Bogen, Laurel Ann 1950-
BOGEN, Laurel Ann 1950-
PERSONAL: Born March 27, 1950, in Los Angeles, CA; daughter of Max Martin (a high school teacher and coach) and Helen Marguerite (an office manager; maiden name, Ramsay) Bogen. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Southern California, B.A., 1971; M.A., 2001. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Theater and performance, cooking, jewelry-making, art.
CAREER: Stonecloud (magazine), Los Angeles, CA, associate editor, 1975-76; BooksWest (magazine), Los Angeles, CA, circulation manager and senior book review editor, 1976-78; George Sand Books, Los Angeles, CA, poetry director, 1977; William Morris Agency, Los Angeles, CA, administrative assistant, 1979-81; Gersh Agency, Los Angeles, CA, administrative assistant, 1981-82; freelance writer, 1982—. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, literary curator, 1996—. University of California—Los Angeles, instructor in Writers' Program, 1990-2000; lecturer at California State University—Long Beach and Whittier College. Los Angeles Poetry Theater, founding member and executive director, 1979-84; Nearly Fatal Women (poetry performance group), founding member; member of Company Theater and Poetry House. Arundel Poetry Series, poetry director, 1993-96; Pacificus Foundation, poet in residence, 1994-98; Los Angeles Poetry Festival, member of advisory committee; Medina Foundation, judge for Alice Jackson Poetry Prize competition, 1986; creative writing instructor at poetry and writing workshops for beginning and intermediate writers and for elementary school students; presenter of poetry readings and speeches at universities, bookstores, arts foundations, libraries, prisons, theaters, and theater festivals, and on cable television and radio programs. Collaborator (with musicians Ian Matthews and Harlan Collins) on an audiocassette, Vulnerable Street, 1988. Biafran Relief Service Foundation, founder of Los Angeles chapter, 1968; Social and Public Art Resource Center, member of advisory board for Literary Arts Program; Center for New Corporate Priorities, member.
MEMBER: PEN, Poetry Society of America, Poets and Writers, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center.
AWARDS, HONORS: Academy of American Poets Awards, University of Southern California, 1968 and 1999; poetry scholarship, Squaw Valley Writers' Conference, 1980; Los Angeles Weekly Award, best female poet/performer, 1989; Curtis L. Zahn Poetry Prize, Pacificus Foundation, 1994; Prose Poems at Work Prize, Writers at Work, 2001.
(With others) Mirror to Mirror (play), produced in Los Angeles, CA, by Company Theatre, 1975.
The Disappearing Act (poetry), Biographics Press, 1978.
The Night Grows Teeth and Other Observations (poetry), Biographics Press, 1980.
Origami: The Unfolding Heart (poetry), Illuminati, 1981.
Do Iguanas Dance, under the Moonlight (poetry), Illuminati, 1984.
The Great Orange Leonard Scandal (short fiction), Illuminati, 1984.
(With others) The Projects (prose poetry), Illuminati, 1987.
Rag Tag We Kiss (poetry), Illuminati, 1989.
The Burning: New and Selected Poems, 1970-1990, Red Wind Books (Los Angeles, CA), 1991.
The Last Girl in the Land of the Butterflies (poetry), Red Wind Books (Los Angeles, CA), 1996.
Fission (poetry), Red Dancefloor Press, 1998.
Poetry and prose has appeared in anthologies, including Foreign Exchange: A Clack of American Poets, edited by Michael C. Ford, Biographics Press, 1979; Amorotica, edited by Elliot Fried, Deep River Press, 1981; Second Coming Anthology: Ten Years in Retrospect, edited by A. D. Winans, Second Coming Press, 1984; Vox Feminae: Women As Creator and Created, California State University—Long Beach, 1987; The Maverick Poets, edited by Steve Kowit, Gorilla Press, 1988; Grand Passion: Poets of Los Angeles, Red Wind Books, 1994; At Our Core: Women Writing about Power, Papier Mache Press, 1998; Stand Up Poetry, University of Iowa Press, 2002; Place As Purpose: Poetry from the Western States, Autry Museum of Western Heritage/Sun & Moon Press, 2002; and The Misread City: New Literary Los Angeles, edited by Scott Timberg and Dana Gioia, Red Hen Press, 2003. Contributor to numerous periodicals, including Maelstrom Review, Mississippi Mud, Bellingham Review, Solo, Rattapallax, Art/Life, Electrum, Yellow Silk, Poetry/L.A., and California State Poetry Quarterly. Poetry reviewer, Los Angeles Herald Examiner; contributing editor, Madrona.
ADAPTATIONS: Wings: That Which Takes Flight was adapted by Doug Knott into an award winning poetry video, which has been shown at the 1999 Vancouver Videopoem Festival and the e-poet's Geoconference 2, in Chicago, IL, 2001.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Washing a Language, (poetry), Red Hen Press, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Laurel Ann Bogen's poetry has changed and matured over the course of her career, according to critics. In the Los Angeles Times, Penelope Moffet described Bogen as "… a writer who has learned to look toward the light rather than the darkness, to find her images and her meaning in the drama of the everyday rather than the melodrama of the madhouse." Reviewers have compared her early poems to those of Sylvia Plath, noting the dark and somber tones permeating Bogen's first book, The Disappearing Act. Moffet claimed that Bogen's second collection, The Night Grows Teeth, contains lighter verse, with more humor and insight.
"I don't know if I'll ever be a great poet," Bogen explained to Moffet. "I'd just like to be the best poet I can be. I'd like to be a poet who gets better as she grows older. I want to be eighty years old and giving poetry readings in the Bowery. I want to be eighty-five and writing the best poetry I've ever written."
Bogen once told CA: "My writing is the thing I feel most proud of in my life and, in fact, gives me more joy than just about anything else—both in the writing and performance of it. It is also the largest contributor to my sense of worth, my self-esteem. Sometimes I regret this, due to [the] fact that it causes me to cut my life off somewhere below my chin. However, when I write, I feel something bigger than myself … like hooking into God or something. It's the best I can do or be.
She added, "I tend to think of myself as a rather mediocre person, but when the poems come, it's like walking on the higher ground."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Peters, Robert, Hunting the Snark: A Compendium of New Poetic Terminology, Paragon House (New York, NY), 1989.
Los Angeles, April, 1983, Steven Benes, "Roses Are Red … Poets Are Blue," p. 264.
Los Angeles Times, January 23, 1983, Penelope Moffet, "A Poet Turns to the Light in Pink Shoes,"p. 41; August 12, 1984, Holly Prado, review of Do Iguanas Dance, under the Moonlight, p. B-6.
Small Press Review, March, 1993, review of The Burning: New and Selected Poems, 1970-1990, p. 9.
Unlikely Stories: A Collection of Literary Art, http://www.flash.net/˜unlikely/index.html/ (July 14, 2003), poems and author biography of Laurel Ann Bogen.