Poetry Spotlight with Editor Chelsea Rector Richard Modiano

Every week in August we’ll turn the spotlight on one of Editor Chelsea Rector’s favourite local poets.

This week we feature native Angeleno, Richard Modiano. Modiano attended the University of Hawai’i and NYU. While a resident of New York City he became active in the literary community connected to the Poetry Project, coming to know Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, William S. Burroughs and Ted Berrigan.  In 2001 he was a programmer at Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center, joined their Board of Trustees in 2006, and from 2010 to 2019, served as Executive Director. In that time he produced and curated hundreds of literary events. Richard is a rank and file member of the Industrial Workers of the World. In 2019 he was elected Vice President of the California State Poetry Society. The Huffington Post named him one of 200 people doing the most to promote American poetry. In 2022 the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition awarded him the Joe Hill Prize for labor poetry. His collection, The Forbidden Lunch Box is published by Punk Hostage Press.

At dawn

At dawn
scent of the jasmine
drifting through the open window,
only slightly chilly,
the faint fragrance
is like incense
and in the sharp morning
sunlight I see dust motes
gathering on my pile of books
the old books that I keep 
together in one place,
old in that I’ve held onto
them for the longest time
though I seldom even
page through them
There is one book
that belonged to her,
she who came to me
and like flowing water
went away
It exists as an
excuse to see her again