• Elsa Frausto and Kathabela WilsonAn interview with Elsa Frausto, Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujanga (2014-2016). She is a muse to many, and a traveler in two languages in the poetic world.

      By Kathabela Wilson

      A microscope on the Poet

      Tell me what your life as a poet feels like, by day and night, in Sunland-Tujunga?

      Our small group of poets meets weekly at Sunland Park- Poetry Under the Pines. Yoga, a stroll around the park, then we find a sunny/shady spot to write and read. It’s all organic like the soil and ideas spring up like tender weeds after the rain we just had. I love ideas like that. Nearly effortless. The park is beautiful in the morning and we are reminded we are in the city and far away too. Once a month, at Verdugo Hills High School, I meet with students to inspire each other’s writing. And sometimes I am a night bird… at 4 am… am I a poet at such an early hour? I’ve been awakened by a line or gone to sleep with one and even if not written, the poem is there like an unfinished dream.

      A telescope on the Poet

      How do you see yourself as a Poet in the larger World?

      In a world with economic disparities, at war, can the poet write about beauty or must she be firmly set in reality and only point the finger at injustices? Passing of Laurels (LtoR) Joe Desceno, Elsa Frausto, Dorothy Skiles.Poetic language works with both because the poet is in the world and beauty is inescapable. We create not only for the present but for a future time and poetry builds this bridge. Becoming Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga has given me this chance to cross the bridge, to be more connected and speak this poetry with others. I’m planning an international poetry reading in January, and doing a reading with the new Los Angeles Poet Laureate, Luis J. Rodriguez, next year. My new blog is about these poetic travels, thoughts and bridges. Please come visit and travel with me there.

      Mapping the Poet

      Tell us the story of your poetic roots, and how they are set in San Gabriel Valley

      I learned English when I was thirteen years old in Canada reading Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Frost. So poetry and a new language are inextricably tied. I loved going to the public library and being able to handle, read any book I wanted to. In Argentina, where I was born, libraries are for librarians who bring out the books from the back stacks. I did not understand every line I read in English, yet somehow it made sense. I knew it was not everyday language, that I could say things I wouldn’t in daily speech, that no subject was taboo. I’ve been crossing this bridge of language from Spanish, to Russian, the language I heard and learned in the community of immigrants in Buenos Aires, then English. In my reading and writing I make a place in this world. Elsa Frausto in Valley of Fire -NevadaThe Foothills have been home for the last 25 years and it’s here where I write about salmon hued mountains, and how long it’s taken to feel settled, about wildflowers who dare spring up in the oddest of places, family and the stranger. The poets of Sunland-Tujunga host a reading each month at the historic Bolton Hall Museum. Made of river rocks, you can hear the sound of poetry, the stream that runs through us.

      It’s before the lines become the poem
      by Elsa Frausto

      it’s the body sprawled on the bed
      and before that the night
      and further back
      a memory
      like a buoy
      in dark water
      under moonlight

      Stay there while
      the lines appear

      Es antes de que las líneas se conviertan en el poema
      es el cuerpo extendido en la cama
      y antes de eso la noche
      y más atrás
      un recuerdo
      en el agua oscura
      a la luz de la luna

      Quédate ahí mientras
      que las líneas aparecen


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      Contributor

        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      Comments

      1. Toti O'Brien says:

        This reminds me of Elsa’s recent feature at Bolton Hall, when she treated us to such a textured patchwork of sounds/music/meaning: reading in Spanish, Russian, English. “Bridging’ as she ways over so spacious a territory. It was marvelous

      2. Alice Pero says:

        Great interview…love the poem! Thanks for all you do, Elsa and thanks again, Kathabela for showcasing a wonderful artist.

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