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Peter J. Harris, Poet Laureate of Altadena

By Sharon Jarrett
Posted: 11/08/2022

The speaker for the meeting was Peter J. Harris, the current Poet Laureate of Altadena.


Mr. Harris is the 2017/18 recipient of the City of Los Angeles COLA Fellowship.


He is the author of Bless the Ashes, winner of the 2015 Oakland Josephine Miles award.


He is also the author of The Black Man of Happiness:In Pursuit of My Untenable Right, winner of the 2015 American Book Award and author of the recently published Safe Arms.


He has contributed to: Voices from Leimert Park edited by Shonda Buchanan; Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles; Beyond edited by Suzanne Lummis; Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology edited by Thelma Reyna; and Love with Accountability: Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse by Aishah Shahidah Simmons.


The presentation has been recorded as The Black Man of Happiness and can be watched by clicking on the link.


Mr. Harris spoke with purpose, clarity and passion about the following topics:


1. Read a poem to illustrate his writing style and approach to poetry.


2. Discussed the genesis and work of the project. He indicated there is 

   no formula for happiness and it was necessary to begin by seeing yourself fully.

3. Discussed writers in the Los Angeles area.


4. Explained the Synergy Project which encourages artists to share their work as an inspiration for poets.

   He indicated the purpose is to "uplift one another through creativity".


5. Finally, he discussed workshops and readings being sponsored by Altadena in support of the Poet Laureate.


Mr. Harris concluded with "I respect how you are moving through the world as long as you aren't hurting or taking advantage of anyone" and " Do not flinch from history. Equal responses of ethical behavior exist. Have the courage to confront what is uncomfortable and fight for the multidimensionality that is America".


The next meeting will be November 18, 2022 at 12:00 PM PST.



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