Sadly, nobody ever discovered any poets at the
Schwab’s Drug Store soda fountain on Sunset Boulevard. Even Lana
Turner wasn’t discovered at Schwab’s, as the legend would have you
believe. Truth is she’d ditched school to hang out at an eatery
called the Top Hat Café when a Billy-somebody, editor at the
Hollywood Reporter, approached her with the catchy line, “How’d you
like to be a movie star?”
But no one ever discovered any poets at the Top
Hat Café either.
The young Bob Evans was shored up alongside the
pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel – working the phone for his sports
clothes business, Evan-Picone – when Norma Schearer peered over the
chrome-pink rim of her sunglasses and decided he resembled a
matador. In no time he found himself on the set of The Sun Also
Rises, striving to make passes around a bull and act at the same
No one’s ever discovered a poet lingering near
the pool of The Beverly Hills Hotel, nor even at the Sahara Motor
But here at Speechless, a poet can get
discovered. We now have people in the field, talent scouts, sharp
of eye and ear, who will be attending readings around town. If they
discover you, examples your work will show up in this column. After
that it’s up to you to make the most of the opportunity. We at
Speechless can’t do everything.
November ’03: Terry Stevenson
Discovers Virginia Anderson
Virginia Anderson was publisher and editor of
Daybreak, and her poems have appeared in many journals
including Rivertalk. She’s participated in the Ojai Poetry
Poet and essayist Terry Stevenson selected the
following poems from her October reading at The Sunland/Tujunga
Library Series, sponsored by Friends of the Library, with support
from Poets & Writers, Inc., and curated by Elsa Frausto.
Introduction to “Gangstas”:
“When I was a
teenager, my friends and I liked to imitate gangster talk from the
movies of the day. This was long before “The Godfather”.
Dey was some real mean
guys in dose days,
Dey spoke outa da sides
of der mouz
da way I’m doin’.
Richard Widmark was one
of da meanest.
He pushed da ole lady in
down da stairs and didn’t
try to pick her up after.
He was dat mean.
He was meaner dan Edward
G. Robinson, George Raft,
meaner dan James Cagney.
When dose guys didn’t
like ya, you
was soon wearin’ cement
When dey come after ya,
ya was good as dead;
ya was nuttin’ but meat,
Dey called it “bein’
You always knew when dey
it began to rain and no
Dey was always askin’
Ansukido is a combination of prayers and laying on of hands, a
ritual used to exorcise a demon.
THE SHAPES OF SILENCE
Korean missionaries were sentenced to state prison for their roles
in a deadly exorcism performed upon a Korean woman, Kyung-Fa Chung.
She was beaten to death during the
ritual known as Ansukido. She had been arrogant and disobedient to
her husband; it was said, and therefore suspected of being possessed
by a demon. Los Angeles Superior Court
Judge, James A. Albrecht, cleared the missionaries of murder charges
and they were charged instead with involuntary manslaughter. –THE
LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 25, 1997
room opens its windows
traces of you
walls are newly painted;
hours of Ansukido
one mentioned you.
must have spoken
day, the day before,
tumble of sounds
cooked or shopped
murmuring their names.
must have been
read the story,
Terry Stevenson's poems have appeared in Electrum, Poetry/L.A.,
Rattle, Spillway and ONTHEBUS. He appears in several anthologies,
including Shards, Off-Ramp, Corners (all published by the Pasadena
Poets), Truth and Lies that Press for Life (Artifact Press, Ltd.)
and 13 LA Poets (Bombshelter Press), and So Luminous the
Wildflowers: An Anthology of California Poets (Tebot Bach). In 1999
he was chosen to read in the distinguished Los Angeles Poetry
Festival/Beyond Baroque "Newer Poets" reading at the Los Angeles