HINCHAS Press publishes anthology of poetry from 10 female poets

By Katie Lulla

HINCHAS Press recently published “X LA Poets,” an anthology of poetry by 10 BIPOC women in Los Angeles that features poems by city of LA Poet Laureate Lynne Thompson, among others.

Yago Cura, owner of HINCHAS Press, and poet Linda Ravenswood have worked to gather an anthology of poetry from a diverse set of 10 female poets in Los Angeles. On April 1, they published “X LA Poets” to give Angelenos a unique perspective of LA culture.

“We’re giving (people) an opportunity to actually read something that was incubated in LA, and that only has really amazing women poets telling us about home, telling us about LA and what it means for them,” Cura said.

Cura said “X LA Poets” was inspired by the anthology “Eight Miami Poets” and the corresponding festival. He originally intended to have eight poets, but felt that having 10 would allow the anthology to be simple to find and multidimensional.

At first glance, the title may remind readers of the roman numeral for 10. However, it’s also a reference to the variable x and can reference the X chromosome. When creating the cover, Cura took inspiration from the American punk band X, whose 1980 album had a flaming x on the cover.

“There’s a great picture in the (Los Angeles Public Library) photo database of people in the 1910s or 1915s operating searchlights,” said Cura. “It just hit me. I’m like, ‘the two searchlights could make an X like that just as easily as an actual X and it might be more evocative.’”

Cura said that while anyone can enjoy the anthology, he feels that those interested in creative writing, women studies and local history may get the most benefit from it. He said the chorus of women’s voices in “X LA Poets” would be an excellent end to a college course in the aforementioned subjects.

“It always seems like the way women are published as a consequence of publishing men,” Cura said. “I wanted to do something where women are completely highlighted and there is no male variable.”

Other than Cura, the entire anthology is created by women. Autumn Anglin is the artist for “X LA Poets” and created abstract, phantasmagoric images that can be perceived in several different ways.

Linda Ravenswood, founder and editor-in-chief of The Los Angeles Press, is the editor of “X LA Poets” and one of the featured poets.

“I’m a poet in Los Angeles, and most of the women and women-identifying writers in our anthology are my colleagues, friends and teachers,” Ravenswood said. “I know them and love them, and was so blessed to be able to ask them to be a part of the anthology.”

When choosing poems, Ravenswood looked for varying stories and made the anthology have many contradicting perspectives that all join together to show the lives of women in LA. Some of the differences are geographical, with some women living by the ocean while others live inland. Other perspectives are seen in their opportunity or inability to travel, or living in multigenerational households.

“(I sifted) through the work and saw where those bells and those stories were clanging. Those were the pieces that mostly called to me and are included in this anthology,” Ravenswood said. “The editorializing of each of the poems was pretty much zero. I didn’t change any of their words except for translating from one language to another.”

Ravenswood says that she translated the poems of Viva Padilla from Spanish to English. She said that Padilla’s poems were in free verse so the English version did not have to make any significant changes.

“I think if you love LA, if you love a community full of multifoliate neighborhoods, if you love varied and disparate and intricate interweaving languages, you’ll love this anthology,” Ravenswood said. “If you didn’t know their work before, you’ll want to know their work because it’s very gentle, passionate and driven by social justice. They’re really beautiful writers.”