For the June 13, 2017 reading event, Poetry Santa Cruz presented California poet Michael McLaughlin and local luminary David Swanger. PSC was happy to have Felix Kulpa Gallery host this month’s 2nd Tuesday reading.
Michael McLaughlin has worked for over 25 years as a poet-in-residence at Atascadero State Hospital and as a contract artist with the California Department of Corrections and with California Poets in the Schools. McLaughlin is the author of three collections of poetry: Ped Xing (Creative Press, 1977), The Upholstery of Heaven (Don’t Trip Press, 1996), and Countless Cinemas (University of Hell Press, 2016). He is also the author of the novel Western People Show Their Faces (1987). A graduate of USC’s Master of Professional Writing program, McLaughlin was founding editor of its literary journal, The Southern California Anthology. He served as poet laureate of San Luis Obispo County in 2003, and he curates Santa Maria’s “Live from the CORE” poetry/performance series. McLaughlin is currently poet-in-residence at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California.
Michael McLaughlin requested that David Swanger be his co-reader. McLaughlin knew professor Swanger from his student days at UCSC. Poetry Santa Cruz and David Swanger readily agreed to this request.
David Swanger is the author of Wayne’s College of Beauty (MkBk Press, 2006) which won the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry and was a finalist for ForeWord’s Best Book of the Year. He has also won the Foley Award from America magazine, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and a grant from the California Arts Council. His other books of poems include This Waking Unafraid, Inside the Horse, and The Shape of Waters. His poems are widely anthologized, have been read on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, and have been the subject of essays. From 2012-2014, Swanger served as Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, and participated in the recent “Four Laureates” reading.