Poet’s Platform: Lynne Thompson

Perugia Press is beginning a new blog feature: Poet’s Platform. This recurring column will highlight the work and lives of our poets beyond their Perugia Press books, whether it be teaching or other creative professional pursuits, visual artistry, community involvements, activism, their reading suggestions, and/or their current writing projects, processes, and proclivities. The first installment comes from Lynne Thompson (Beg No Pardon, 2007), who writes about a podcast she’s launched in her role as LA Poet Laureate (the latest episode features Joy Harjo, and an upcoming episode will feature the latest Perugia poet, Rebecca Pelky), as well as her current reading list, which is inspiring in these days after the August #SealeyChallenge for folks looking to continue to dip into poetry as we head toward fall.


Since being appointed Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles in February 2021, it’s been more important than ever to me to make sure I keep current with the latest poetry collections to hit bookshelves. This is due in part to my first project for the City: a podcast called Poems on Air that’s accompanied by an occasional blog. The podcasts debut weekly, every Thursday. The effort has caused me to weigh a number of considerations : what’s the theme, if any, for a given month; what poems are likely to resonate with an audience that’s comprised, in part, of persons who aren’t regular readers of contemporary poetry, what’s the appropriate length of a poem for listeners, etc. What better reason to shower myself with tumbling mounds of books of poems?!?

On my nightstand, poetry-wise:

  • The Wild Fox of Yemen, Threa Almontaser
  • Original Kink, Jubi Arriola-Headley
  • Now in Color, Jacqueline Balderrama (Perugia, 2020)
  • The Historians, Eavan Boland
  • Abracadabra, Sunshine, Dexter L. Booth
  • No, Don’t, Elena Karina Bryne
  • Master Suffering, CM Burroughs
  • You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love, Yona Harvey
  • The Essential June Jordan, June Jordan
  • Somebody Else Sold the World, Adrian Matejka
  • Descent, Lauren Russell
  • frank: sonnets, Diane Seuss
  • Horsepower, Joy Priest

and the nightstand has asked me to buy:

  • Worldly Things, Michael Kleber-Diggs
  • Rattlesnake Allegory, Joe Jiménez
  • Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth, Yusef Komunyakaa
  • What Water Knows, Jacqueline Jones LaMon
  • Goldenrod, Maggie Smith
  • The Earliest Witnesses, G.C. Waldrep
  • Mutiny, Phillip B. Williams
  • God of Nothingness, Mark Wunderlich
Featuring original designs by folk artist Maggie Stern, these novelty socks sold by the Library Foundation of LA celebrate Los Angeles Poet Laureate, Lynne Thompson. Each sole reads, “BEG NO PARDON” in a nod to her Perugia Press book!