The Concrete River

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-0-915306-42-8
Publication Date
July 1995
Page Count
125 pages
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5

The Concrete River

Luis J. Rodríguez

1991 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence

The Concrete River
is a collection of poems by poet laureate of Los Angeles Luis Rodríguez. They illuminate the gritty idiosyncrasies of immigrant life in urban barrios spanning Los Angeles to Chicago to Harlem. Rodríguez lends powerful voices to those struggling to keep the gas on, to find work, and to keep love.  Populated by a vibrant cast of characters, ranging from the drugged, to the eccentric, to the heartbroken, Rodríguez’s poems protest capitalism, violence, and exploitation while reveling in the potential of compassion.
About the Author

Luis J. Rodriguez has published fifteen books of poetry, children's literature, fiction, and nonfiction. He is best known for his 1993 memoir of gang life, Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. His awards include a Finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award, a Lila Wallace Readers Digest Writers Award, a PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award, a Paterson Poetry Prize, a Carl Sandburg Literary Award, and fellowships from the Sundance Institute, the Lannan Foundation, the City of Los Angeles, the City of Chicago, the California Arts Council, and the Illinois Arts Council, among others. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 chose Luis J. Rodriguez as Poet Laureate of the city. Luis is also Scholar in Residence at California State University, Northridge.


“This poetry is of the barrio yet stubbornly refuses to be confined in it—Rodríguez's perceptive gaze and storyteller's gift transport his world across neighborhood boundaries.” —Publishers Weekly

“What makes Luis Rodríguez’s poetry attractive is not its raw honesty but rather the lyrical beauty that suddenly emerges at unpredictable moments. There are lines that bloom like the flowers he is always making reference to.” —The American Poetry Review