Luis J. Rodriguez (1954- )
Always Running: La Vida Loca--Gang Days in L.A.
- Born in 1954 in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in Watts and East Los Angeles
- Became involved with gangs at age 11; lost 25 friends to gang violence by age 18.
- Married three times; four children, two each from his first and third marriages.
- Attended several California colleges and technical schools during the 1970s and early
1980s, including California State University, Hondo Community College, East Los Angeles
College, and University of California at Berkeley.
- Worked in the 1970s as a truck and school bus driver and in various factories and
industries (lamp factory, paper mill, foundry, oil refinery. chemical refinery).
- Worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, primarily in Los Angeles and Chicago, during
the 1980s and continues to work as a journalist and critic, with his work appearing in
such publications as The Nation, Los Angeles Weekly, and Americas
- Has won numerous awards for his poetry and for the memoir Always Running,
including a Carl Sandburg Literary Award and a Chicago Sun-Times Book Award for
the latter. Always Running was also chosen as a New York Times Notable
Book for 1993.
- Founded and directs Tia Chucha Press.
- Heavily involved in community-centered projects, many of them centered on his role as a
potential peacemaker with gangs in Chicago and L.A.
Poems Across the Pavement (1989)
The Concrete River (1991)
Always Running: La Vida Loca--Gang Days in L.A. (1993)
America is Her Name (1998)
It Doesn't Have To Be This Way (scheduled for publication in 1999)
Critical Sources and Reviews
- Biographical and critical information in the following Gale publications:
Contemporary Authors, Volume 142, and Contemporary Authors, Autobiography
Series, Volume 26. Gale Literary Database (Contemporary Authors
Online) can be accessed online through a subscribing library at www.galenet.com.
(Volume 26 above contains portrait.)
- Some reviews of Always Running:
- New York Times Book Review, February 14, 1993 ("The Body Count in the
Barrio," by Gary Soto, available in the New
York Times Books Archive)
- Chicago Tribune; February 25, 1993
- Los Angeles Times; March 31, 1993
- Los Angeles Weekly, March 5, 1993
Retired Discussion Series