BOOK REVIEW by Sabne Raznik: Tomorrow Yvonne, Poetry & Prose For Suicidal Egotists by Yvonne de la Vega

The following review was originally posted at Yahoo!

Book Review: Yvonne De La Vega’s “Tomorrow, Yvonne -Poetry &

Prose for Suicidal Egotists”

BookCoverImage-1     In literary mythology and legend, poets were beings of a lofty kind. They were prophets, messengers of the gods or at least of the times. They were eccentric, crazy, lonely, fools, and wisdom personified. They were terrifying and compassionate, cold and warm, dazzling and puzzling. They went through the worst life had to deal out so as to sing of the most beautiful.
     But after 1914, two World Wars, Modernism, the bloodiest century in history (the 20th), followed quickly by what is stacking up to be an even more harrowing one (the 21st), we’re all grown up now. We don’t believe the stories. Our poets today are not heros with hearts closer to divinity. They are as dirty and ordinary as we are. And we treat them accordingly.
     Yvonne De La Vega both embraces this notion and challenges it in one breath. Her debut collection (which is also her Collected Poems) titled “Tomorrow, Yvonne: Poetry & Prose for Suicidal Egotists” is a thick volume full of surprises. The language is ordinary, sometimes in the gutter. The rhythms are those of Spoken Word poetry – lending itself more to audio than to text. And indeed, up to now, that is how De La Vega’s poetry has been presented and enjoyed. She is a lady of the street and of the moment, of seedy hangout joints and alleys where nothing much has changed but the drug in vogue. She can tell the stories of folk we tend to overlook: the homeless, the down-and-out, the never-had-glory-days, the castaway veteran, the bewildered immigrant, etc. But she also carries the lofty calling: declaring that poetry without a purpose isn’t poetry at all, that the war between good and evil is real, implying again and again that somehow she is meant by some higher power to write, and even reporting from the front lines of the Occupy Los Angeles Movement.
      This book is larger than life, like the city she writes from. De La Vega has a stated passion for jazz and her poetry reads like jazz, particularly when read as a whole as this book allows. Free-form like water and hard to take in all at once – that’s Yvonne De La Vega. Eccentric, crazy, lonely, terrifying and compassionate, cold and warm, dazzling and puzzling, a witness to our times, and as ordinary as your neighbor. Somehow, she’s all those contradictions. “Tomorrow, Yvonne: Poetry & Prose for Suicidal Egotists” is a contemporary answer to the literary legend.

Yvonne de la Vega dot com uh huh

I believe you need one. Everyone needs a dot com. I mean us, the writers. We have books, events and …needs.  And a dot com is one of them.

Granted, I do feel more at ease over here at my “WordPress blurb blog”. The page is white, the header is a quiet forest green. The hearts are bulbous and a light fairy blue. My “WordPress blog blog”  is a different sight than this one here, where I list all the different news articles or events I come across to share.

My dot com is laid out in satin black pages. I am a naked torso,  haunted by a naked Jim Morrison as Ray Manzarek watches, jeering and cheering us on. I am a naked torso looking out into the world with pleading eyes that say, “So, are you hip to poetry …boy?” Well then handsome…  sit right down right here next to Yvonne de la Vega,  and let me tell you about my new book.

Satin black pages with big red glowing Chopin Script font in a swoosh that reads Yvonnnnne de la Vega a-whooopdi…  It’s got the dot com vibe, thank you Broowaha (<my blog about it) for supporting the cause. That’s a favorite publication I write for. Tony Berkman and Angie Alaniz are the hip owners, and well I think Tony was right on when he said we writers with books all need a dot com.

Red Palm trees on fire from the sun setting over a hot summer L.A. night. That’s my blog page here at WordPress, which I love by the way. My dot com is a godaddy 5 page freebee that came with the domain name and I already had the WordPress blog so I just hyper-linked my virginal white linen paged WordPress blog to the godaddy dot com and voila! But GASP! It was an absolute design MUST that I switch my WordPress theme to BLACK and for the header. It’s punk rawk now, and it’s a link from the dot com . The official website, I’m big now, huh? Where it really is, all about me. hee hee.


There’s actually a lot going on in Los Angeles in regard to Poetry and Music. There are poets in this city that have been hosting readings with bands as long as they were hosting readings. The following literature is a collective of essays and blogs on the scene, for now – a work in progress.  All are welcome to comment.

Yvonne de la Vega

On the sidebar menu you’ll see:

  • I ❤ Poetry & Rock ‘n Roll
  • I ❤ Poetry’lectronica
  • I ❤ Poetry & Jazz        On this page read, “Flamenco Sketches” by Yvonne de laVega
  • I ❤ Poetry & Beats     On this page read, “The New Beautiful” by Mike The Poet Sonsken

These topics will be expanded in the coming weeks and days and for now, here’s an Introductory into the Main Topic:

Introduction to the Los Angeles Poetry and Music scene…

  • April 23rd, 2010 6:01 pm PT

Onyx Spoken Word -Celebration of the L.A. Scene, Projector Press – anthology

Photo: Book cover photo by Hank T. Ripper

Throughout every resurgence of the spoken word in Los Angeles, LA Poetry has almost always been preferred by poet and listener alike, to be accompanied by music.

In the late 1990’s on Vermont Avenue in artsy Los Feliz, The Onyx Cafe Sunday readings were like going to church. Under the organizational skills of LA Poet Milo Martin and company, there was a motley crew of musicians gathered at the front of the room ready to drum, blow, strum or plunk behind a poet in an accompaniment, intended to comp a poet’s spoken word piece, a rant by a performance artist,  or a television personality dabbling with the cool of the LA Poetry scene.

The magic of music as the universal language prevailed then as it does now, and is more than accepted here in Los Angeles but even more so, it is often preferred. Usually, every poet’s performance was satisfied at the Onyx, the audience having received a blessing that Sunday, with an anticipation for the next Sunday meeting of rants over rhythms. It was like going to church, and for many, it was Church.

Spoken Word is more readily heard than merely tolerated when situated upon a set of beats. Simpler said, one poem delivered “dry” certainly comes to life when performed with music, it’s meanings hitting intended marks with more than the expected velocity. Imagery is quantized even, and attention spans stretched to lengths beyond any ever imagined.

Even record executives took chances with the otherwise voodoo topic of “the spoken word”,  as did Herb Alpert in 1991 with his Jump Street” single that showcased spoken word and hip-hop. To go even further back in our city’s history of poetry and music, we have to recall the most revered of Los Angeles legendary rock bands, The Doors.

When Jim Morrison showed Ray Manzarek some of his poems, he insisted to Jim that they should put together a band for him to sing his poems. Indeed his songs were constructed of poetry first. Today, Ray Manzarek continues to back poetry with his music such as beat poetry legends Michael McClure.

Los Angeles is the Spoken Word & Music Capital of the World!

Soon, you’ll be able to order it right here. For now, you can hear it on Reverbnation but the pages here are going to be FILLED with LA Poetry & Music.

Oh yeah… You’ll be able to get The WordBeat Recordings here as well. Isn’t that sweet?

On the sidebar, click on I ❤ LA to get back to homepage.

These are the pages  (below with all the hearts) I have yet to complete this place as far as mapping it out but I’m so excited you get to see it in it’s construction days

bear with me I have to sleep, eat, work and …play. yeah right. I don’t play that much. You know how much I play? I had fun writing the word just now. Play play play play play

That’s all the play I got for the day. Poetry’lectronica is a new genre I coined with interviewing  Harlan Steinberger. You have to read about him he’s very talented. I will finish this tomorrow even though I’m posting it now. Tomorrow.

CD’s I ❤ go there