formed asmall poetry collective with them called the Furniture Guild, andsince then I've done readings all over southern California, havediscussed my work with English classes at several colleges, and ofcourse published my first book. I'd say my poetry has been heavilyinfluenced by the film noir genre, those great black-and-whiteHumphrey Bogart movies like "The Big Sleep", and authors like RaymondChandler who wrote the Philip Marlowe potboilers, Dashiell Hammett whowrote the Sam Spade series, and Erle Stanley Gardner who created PerryMason. You'll find a lot of the same kinds of imagery in my poetry:the two-bit waterfront bar, the seedy motel, the shadows of MulhollandDrive, the hustlers and hookers and pimps that line the boulevards of Hollywood. 3) Tell us about the causes you are involved in. I'm an activist for urban farming and community agriculture, andcreated a website and blog called New Farm City ( I was involved in the struggle of the South Central Farmers to holdon to the two city blocks of land near downtown Los Angeles that theyhad cultivated as an urban farm for fourteen years. Sadly they lostthe battle and ended up being forcibly evicted and their beautifulfarm destroyed. I'm a follower of Jesus, and am interested instarting a movement toward a more Jesus-based Christianity, showingtoday's Christians a better path away from the ultra-conservative,politically charged belief system that marks much of evangelicalChristianity today and is contrary to the compassion, tolerance andconcern for the poor and outcast that Jesus himself taught and stoodfor. I have also been active in the gay and lesbian community,working to eliminate homophobia and discrimination based on genderidentity and sexual orientation, and was recently invited toparticipate in a book project for the city of West Hollywood. 5) Do you see any positive changes that are taking place in society? Several large cities on the west coast have created special courtswhere homeless people charged with crimes can be diverted intoprograms to help them get off the streets and get cleaned up andrehabilitated instead of just doing another month or two in jail.That's hopeful.< Less
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Product Details

March 19, 2004
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.44 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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