NoHo Does Poetry – a National Poetry Month Feature on local poets
The NoHo Arts District dot Com team always strives to showcase the work of our local NoHo arts community and to celebrate national holidays and designations that promote the arts. April is National Poetry Month and we’d like to introduce North Hollywood to one of our local poets, Radomir Luza.
When did you realize that you loved poetry?
I realized that I loved poetry when I read my first poetry book in elementary school at the age of ten. All those rhyming words, colors and shapes made me think. It also made me wiser, more intelligent and more courageous.
Poetry, through the years, has helped me dance through a bevy of psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists; sleeping on concrete and in shelters and enough pain, paranoia and anguish to paralyze an army of giants.
How did you get started?
I got started writing poetry in my hometown of New Orleans in 1986 when my world came crashing down around me. I had just come back from my first failed move to New York City. My family tried, but couldn’t understand me. My best friends were nowhere to be found, and all I sensed around me were apathy, bleakness and darkness.
To deal with the alienation, anxiety and fear I was experiencing at the time I started writing poetry. Whether political, philosophical or metaphysical, it came from my soul of souls, my gut, my solarplexis of greatest need.
The thing that really attracted me to poetry was that unlike theatre or film, I was reading and performing my words and beliefs, not someone else’s.
I remember the first poetry reading I ever went to was at a restaurant or bar in New Orleans. There was only the bartender and me. So, I read to him.
I felt accepted at poetry readings. I felt that what I had to say was taken seriously, and that people and other poets recognized that I had a lot of talent, and instead of being jealous or angry at me for it, they wished me even more success.
I must admit that no matter how bad it got, I get my love of art and politics from my parents, Radomir Sr. and Libuse Podhraska. My father fought in the Czech Resistance in World War II led by my grandfather Vojtech Luza, who was murdered by the Nazis in 1944.
My mother was the youngest actress ever accepted into the Czech National Dramatic Conservatory at 15 before Adolf Hitler closed the doors in 1943.
They then escaped Communism in their beloved Czechoslovakia in 1948, eventually coming to America in 1953.
I have been writing verse now for 28 years and will publish my 25th book, 16th collection of poetry, and first collection in three years, “New York Nadir” later this month.
The book is inspired by my second failed move to New York City and only divorce. “Nadir” means desperation, low point or rock bottom.
I am the Poet Laureate of North Hollywood, a Pushcart Prize nominee and have had poetry published in over 40 literary journals, anthologies and websites such as “Nerve Cowboy,” “Spare Change,” “Askew,” “Boog City,” “Cultural Weekly” and “RogueScholars.com.”
I have featured my poetry 80+ times across the country.
I have also organized over a dozen readings across the country in places such as New York City, New Jersey, Ft. Walton Beach, FLA, and Los Angeles.
I have also taught poetry to youngsters as part of the Youth Poetry Workshop sponsored by the North Hollywood West Neighborhood Council, of which I am President. The 2nd Annual Workshop takes place on May 29th at Saticoy Elementary School.
What is it you enjoy about poetry?
In a word, the independence of it. I can write what I want, not like in journalism, where I have to quote somebody else and build a story around those quotes.
Poetry also allows me to express what I believe in the most creative and powerful ways possible. Whether through alliteration or metaphor, poetry or verse lets me say what I want without bending to some one else’s rules, regulations or beliefs.
I very much enjoy the creativity of writing poetry. Sometimes I just go to Starbucks and write for hours on end. I am in nirvana or utopia then. I also know that I am creating something of merit that will last.
Who needs videotape or replays when you have books or writing?
Where and when will you be performing next?
I have the lead role of Pal in the World War I Epic Play “Anzac,” written by veteran North Hollywood playwright and author Mary Anneeta Mann at 7:30pm on Friday, April 25th at T.U. Studios at 10943 Camarillo Street in the NoHo Arts District at the intersection of Camarillo, Lankershim and Vineland. (Behind Odyssey Video).
The play is based on the experience Mann’s father had as a soldier in the “War to end all wars” which almost killed him twice and proved to not be the war to end all wars.
Mann says that the 300 page play is an attempt by her to understand why wars have forever plagued us and why we cannot seem to stop fighting them. In other words, why killing seems to be so important to us.
I have a featured performance of a new performance piece I co-wrote and will perform with fellow poet Sharon Rizk called “Pen Pals” at the Last Saturday Open Mic and Feature hosted by Wyatt Underwood at the Tarzana branch of the Los Angeles library on Ventura Boulevard on Saturday, April 26th at 2pm.
I am also featuring at the Second Sunday Poetry Series hosted by Alex Frankel at 3433 Cahuenga (Across from Universal Studios) in North Hollywood on May 11th at 5pm. The reading takes place in a beautiful older building that adds ambiance and environment to your work. There is an Open Mic for poets, writers and musicians.
I am also featuring on the last Friday of the month in June (June 27th) at the Rapp Saloon (In the Hostel Building) on Second Street in Santa Monica. The weekly series is hosted by Tresha Haefner on Last Fridays at 8pm.
I just performed stand-up comedy in Flappers Comedy Club’s Main Room and will be doing much more of that in the future. I have been doing stand-up in many of the major clubs in the country for over 25 years, and am only now learning how to relax and be my hilarious self on stage.
Is there anything you would like to add?
There needs to be more of an effort in this country to support the arts. There really isn’t any pipeline system as in Europe and poets, writers and many musicians, actors and comedians are struggling just to stay away from the asphalt (the street). Until we as a culture and society realize how important the arts are to our spiritual, emotional and financial health, we will never be whole.
As far as I am concerned, I would seriously consider a career in politics, but am only now, at the age of 50, realizing that there is more to me than just a label of artist or politician or whatever. I am a well-rounded human being who expresses and encompasses multitudes. And I am NOT bragging.
To find out more about Radomir and his work, visit him on
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